Across Canada and around the world, Waterloo alumni are making significant contributions to their University, their professions and their communities. The Alumni Awards recognize these individuals and their efforts to aim sky high.
Faculty of Arts
Robert MacIsaac: Alumni Achievement Award
Robert MacIsaac (BA ’84) received his BA in Economics from the University of Waterloo; and in 1987, his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario.
For the next 10 years, Rob practiced law before dedicating his career to public service, providing strategic leadership in municipal government, regional transportation, postsecondary education, and healthcare.
In February 2014, Rob became the President and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences. Prior to that, he served as President of Mohawk College from 2009 to 2014, leading the largest campus renewal project in their history. In 2006, Rob was appointed the first executive Chair for Metrolinx, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area transportation authority.
Rob served two terms as Councilor and three consecutive terms as Mayor of the City of Burlington from 1997 to 2006.
He holds many professional and board memberships, and has been recognized for his accomplishments in community building with numerous awards, including the Canada 125 and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals, and an honorary Doctor of Arts from Australia’s Charles Sturt University.
Vanessa Pinelli: Young Alumni Award
Vanessa Pinelli (BA ’10) received a BA in Liberal Studies in 2010, from the University of Waterloo. After graduation, Vanessa moved to Vancouver, where she was first employed in the finance sector. In 2012, she co-founded Troico Home Solutions and Manufacturing, where she is the chief operating officer. Vanessa was one of the 2014 recipients of the Top 30 Under 30 Awards given by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and her company’s cabinetry has been featured on the TV program Love It or List It Vancouver, several times. In 2014, Troico was a nominee for the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award for 10-50 employees.
Vanessa is a strong supporter of community charities for children and the underprivileged like Smile Train and The Home Team. She is also a member of the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association, and the Board of Directors of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, British Columbia Chapter.
School of Accounting and Finance
Upkar Arora: Alumni Achievement Award
Upkar Arora (MAcc’85) is CEO of Illumina Partners, a boutique advisory firm specializing in providing strategic, operational and financial expertise. He has 30 years of experience working domestically and internationally with public and private companies, on operations, capital markets transactions, acquisitions, dispositions, turnarounds and financings, as a senior executive, and as an advisor or principal in several industries.
Upkar obtained his CA and CMA designations in 1986, placing in the top 5 in Ontario on his qualifying exams, and his Independent Corporate Director (ICD.D) designation in 2011. He was valedictorian and a proud MAcc graduate from the first UW SAF class in 1985.
Upkar has been a strong supporter of UWaterloo SAF for the past thirty years. He has taught, established several scholarships, been recognized as an Honouree in the Student Fellowship Program, spearheaded the innovative Success Beyond the Classroom series and currently serves on the SAF Advisory Council.
Upkar is Chair of the Board of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and also serves on the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Metrolinx boards.
Meng Wang: Young Alumni Award
Meng Wang (BAFM ’12) is currently an Operations and Logistics Manager for UberEATS. Along with her team, Meng is striving to change the way the world eats by revolutionizing food delivery, much like how Uber has revolutionized transportation. Prior to Uber, Meng worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at TD Securities, advising public and private companies on how to access the Canadian capital markets through issuance of common equity, convertible debentures and preferred shares.
Meng holds a Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Management (with Distinction) from the University of Waterloo. During her free time, she enjoys attending the symphony and running.
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
Dan Latendre: Alumni Achievement Award
An alumnus of the Recreation and Business program, Dan Latendre (BA ’88) is the founder and CEO of Igloo Software. From microblogs and wikis to entire intranets, Igloo has more than 10,000 global collaboration sites in over 80 countries around the world.
Dan is actively involved in the Kitchener‐Waterloo technology community, speaking at events and mentoring young entrepreneurs and executives on growing their businesses. He was involved with the University of Waterloo as a former Special Advisor to the Dean and a member of the AHS Dean’s Advisory Council. Over the years, Igloo has worked on a number of projects with both the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, including a private social network and online community for the Waterloo Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE).
Dan encourages healthy living for all Igloo employees. He promotes well-being by providing corporate gym memberships, daily work gym trips, and many initiatives to keep Igloo employees active. Dan and the Igloo team also have a long track record of supporting a number of non‐profit organizations that are concerned with green initiatives, health and well‐being, including the WWF, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum.
