ALUMNI SPEAKER SERIES “Re-Imagining Cities: Why your grandkids won’t drive and other ways engineers will save humanity”

Tuesday, November 23, 2021 1:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Photo of campus with LRT Train next to the Engineering 5 building in winter

Re-Imagining Cities: Why your grandkids won’t drive and other ways engineers will save humanity 

Redesigning cities is essential to solving the climate emergency. Cities are home to more than half of the world’s population and accounting for more than two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. With the transportation sector contributing one third of cities’ emissions, finding sustainable ways for mobility is at the top of every municipality’s list. As we design 50 or 100 years into the future, the electrification of mass transit and the re-imagining of public space is the low-hanging fruit to sustainability – or is it? In this session of the Alumni Speaker Series, the panel of experts will dissect the role that engineers play as public leaders, visionaries, and political influencers as we replace aging infrastructure with modes and nodes that support population growth and a flourishing planet.

The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panel of experts.

A Zoom link will be sent to those who register for this session. 


Photo of Nadine Ibrahim
Nadine Ibrahim, PhD
Turkstra Chair in Urban Engineering
University of Waterloo 

Nadine Ibrahim is a lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo and holds the Turkstra Chair in Urban Engineering. She comes from a cross-section of industry and academia in the areas of urban infrastructure, sustainable cities, and sustainable development.  She holds a BASc, MASc, and PhD in Civil Engineering, and a Certificate of Preventive Engineering and Social Development, from the University of Toronto. Reaching beyond the boundaries of Civil Engineering, she combines environmental engineering, and incorporates non-engineering fields including architecture, economics and governance. Previously, she was a post-doctoral fellow working on Engineering Education for Sustainable Cities in Africa, launching a “Sustainable Cities” course online, and piloting a Global Classroom, and contributing to re-imagining engineering education in 12 countries in Africa. 

For her role as the Turkstra Chair, her vision is to build a community of practice of leaders in municipal engineering to offer leadership for our future cities. This also aims to develop urban sustainability literacy among students to motivate their technical specializations and empower them to traverse beyond their disciplines. These efforts aim at increasing the role of engineers in urban governance and improving the career opportunities and authority of engineers as decision-makers in cities.  

Her research contributes to a wide spectrum of urban engineering fields and a broad range of global cities, megacities, and most recently megaregions, appearing in leading journals including Nature Climate Change, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  She has been active in futures research on engineering education and co-authored a book chapter “Educating Engineers for the Anthropocene” which appeared in the State of the World 2017: EarthED: Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet (Worldwatch Institute). She is a Board Director (Ontario) on the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) and chairs a special interest group on the Engineer of 2050, member on the Pan Canadian Advisory Committee on the Canadian Engineering Grand Challenges, and an Ambassador at How to Change the World (HtCtW).  


Jeff Casello
Jeffrey Casello, PhD
Professor and 
Associate Provost Graduate Studies, Associate Vice President, Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs
University of Waterloo

Jeffrey Casello is a professor jointly-appointed in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo. He is also the lead researcher in The Waterloo Public Transportation Initiative (WPTI), which is a UWaterloo research group that provides expertise in urban transportation planning and engineering in order to address the challenges relevant to Canadian and global cities.

Professor Casello’s primary research interest is in the development and application of quantitative models of transportation (particularly transit and non-motorized modes) system performance. He is also interested in researching the impacts of transportation investments on land use patterns and has published extensively on these topics.

Professor Casello specializes in the planning, design and operation of public transportation systems. He is the lead author (with Vukan R. Vuchic) of Transit Planning for the Institute of Transportation Engineer’s (ITE) 3rd edition of the “Transportation Planning Handbook”. In addition, he is an acknowledged contributor to two seminal texts in the field: “Urban Transit Systems and Technology” and “Urban Transit Planning, Operations and Economics”, both by Professor Vuchic.

Professionally, Professor Casello has worked as a consultant, instructor and researcher with many transit agencies in the US, Canada and abroad. These include Singapore (LTA), Washington DC (WMATA), Houston (METRO), Philadelphia (SEPTA), the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (GRT), the City of Kingston, and Mexico City (D.F.). He has also worked in the public sector for the New York State Department of Transportation.

Joanna Kervin (BASc 1986)
Joanna Kervin
BASc 1986, Civil Engineering
Vice President, External Approvals and Implementation
Crosslinks Transit Solutions

After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a BASc degree in civil engineering, Joanna Kervin found her calling in the transportation engineering field. Joanna started work as a consultant working with two major engineering consultanting firms in the Toronto area, with clients across Ontario. As Manager of Transportation Planning with the City of Toronto, she focused on inter-regional transit, leading many transit planning initiatives. Until mid-2018, Joanna was Director of Third Party, Planning and Property with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on the executive team that implemented a $3.2B extension of the TTC’s Line 1 subway to the new end of the line at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. She is now Vice President, External Approvals and Implementation, working to deliver the $5.3B Eglinton Crosstown LRT project, where she is on the senior management team and leads a team responsible for a broad range of technical stakeholder issues across the project. 

In 2018, Joanna received the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) H. Robert Burton Distinguished Service Award for her work and leadership with ITE and in the transportation field over the last 30 years. She has held a number of key executive positions within ITE; she was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian District Executive, was the first woman President of CITE, and member of the ITE International Board. She continues to work on ITE International Committees and is a Fellow of ITE. She is a Leadership Advisor for the University of Waterloo’s Toronto Alumni Chapter and on the Advisory Board of Turkstra Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Joanna is a member of the Women’s Leadership Team as part of the Urban Land Institute, Toronto Chapter. Joanna just completed her graduate diploma in public administration at Western University, with research on the governance of transit building and transit oriented development. 

Photo of Michael Murray
Michael Murray
Murray Advisory Services

Mike Murray is a senior executive with extensive public, private and not-for-profit sector experience, including significant leadership roles in municipal government. Over his career, he has focussed on helping to create inclusive, thriving and sustainable communities, and he currently has a private consulting practice providing strategic advice to a variety of organizations.  Mike recently completed a term as the inaugural Douglas Wright Engineer-in-Residence in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Mike spent much of his career with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, including 16 years as the Region’s Chief Administrative Officer, reporting directly to the elected Regional Council.  In his role as CAO, he led a team of over 3,000 people, with a budget of over $1 billion, serving one of the fastest growing regions in Canada.  He had overall responsibility for all of the Region’s functions including Social Services and Public Health; Transportation and Environmental Services; Planning, Development and Cultural Services, and all related corporate support functions.

Before joining the Region, Mike worked as a consulting engineer, mainly in northern and western Canada where he was involved in the planning, design and construction of numerous water and wastewater treatment facilities. Mike has also been involved in several international projects including projects in Brazil (groundwater protection), China (environmental sustainability) and Ukraine (regional governance development).

Throughout his career Mike has fostered collaborative working relationships with diverse stakeholder groups. He was a founding member of the Waterloo Region Immigrant Employment Network, Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation, and the Creative Enterprise Initiative. Mike also served on the Central Ontario Smart Growth Panel, and on the Boards of numerous industry associations and not-for-profit organizations including The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation, Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc., and the Canadian Urban Institute.

Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from McMaster University and a Master’s Degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto. Mike loves all things outdoors, and one of his greatest passions is wilderness whitewater canoe tripping.

Please note: This session will be recorded with permission of the speakers and moderator and will be posted to view on the Alumni Speaker Playlist on the Waterloo Engineering YouTube Channel after the live session. Viewers do not have permission to record the session.