Recent News
Hugh Fraser

Hugh Fraser

Ontario regional director
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:41

Meet Ontario CSBE Members

Anna Crolla (10 year member) received her chemical engineering degree and M.A.Sc from the University of Ottawa. Currently, she works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Kemptville, ON as an Environmental Specialist, with a focus on sustainability. Previously, Anna was a researcher for several years with the University of Guelph working with on-farm waste management, anaerobic digestion, technology evaluation and water quality assessment. Anna’s advice to younger members: ‘Never stop asking questions or looking for answers – we all have the capacity to learn so much more throughout our careers.’

Carl Bolton (35 year member) received his Agricultural Engineering degree from the University of Guelph. He is the owner/operator of his family’s 160 year old seed production and processing farm in southwest Ontario. He continues to serve as a director on several boards, including Ontario’s third largest credit union, Libro Credit Union that serves families, farms and enterprises in southwestern Ontario. Carl’s advice to younger members: ‘Networking is priceless; not only for job seeking, but for innovation and continuous learning.’

Lorne Heslop, P.Eng., (43 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree at the U of Guelph. Lorne began his career as a design engineer, then chief engineer for a farm machinery manufacturer. He moved into agricultural mechanization research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), spending almost a decade developing technology transfer and intellectual property policy and procedures for agricultural research. He finished his career as Director, Science Policy, then Director, Science and Innovation with the Research Branch of AAFC. A full experience from the application of engineering through to the policy foundations for science in agriculture. A tremendously enjoyable career! Lorne’s advice to younger members: ‘Be prepared for your career to evolve and change, ensure you are capable of and comfortable with communications, stand by your principles, then share these traits with others.’

Travis Rops (<1 year member) is in his final year of Mechanical Engineering, Co-op at the University of Guelph. He will finish in April 2016. He recently became a CSBE member, while attending a Careers Night at the U of G. He grew up on a cash crop farm outside Sarnia, Ontario where they cultivated corn, wheat and soybeans. Through co-op work terms he received training in HVAC design, quality control and project management/coordination. After graduation, he plans to begin training for pressure vessel design as per ASME Section VIII. As a young engineer, Travis would like to tell seasoned members that ‘When looking to hire recent Engineering grads, focus less on the major we chose and our marks, and instead speak with our previous employers. We’ve all become accustomed to learning new concepts rapidly and are eager to prove our abilities in the real world’.

Luke Dugard (<1 year member) is a recent graduate of Mechanical Engineering, Co-op, at the University of Guelph. He recently became a CSBE member, while attending a Careers Night at the U of G. Luke grew up on a cash crop farm in Durham, Ontario, but often helped with milking at their neighbour’s dairy farm. His latest Co-op job was working in the research and development department at MacDon industries. He was responsible for conducting field testing on swathers and draper headers across Midwestern North America and Australia. As a young engineer, Luke would like to tell seasoned members that ‘Experience is an essential part of any successful engineering team, but with the speed at which our industry is changing, you may be surprised at the new perspectives a young professional can provide’.

Stephen Clarke (33 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree at the U of Guelph. He is currently employed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Kemptville, Ontario (www.omafra.gov.on.ca). He is the provincial engineering specialist for on-farm energy systems, energy efficiency, and conservation, including alternative and renewable energy systems. He also works on biomass for heat and crop storage. Steve was raised on a beef farm in Northern Ontario and now lives in Eastern Ontario with his wife Carol Anne. Mr. Clarke is the recipient of 2007 Canadian Society for Bioengineering John Clark Award for his contributions in the fields of Electric Power and Processing, and Energy. Steve’s advice to younger members: ‘Ask a senior engineer to be your mentor’.

Jan Jofriet (42 year member) received his engineering degrees first in Amsterdam, Holland, then here in Waterloo. He was a professor at the University of Guelph for many years and is now retired. His area of expertise is (and was) structures, mechanics and mechanical behaviour of materials. He embraced numerical analysis since the late 60’s, but always remained cautious about accepting its results. Jan’s advice to younger members: ‘Treat every job as a new problem that warrants looking at all possible solutions, including those that appear ‘way out’. Don’t be afraid to take a calculated risk’.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 09:46

Meet Ontario engineers Mark, Micheal, and Doug

Mark Armstrong, P.Eng. (20 year member) received his Agricultural Engineering degree at the University of Guelph. He founded Armco Solutions Inc. that specializes mainly in two areas; energy savings ideas for new and more efficient technologies in agricultural, commercial and industrial applications; and solutions for indoor air quality in the same sectors. Mark’s advice for younger members is to ‘Find a niche that the industry needs, but not everyone else is doing. Work on expressing your ideas and remember that presentation is very important.