Christina Marchand: Young Alumni Award
A recent Health Studies (BSc ‘14) graduate and current Master of Public Health candidate, Christina dedicates her time and energy to growing FullSoul Canada, a social enterprise she co-founded to equip hospitals in developing countries with medical delivery kits. Working with local partners, FullSoul Canada has already delivered medical kits to three hospitals in Uganda. Each kit has the power to deliver up to three babies per day, 365 days of the year, for approximately 20 years.
Active in the community, Christina frequently speaks at conferences to motivate youth and share the FullSoul story. She is an avid volunteer and member of the Calgary Rotaract Club. After battling childhood cancer in 2009, Christina started mentoring children in the Canadian Childhood Cancer Foundation, an activity she carries on to this day.
Christina is the recipient of several honours and awards, including the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (2010), AHS Co-op Student of the Year (2011), and the YMCA International Peace Medallion (2013) for her humanitarianism.
Faculty of Engineering
Marc Morin: Alumni Achievement Medal, Professional Achievement
Marc H. Morin (BASc ’87) has had a remarkable career since graduating from our Electrical ngineering program in 1987. After working as a software engineer for Hewlett-Packard for nine years, he became Chief Technology Officer for PixStream, which manufactured and marketed network hardware and software solutions. The successful Waterloo-based company was sold to Cisco Systems Inc. in 2000.
Since then, Marc has gone on to launch and lead three companies in the Waterloo Region: Sandvine, Emforium and now Auvik of which he is the Chief Executive Officer. Auvik, a cloud-based system, provides IT professionals with a better way to monitor, configure and automate networks.
Marc continually strives for excellence, bringing forward innovative solutions to help other businesses succeed. Not only is he a role model as a business developer and a technical expert, but he also takes the time to mentor others through his ongoing participation in networking events. As well, Marc has been an angel investor for many startup companies in the Waterloo Region. Always remembering his academic roots, he gives back to the University of Waterloo by regularly employing our co-op students and graduates. Marc is an excellent example of a highly successful entrepreneur who continues to demonstrate the knowledge and extensive opportunities that go hand in hand with his Waterloo Engineering degree.
Ryan Gariepy, Patrick Martinson, Matt Rendall, Bryan Webb Clearpath Robotics Inc.: Team Alumni Achievement Medal
It was as Waterloo Engineering students that Ryan Gariepy (BASc ’09, MASc ‘12), Patrick Martinson (BASc ’09), Matt Rendall (BASc ’08, MBET ‘09) and Bryan Webb (BASc ‘09) became passionate about building robots for school, for fun -- and just about any other reason they could think of at the time.
Their interest gradually evolved into a business that involved building robots to clear mines in war-torn countries. Soon realizing that it was a risky and costly venture, the students shifted their focus and in 2009 they founded Clearpath Robotics to create robotic solutions for mining, military, academic, and industrial research applications.
Over the years, Clearpath Robotics has become a global leader of unmanned vehicles for research and development. The company is well known for its yellow-and-black unmanned Kingfisher vehicles used in commercial applications, such as mining. The Kingfisher measures tailings in potash mines—a procedure that would otherwise expose people to harsh chemicals.
Recently, Clearpath Robotics expanded into the industrial market with the launch of OTTO, the world's first self-driving vehicle designed exclusively for materials transport.
The company has also gained big inroads selling robot technology to research laboratories. Its impressive client list includes university research labs, the Canadian Space Agency, and MIT.
Clearpath Robotics now works with over 500 customers in more than 40 countries worldwide and has sold over 1000 robots. The company remains located in Kitchener because of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and top talent, particularly from the University of Waterloo. Like the company’s founders, many of the over 100 employees are Waterloo Engineers.
Clearpath is one of 10 corporations named by Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions and Richardson GMP Ltd. to the 2014 list of Canada’s Passion Capitalists. The awards were inspired by Passion Capital, a book written by Paul Alofs, a former Disney and HMV executive.
Brent Tweddle: Young Alumni Achievement Medal
Brent Tweddle (BASc ’07) graduated from Waterloo with a Computer Engineering degree in 2007 and then went on to complete a master’s degree and PhD at MIT.
