In his spring 1971 job interview with the electrical engineering department, Ed Spike offered to stay a minimum of four years. Retiring from the department as a laboratory instructor in August 2011, he not only met his commitment, but exceeded it by 36 years.
“The job sort of grew around me and I enjoyed the people and the variety of the work,” says Spike, who was officially feted at a retirement gathering on September 12.
During the 40 years Spike spent in engineering he experienced some big changes, including the growth of class sizes and staff numbers. Electrical engineering class sizes increased from about 40 students to 120 – in one term he had a class of 154. Hired as one of the four electrical engineering laboratory instructors there are now 18.
Spike, also the department’s IEEE computer chapter advisor, served as the head technical mentor to Waterloo Collegiate Institute High School students in the FIRST Robotics competitions for three years. Throughout his career, he volunteered with the City of Waterloo’s soccer program and the University of Waterloo’s judo program and is still the university’s senior judo coach.
As well as job satisfaction, Spike’s Waterloo Engineering career also provided him with another more tangible perk – he met his future wife Ethel who started working in the ECE department about the same time he did. Ethel, who had a 44-year career with Waterloo Engineering, died earlier this year.
While working with thousands of students over the years has made a difference in Spike’s life, he’s discovered that it also made an impact on the lives of his students. “When I was walking on Sparks Street in Ottawa one day several former students ran up to me to say hi,” he says. “Their comments made me realize how much influence faculty and staff have on their personal and professional growth.”