Michael Toombs, MSc., P.Eng. (27 year member) received his Engineering degree at Concordia University and his Masters at the University of Guelph. He works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Guelph. He has held several positions with OMAFRA, but now is Director of Research and Innovation focusing on research priorities for the agricultural, food and rural affairs sectors and on research infrastructure renewal. Two examples; the new $25 m Elora dairy research facility, a joint project between the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph, and the Ontario dairy; and the new $10 m research greenhouse at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Mike’s advice for younger members; ‘Be resourceful, proactive and bring more than the technical to the table’.

Doug Trivers, P.Eng. (29 year member) received his Engineering degree at the University of Guelph. He is the owner/operator of Dayson Agricultural Ventilation Ltd. (daysonav.com). Doug was raised on a small Ontario mixed farm and developed an aptitude for “things mechanical” and agricultural. He decided on Engineering since he was good at math and science. After graduation he worked as an OMAFRA Livestock Energy Specialist; great training to learn the importance of customer service and gain skills in control strategies and energy management. He took a leave after 10 years to test the private sector, and as the ”Remington” story goes “I liked it so much, I bought the Company (20 years ago)”. He provides turn-key ventilation systems to growers for on-farm storage of mainly potatoes, carrots, onions, rutabagas and squash. He specializes in ‘free-cooling’, taking advantage of the cool air available in Canadian evenings and winters. His advice for new members is simple…’READ; a wealth of knowledge is available in trade publications and on association websites to assist learners or entrepreneurs’.

Monday, 14 September 2015 13:46

Meet Ontario engineers Ron, Harold, and John

Ron MacDonald, P.Eng. (34 year member) received his Agricultural Engineering degree at the University of Guelph. He works part time now as a contract consultant with AMEC Foster Wheeler (AMECFW) and Agviro Inc. The first 20 years of Ron’s career was a mix of mechanical and electrical engineering as it applied to agricultural/biological engineering, primarily in the energy and HVAC fields. Work morphed into food and industrial process engineering the last 15 years. Ron’s advice to younger members, ‘Stay in key areas of professional membership(s) and become involved, especially by attending national and international conferences. Until you become active, you will never believe the axiom “you get more out, that you put in”. For more information email Ron at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Harold House, MSc., P.Eng. (37 year member) received Agricultural Engineering degrees at the University of Guelph. He recently retired from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs as dairy and beef engineering specialist. He planned new facilities, renovations or additions to existing facilities and advised on farmstead planning, barn layout, cow comfort, animal welfare, ventilation and manure handling. He took special interest in dairy farm automation, calf housing and ventilation and worked with veterinarians and other agribusinesses on troubleshooting. Harold plans similar consulting work through his new company StocTec in collaboration with DairyLogix www.dairylogix.com. Harold’s advice to younger members ‘Connect with other members in your field of interest as much as possible. You need someone to bounce ideas off of, collaborate with, be mentored by, and challenge you.’

John Ogilvie, PhD, P.Eng. (57 year member) is a charter member of CSBE, Fellow in both CSBE and ASABE and very active in Society matters during his long and distinguished career. He has been retired 20 years from the School of Engineering, University of Guelph, and is now Professor Emeritus. He had been Director at the School www.uoguelph.ca/~jogilvie. John received his BSc (Agr) in 1954, MSA from U of Toronto in 1960 and his PhD from Purdue U in 1971. Before retirement, John taught engineering design. (Hugh Fraser, former student remembers John’s computer skills being legendary long before virtually anyone knew what a computer even was!) John’s advice for younger members: ‘Keep up your attendance and participation at CSBE and ASABE technical conferences.’