Brent’s accomplishments in aerospace robotics are nothing short of amazing. While working on his doctoral degree, Brent headed up the development of a robotic research system that has successfully operated on the International Space Station. Brent was the technical lead of a team of about 30 people from academia, government and industry who worked together to design, build and test what’s known as the Vertigo Goggles. Vertigo Goggles is a set of stereo cameras, embedded high performance computers and associated electronics that enable computer vision base navigation algorithms to be tested in a microgravity environment.
In addition to this work, Brent provided training to astronauts on how to use the technology and supported them through direct space-to-ground communications during their operational test session.
The Vertigo project has resulted in numerous conference and journal publications, including the highly regarded Journal of Field Robotics. It was also a major factor in Brent receiving the 2013 Boeing Engineering Student of the Year award. The honour recognizes the best and brightest among future leaders and innovators.
Since the beginning of 2014, Brent has been employed as a guidance and control engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on the Lander Vision System for the Mars 2020 Entry, Descent and Landing System.
Fangjin Yang: Young Alumni Achievement Medal
Fangjin Yang (BASc ’07, MASc ‘09), who has been called one of the brightest talents in the big data industry, holds a BASc in Electrical Engineering and a MASc in Computer Engineering, both from Waterloo. After graduating in 2009 with his master’s degree, Fangjin worked for Cisco Systems where he put his extensive technical skills to work as a software engineer.
Two years later, he joined Metamarkets, as one of the first employees of the real-time analytics platform for the digital advertising space. While part of Metamarkets, he received major international recognition as the creator of Druid, an open-source, real-time analytics system that has tackled some of the most difficult computing problems in a distributed data framework.
As Druid’s lead engineer, Fangjin was responsible for designing and executing the data platform. He also headed the promotion of Druid in the big data community and the integration of the system into the world’s top technology companies such as Yahoo, Netflix, eBay, PayPal, Time Warner Cable and many others.
This past May, the Druid team won the Best Open Source Innovation award for excellence in software development from the Software and Information Industry Association.
Just last month Fangjin, along with two other former Metamarkets employees, launched Imply. The startup’s first product is the Imply Analytics Platform, which includes Druid and other open-source components.
Besides developing data platforms, Fangjin loves to share his extensive knowledge about them. He’s a frequent speaker at big data conferences and a guest lecturer at academic institutions.
Faculty of Environment
Carol Layton: Alumni Achievement Award
If you've ever driven in a car or stepped on a bus in Ontario you've likely enjoyed the work of Carol Layton (BES ’80), our 2015 alumni achievement award winner.
Layton has been a Deputy Minister for over 12 years, serving a number of different portfolios. Nearing her five-year anniversary with the Ministry of Transportation in Toronto, she oversees Metrolinx and the Ontario Highway Transport Board. Layton plans and prioritizes efficient and accessible movement of people and goods through an integrated, multi-modal transportation network that works to address congestion, supports land-use planning priorities and improves the environment. Layton has worked with the Ontario Government in a wide range of diverse positions for more than 35 years.
For her work in supporting diversity and inclusion in the Ontario Government, Carol Layton was recognized as a “Legend of the Ontario Public Service.” She received the 2011 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction in Public Administration and continues to impact public service in Ontario.
Taarini Chopra: Young Alumni Award
In the few short years following Taarini Chopra’s (MES ’13) graduation she has done an outstanding job advancing our understanding of seeds and diversity, as it relates to food security and the global south.
Chopra works as a researcher and campaigner for the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), an NGO promoting food sovereignty and democratic decision-making on science and technology issues in order to protect the integrity of the environment, health, food, and the livelihoods of people in Canada and around the world.
Chopra has also published numerous articles in various magazines, journals, and online blogs, and authored several major (internationally disseminated) reports on the themes of seeds and diversity. She also serves on the board of Alternatives Journal, a national environmental magazine, where she worked for three years as associate editor.
She’s been active in every community she’s lived; having volunteered with the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable, researching for the Cetacean Observation Project in Greece. She’s also volunteered with organizations such as the Canadian Organic Growers, Greenpeace, Kawartha World Issues Center, Banff Environmental Action and Research Society, the Deccan Development Society, and the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi, India.
Faculty of Mathematics
Raees Hussain-Aamir: Young Alumni Achievement Medal
Raees Hussain-Aamir (BMath ’04) graduated with a Bachelor of Mathematics in Operations Research and a Computer Science minor in 2004. He currently serves as a Vice President of Strategy and Business Management at the Bank of Montreal in Toronto. What sets Raees apart is his commitment to volunteerism and mentoring young people, particularly new immigrants to Canada. Raees arrived in Canada at the age of 18, and relied heavily on the infrastructure at the University of Waterloo and support by others in all walks of his life. As such, Raees really empathizes with immigrants who need support in Canada. He has been involved in mentoring activities during his time at BMO as well as Deloitte, in partnership with Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. The Faculty of Mathematics Young Alumni Achievement Medal was awarded to Raees Hussain-Aamir for his innovative style of leadership and his dedicated commitment to mentoring young leaders and championing diversity initiatives in the work place.
Erik Demaine: Young Alumni Achievement Medal
Erik Demaine (PhD ’02), a child prodigy, was admitted to the University of Waterloo at the age of 14 as a Graduate student in the David Cherition School of Computer Science. He wrote his first computer program at the age of seven. By the time Demaine completed his PhD in 2002 he had already collaborated with 90 co-authors, and written 80 papers on topics as various as the mathematics of paper folding, cache efficient data structures, and distributed computing. Demaine began teaching at MIT at the age of twenty, reportedly the youngest professor in the history of the institution. Demaine has made outstanding contributions in several fields of algorithms, namely computational geometry, data structures, graph algorithms and recreational algorithms. In computational geometry and data structures he has solved or made significant progress on classic problems such as the carpenter’s rule problem, the hinged-dissection problem, the prefix-sum problem, and the dynamic optimality conjecture.
Francis Zwiers: Alumni Achievement Medal
Dr. Francis Zwiers (BMath ‘80) before becoming Director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, served as a Research Scientist (1984-2006), Chief of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (1997-2006) and Director of the Climate Research Division (2006-2010), all at Environment Canada. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Victoria and in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science of Simon Fraser University.
His expertise is in the application of statistical methods to the analysis of observed and simulated climate variability and change. Dr. Zwiers is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Meteorological Society, a recipient of the Patterson Medal, has served as an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author of the Fourth Assessment Report, and is an elected member of the IPCC Bureau. Dr. Zwiers graduated with a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo in 1980.
John C. R. Hele: Alumni Achievement Medal
John Hele (BMath ’80) is the Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer for MetLife, Inc. Prior to joining MetLife, Hele was Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer of Arch Capital Group Ltd., a public limited liability company that writes insurance and reinsurance globally. Prior to this, Hele was Chief Financial Officer and a member of the executive board of ING Group N.V., one of the largest global financial services companies. As CFO, Hele was based in Amsterdam and had responsibility for a financial function on five continents.
Hele also served as founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Worldinsure, Bermuda, a technology company that automated life insurance underwriting, from 1999 to 2003. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with Merrill Lynch. Hele has been a member of the CFO Forum in Europe, the chair of the Chief Risk Officer Forum, and is a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries.
Tom Duff: J.W. Graham Medal in Computing & Innovation
Tom Duff (BMath ’74) is a Senior Research Scientist at Disney Research. Duff graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor in Mathematics in 1974 and has worked at the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Lab, the Lucasfilm computer division, Bell Labs, and Pixar. His main research interest is in computer graphics and animation, but he has published broadly. Other topics include operating systems, polymer physics, wireless networking, mathematics, and computer security. He is working on the Computational Cinematography project, building computational movie cameras intended to capture enough information about live-action scenes to apply all of the image generation and manipulation techniques that we routinely use on synthetic scenes. He has half a dozen patents and two Academy Awards® for contributions to motion picture science and technology. When not at work, he is an opera singer, musical tinkerer, and grandparent.
Faculty of Science
Leslie Dunning: Distinguished Alumni Award
As an Earth Sciences undergraduate student, Leslie Dunning (BSc ’77) volunteered regularly with the Canadian Red Cross. She intended to stay involved as a volunteer after graduation, but the opportunity of a position with the international humanitarian organization was irresistible. More than 36 years later she retired, having served in ten different positions. As a Director General, she championed many Canadian Red Cross initiatives, including: Aboriginal engagement, online learning and cross-cultural training.
Leslie engaged with and mentored staff and volunteer leaders at many not-for-profit organizations, especially those working to advance the safety and well-being of children and youth. Additionally, she provided volunteer leadership with sport and music organizations; she believes in the values which sport and music can help instill in young people.
A life-long learner, she developed association governance and management skills through formal and informal education, earned an MBA, and became a Certified Management Accountant (CPA, CMA).