I became Ontario Regional Director fall 2014 and it has been challenging, fun and interesting. I have participated in most Council and Membership conference calls when able. In my opinion, our relatively small technical organization, with such a diverse and changing membership, two languages, spread over such a huge country, with membership that cannot attend all technical meetings because of distance, cost or time, it is important to find ways to connect with grassroots members. For this reason, for the on-line newsletters of December 2014, March 2015 and June 2015, I randomly called (yes, using that thing called a telephone that seems to be so seldom used anymore) about five Ontario members per newsletter to solicit a little information (about 100 words) about what they were doing, how long they had been a member, and what advice they had for younger members. It was easy and painless, using a short template I sent to them. This has been both interesting for me and also for those I call because I find members are genuinely pleased, but surprised to hear from someone on Council. I plan to continue doing this in the coming year. Check out what members have told us at http://csbe-scgab.ca/

I also participated in a Jobs Fair at the University of Guelph in January 2015. Along with Vice-President Membership, Harry Huffman, we spoke to undergrads about jobs in Agricultural Engineering and opportunities joining CSBE. It was fun event and students were very interested in learning from a couple of grizzled veterans. There were perhaps 30 companies involved and perhaps 100 students attending.

I look forward to the coming year.

Sam Bradshaw (15 year member) is a graduate of the University of Guelph. Sam is a Certified Technician under the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) and worked alongside agricultural engineers much of his career. He has a farm background and currently works as an Environmental Specialist with Ontario Pork www.ontariopork.on.ca and Farm & Food Care Ontario www.farmfoodcare.org . He deals with all environmental aspects of farming including; manure application and handling, building environments, soils, and environmental regulations. His advice to younger members; ‘Always be ready to accept new challenges’.

Terrence Sauvé. MSc. P.Eng. (9 year member) received his bioresource engineering degree at Macdonald (McGill) and masters in environmental engineering at the U of Ottawa. Terrence works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at the Alfred Resource Centre www.omafra.gov.on.ca. After graduation, potential employers wondered what a bioresource engineer did. Now his job fits perfectly with his degree; biomass combustion, biogas optimization, safety of farm machinery and promoting and updating guidelines for using wood pellets for heating in Ontario. His advice to younger members; ‘Don’t be afraid to travel to network and find work, and be kind since you never know what contacts you can build and what “older folks” can teach you. This adds to invaluable “life” experience.’

Chris Kinsley, M.Eng., P.Eng. (15 year member) received his environmental engineering and masters of engineering degrees at McGill University and works for the U of Guelph. He recently transferred from Alfred College campus to Ridgetown College Campus. www.orwc.uoguelph.ca. Chris is a Researcher and Professor and his work focusses on the development of technologies to treat and valorize both rural and agri-food wastewater sources as well as manures and organic residuals. His advice to younger members; ‘Be open to new opportunities and challenges, both within the engineering discipline and within the larger socio-economic context of the work we do.  The soft skills (communications, negotiation, management) are often as important as the core technical competencies we learned at University.’

Thomas MacPherson, P.Eng. (38 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree at MacDonald (McGill) and works at Agrodrain Systems Limited www.aslcontractors.com ASL owns and operates a 2,300 acre cash crop farm and installs subsurface drainage on farms mainly throughout Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Tom has done a little international drainage work on salinity control and a land reclamation project in Scarp Mardan, Pakistan. His advice to younger members, ‘Enjoy and use this opportunity of learning new things to the fullest extent possible’

Professor Suresh Neethirajan, Biological Engineering of the University of Guelph received the 2015 Young Engineer Achievement Award from Engineers Canada, presented to a professional engineer under 35 for outstanding contributions in engineering. Established in 1972, Engineers Canada awards are national awards which honour the contributions of Canadian engineers to their profession, their community and well-being of Canadians.

Suresh Neethirajan is the first ever faculty from the University of Guelph and from the Canadian Society of Bioengineering to win this national award. Professor Neethirajan is considered as the Canadian leader in the area of microfluidics and bionanotechnology for agricultural, food safety and veterinary health applications.

The Bionanolab headed by Professor Suresh focuses on developing tools food safety and biological engineering applications through the fundamental and applied understanding of physico-chemical properties of bacterial biofilms and development of biosensing techniques. Microfluidic wound models mimicking skin for exploring polymicrobial interactions, rapid high-throughput drug screening platforms, smart surfaces for prevention of biofouling for food industries, biosensors for rapid detection of avian influenza virus, and Lab-on-a-chip diagnostics for bovine ketosis are some examples of the UofG’s bionanolab research inventions.