Greg Dick: Distinguished Alumni Award
Greg Dick (BSc ’93) is an author, trailblazing educator, and passionate advocate of scientific literacy. Since 2007 Greg has served as the Director of Educational Outreach at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, where his leadership and entrepreneurial spirit have enabled international expansion of Perimeter’s Outreach programs. Through delivery of innovative public programming and development of award-winning educational resources, Greg and his team share the joy, mystery, and power of science with millions worldwide. A recipient of the Barraday Teacher of Excellence Award, Greg is a former Head of Science at Galt Collegiate Institute Cambridge, Ontario, where he taught for 16 years and developed new student-centered approaches now foundational in textbooks, educational resources, courses, and curricula.
He is an active member on various boards, including Canada’s Science and Technology Awareness Network and the Wilfrid Laurier Centre for Women in Science, and collaborates with Ministries of Education globally. He is frequently invited to speak at international events to share his experience and expertise in education, including at annual discussions with European educators at CERN, Switzerland.
Arshad Siddiqui: Distinguished Alumni Award
Dr. Arshad Siddiqui (PhD ’90), President and CEO of Paraza Pharma Inc., began his career at BioChem Pharma in Montreal, Quebec, where he contributed to the advancement of an anti-HIV drug, 3TC (Epivir). He and his team members received the Prix-Galien Canada Research Award (1996) for the discovery of this cornerstone therapy for HIV patients. As a part of Schering-Plough Corporation and Merck and Co., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Siddiqui contributed to the development of multiple drug discovery programs that have progressed to clinical development.
In 2011, he founded Paraza Pharma Inc. in Montreal, which currently employs over sixty scientists, and is engaged in the discovery and development of innovative medicines of the future. Dr. Siddiqui has published more than seventy research articles in peer reviewed journals and has earned seventy-five published patents.
Paul Boutros: Young Alumni Award
Dr. Paul Boutros (BSc ’04) pursued his undergraduate education at the University of Waterloo in Chemistry, with co-op training ranging from water-purification to petrochemicals. But he found his true calling during a work term at Michigan State University developing computer models of drug response. His undergraduate thesis on modeling DNA damage received first place at the National Undergraduate Chemistry Conference. In 2004, he started a PhD at the Ontario Cancer Institute, where he received the CIHR/Next Generation First Prize and an Invitrogen Canada Young Investigator Silver Award. He received his PhD in 2008 and started his independent research career at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, where he remains today. Dr. Boutros co-leads the Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network and leads an international consortium optimizing algorithms for genomic data analysis. He is a Terry Fox Research Institute New Investigator, and has been named Prostate Cancer Canada Rising Star in Prostate Cancer Research.
James D. (Jim) Reimer: Contributions to Science Award
James D. (Jim) Reimer (BSc ’78, MSc '80) is a petroleum exploration executive, currently Vice-President of Geosciences & Technology at Painted Pony Petroleum in Calgary, Alberta. A successful scientist and businessman, Jim shares his passion and expertise of earth sciences and geology community wide. His contributions to earth sciences outreach include significant roles in the development of earth sciences Canada careers website, the WHERE Challenge for students, and support for the acclaimed textbook “Four Billion Years and Counting – Canada’s Geological Heritage.”
Mr. Reimer and his family are major benefactors of the Earth Sciences Museum at the University of Waterloo, where they established the “Reimer Family Gallery” of fine mineral specimens, the “Groundwater-Driven Mineralization” display, and the “Petrified Wood” display. Presently, Jim is supporting the development of the Museum’s “Laboratory of Life” exhibit which will feature magnificent specimens from a major new Canadian fossil discovery.
Jim is a Past-President and honorary member of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, and a director of the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources. In 2007, UWaterloo’s 50th anniversary year, Mr. Reimer’s achievements were recognized by way of a UWaterloo Science Alumni of Honour Award.
Conrad Grebel University College
Johnny Wideman: Distinguished Alumni Service Award
Johnny (BA ’09) came to Conrad Grebel in the fall of 2005 from Markham. He quickly became a fixture at Grebel with involvement in many aspects of student life including sports, Orientation Week, and the “Shady Js,” a band including other Grebelites. Waterloo and Grebel provided an academic focus on Drama and History along with discussions of faith and peace and justice issues.