Professor Suresh received the prestigious 2014 Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation in recognition of his research excellence. He currently serves as the Vice-President (Technical) for the Canadian Society for Bioengineering, as a member of Academic Requirements Committee of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, and as the chair of the emerging technologies development committee of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Professor Suresh was presented with the Engineering Medal for Young Engineer at the Engineers Canada Awards Gala in Calgary on May 21, 2015.


Here’s news about a few Ontario members so readers can learn more about the wide range of what our members do and allow them to pass along some advice to other members

Jake DeBruyn, P.Eng. (17 year member) received his Biosystems Engineering degree at the University of Manitoba and works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Guelph. www.ontario.ca/omafra  He integrates biological and engineering systems with regulations, public policy, and extension/communication to farmers and technology vendors.  He supports anaerobic digestion and purpose grown agricultural biomass, promoting new technologies or systems into markets that don’t yet exist.  He communicates technical information to new audiences, and works with innovators through a maze of technical, regulatory, and financial uncertainty. Jake’s advice to younger members; ‘Get a good understanding of your strengths, perhaps through online tests such as Strengthsfinder.com  to learn if you’re a details focussed project finisher,  enthusiastic promoter, visionary theorist, or whatever. This will help promote you in interviews, or determine sectors of work to pursue. Your engineering background  prepares you for different work, but when you use your strengths to their utmost, there’s a good chance you’ll really enjoy your work.’

Jason Haelzle, P.Eng. (12 year member) received his environmental engineering degree at the University of Guelph.  He is currently Principal and Vice-President at Conestoga-Rovers & Associates www.craworld.com.  While working in the environmental field upon graduation; Jason decided to use his environmental background to assist the agricultural industry in dealing with ever increasing environmental regulation and compliance needs.  This has led to a successful career working with a broad range of clients in the agriculture industry across North America solving issues relating to permitting, compliance, engineering design and construction, litigation support and environmental remediation.  Jason's advice to younger members; ‘Approach your career with an open mind and desire to learn from other engineering disciplines and senior mentors.  Don’t be afraid to adapt and apply your knowledge to a new industry because you never know where it may lead!’

Wayne Blenkhorn, P.Eng. (40 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree from McGill University (MacDonald College). He is the CEO of Faromor Ltd and CEO of Stonecrest Engineering, Shakespeare, Ontario. www.faromor.com www.stonecrestengineering.com. Wayne has owned Faromor Ltd since 1982 designing, developing & marketing livestock/poultry ventilation & environmental systems. Recently, Faramor has offered renewable energy solutions. They have built many solar installations for ground, roof top and tracking systems. They are developing a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station destined to incorporate a voluntary percentage of renewable energy from on-farm, or waste site methane, generated from an anaerobic digestion process. The intention is to capture another revenue stream for rural clients, reduce mobile transportation fuel costs, and provide a more sustainable fuel source.  Stonecrest offers professional design and consulting services focussing on agriculture. Their professional design services include structural and mechanical systems used in the production of fuel and food products. Leadership in both firms is transitioning to Wayne’s son Gary Blenkhorn and friend Steve Miller. Wayne’s advice to younger members; ‘Apply knowledge learned in a passionate and enthusiastic manner, and regardless of career path chosen, always maintain a professional and ethical relationship with your peers.’

Neil Grant, P.Eng. (31 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree from McGill University (MacDonald College). Neil grew up on a dairy farm in Eastern Ontario. He stayed on the farm after high school, but after reading a book on ‘Farm Engines and Tractors’, he enrolled in Agricultural Engineering four years later. His varied career includes; White Farm Equipment then Massey Ferguson testing combines; Sims Cab Manufacturing designing cabs for construction and agricultural equipment; an Ottawa consulting working on solar combined heat and power collector projects; another Ottawa consulting firm working on vehicle and personnel barriers, electronic enclosures, explosive ordinance disposal products and blast mitigation seats.  Neil currently works for Med Eng Holding in Ottawa www.med-eng.com/ and is senior mechanical design/analysis person in the blast mitigation seat product development group.  Neil loves his job and as an inventor, he has various patents for components for blast mitigation seat systems.  Neil is an antique tractor buff with eight old Cockshutts. Neil’s advice to younger members, ‘Morph your career in the direction you want, since no one else will do it for you.  Don’t spend too long doing things which are not a challenge or interest. If you like your work, you may not want to go home at the end of the day. What a great feeling to have!’