After graduation, Johnny was involved in Willowgrove Day Camp near Markham and developed a Peace curriculum for campers that incorporated drama.
Johnny’s passion for theatre continued to grow and in 2011, Johnny drove the vision to establish Theatre of the Beat (TOTB). TOTB included other Grebel alumni Rebecca Steiner (BA ‘12), Kim Walker (BA ‘12) Leah Harder (BA ‘09), Katie Cowie Redekopp (BA ‘11) and colleague Ben Wert from Toronto.
His troupe-mates describe him as “one of those rare and exceptional people who make things happen, Johnny dreams big and then transforms those ideas into dynamic, innovative art that builds community.” As Artistic Director for the troupe, Johnny's clever creativity and passion for peace provides vision and leadership to the collective.
St. Jerome's University
Catherine Horgan: Fr. Norm Choate, C.R., Distinguished Graduate Award
Catherine Horgan (BA ’77) graduated from St. Jerome’s University with a degree in History and English, preparing her for a life in education. After attending Queen’s University for her Bachelors of Education, Horgan became a teacher in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board later completing a Masters of Education at the University of Toronto where she developed her interest in educational leadership.
As Department Head, Vice Principal, and Principal for the WCDSB, she shared her enthusiasm for education with countless students and members of our community. In 2003 Horgan accepted a position as Superintendent of Education, and later the Director of Education and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, for the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board. She has worked with multiple service organizations in the region, including Chair of the Interfaith Pastoral Counselling Centre. Horgan will also serve as the Chair of the Board of Governors for St. Jerome’s University during the 2015 to 2017 term. Her contributions have been recognized through a variety of honours, including a Diocesan Medal of Honour.
Renison University College
Leslie Woo:Distinguished Alumnus Award
Vice-President, Policy, Planning and Innovation, Metrolinx.
Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Leslie Woo (BArch ’84) is a mother of two and an active community volunteer. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Architecture [Honours], having also studied Urban and Regional Planning at the Graduate level. She was also an involved resident at Renison during her undergraduate career.
As Metrolinx’s Vice President of Policy, Planning and Innovation, Leslie is a driving force behind the region’s first ever regional transportation plan - The BIG Move – a comprehensive 25 year mobility plan. The BIG Move is the regional transportation authority’s blueprint for delivering over $16B in rapid transit expansion in the next 10 years.
Through her blog, shebuildscities.org, launched in January 2013, Leslie celebrates the achievements of her colleagues around the world and inspires girls to pursue careers in urban development.
Brian Drew: Distinguished Alumnus Award
Senior Policy Advisor (Presto Card) Government of Ontario.
A former Renison resident and graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree in Urban and Regional Planning (Honours), Brian Drew (BES ’74) has been successful throughout his career in public transit planning and operation. Upon completing further education in transportation planning and systems at both the University of Wisconsin and the University of Ohio, Brian began as a Senior Transit Planner for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Over the course of his career with the TTC, Brian has served in roles including:
•Marketing Coordinator – where he was responsible for the planning, development and implementation of TTC Marketing/Information Programs directed at increasing TTC Ridership
•Special Projects Coordinator – where he coordinated and developed revenue generating opportunities for the TTC
•Superintendent - Wheel Trans – where he was responsible for performance management of “Wheel-Trans” services for those persons with disabilities
Upon retirement from the TTC, Brian served as the Manager of Specialized Transit for York Region Transit for several years until beginning his current role as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Government of Ontario.
St. Paul's University College
William Pristanski: Distinguished Alumni Award
Bill Pristanski (BMath ’78) worked as Executive Assistant to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney from 1983-87 after which he served as Chief of Staff for the Solicitor General, the President of the Treasury Board, and the Minister of Environment.
Following his time in government, Bill formed Prospectus Associates a government relations and public affairs consulting firm and is regarded as one of Canada’s leading public affairs strategists.
Bill is an active member of the Ottawa community, having coached minor hockey and chairing the Black and White Soiree event to raise funds for the National Arts Centre and Opera Lyra.
As a participant in all 35 Terry Fox Runs, Bill has raised over $465,000 for cancer research. In 2013, he was named Board Chair for the Terry Fox Foundation, the first non-family member to hold the position.
Bill is a dedicated volunteer and financial supporter of St. Paul’s and was recently elected to serve on the University of Waterloo Board of Governors.