Frank Kains, P.Eng. (42 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree from the University of Guelph just shortly before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Frank grew up on a dairy farm in Middlesex near London. He is retired from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, having worked in the areas surrounding Waterloo, Guelph and Elora. Frank worked as an extension agricultural engineer for 30 years specializing in swine housing system design and ventilation. He was also fortunate to have worked with many in the horse and buggy Mennonite community of that area. Frank’s advice for young members, ‘Seek out and take opportunities to upgrade your education and skills, not necessarily in the engineering field. Making your career a continual learning exercise makes life more satisfying and rewarding.’

Friday, 12 December 2014 12:53

Five Ontario members to discover

Here’s news about a few Ontario members so readers can learn more about the wide range of what our members do and allow them to pass along some advice to other members

Hugh Fraser, MSc., P.Eng., (34 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree and masters in agricultural engineering at the U of Guelph. He is from a dairy farm in Quebec and works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Vineland. www.omafra.gov.on.ca  Hugh works in the engineering aspects of horticulture, especially crop protection and post-harvest handling. He has training in measurement and abatement of agricultural noise nuisance, and deals a lot in mediation of noise issues. Hugh’s advice to younger members: ‘Remember that no question is too stupid to ask, and don’t be afraid to think completely outside the box when trying to solve complex problems.’

Tyler Hilsden, P.Eng., (1 year member) works for Alo Canada Inc. in Niagara Falls www.alo.ca He first graduated from Niagara College, then from Lakehead University in Mechanical Engineering. Although a new CSBE member, he previously worked for 11 years in the development and support of agricultural equipment such as front end loaders and rotary cutters at John Deere.  Currently, he provides technical support for installation and repair of front end loaders, including hydraulic testing, troubleshooting, problem reporting and design improvement recommendations. His advice to younger members: ‘Time spent preventing a problem before it ever occurs is time well spent.’

Harry Huffman, P.Eng., (39 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree at the U of Guelph. He is from a dairy farm in the Quinte Region of Ontario and was an extension engineer with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at London for 29 years. He now operates an independent engineering practice to the livestock and poultry industry. He specializes in new and renovated barn ventilation design and ventilation system troubleshooting. Harry’s advice to younger CSBE members: ‘Try to break down complex engineering problems into several components or sections which can be more easily managed in stages.’

Kevin LaPaire, P.Eng., (12 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree at the U of Saskatchewan. He grew up in an urban setting, but worked on farms and ranches. He first worked for a short-line equipment manufacturer, then the design and building of railway maintenance equipment, then the structural steel industry in plant engineering, HR and sales/project management. Currently, he works for Container Design Services, Petrolia, specializing in custom racking, primarily for the automotive industry. A sister company Farm Energy has developed a modular anaerobic digestion system for the swine industry. Kevin’s advice to new grads: ‘Do not limit yourself too much in one engineering field; knowledge of other disciplines is key; do not be afraid of tasks unrelated to your education as this is the only way you will grow.’  www.containerdesign.com/

Kevin McKague,MSc., P.Eng., CPESC (32 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree and masters in water resources engineering at the U of Guelph. He considers himself fortunate to work in a ‘core agricultural engineering’ field of soil and water as there are not many of those jobs available. He grew up on a beef farm in SW Ontario and many of the skills he learned there, he still applies today. He works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Woodstock on issues related to rural non-point pollution control, soil and water quality, green energy and climate change. www.omafra.gov.on.ca  Kevin’s advice to new grads: ‘When solving problems, try looking at how nature does it in her/his intelligent design…after mimicking a burdock plant, I bet the inventor of VelcroTM didn’t do too badly financially!’ 

We have extra copies!

We have extra hard copies of CBE Journal

Volume 56 (2014)
Volume 57 (2015)
Volume 58 (2016)

Available at only 60 CAD each (including shipping).

Please contact John Feddes at manager@csbe-scgab.ca  to place your order.

Submit your news

The CSBE is looking for news from its members!

Please send your text with good resolution pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Your news will be published in the next Perspectives Newsletter.

Search for News