(Virtual) Coffee with Gordon Stubley, Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

March 30, 2020

This is the first in the series of coffee chats interviewing MME staff and Faculty.

Gordon Stubley with dogs.

Warm, calm and humble is the best description of Gordon Stubley.

His Father was a Canadian chemical engineer, helping to design the first nuclear reactors at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) for nuclear power generation and the medical field.  His Mother, who trained as an RN, went back to school after raising four children, to obtain a master’s degree in nursing and retired as a gerontology nurse at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto.

With a logical and caregiving family background, Gordon used to bring his family’s first puppy to work on campus.  His family was fostering Tupper (Nero) who would later become a seeing eye dog. When Tupper retired from service, Stubley was asked if he wanted to give Tupper a home. Gordon, Keira (the other dog), and the rest of the family welcomed him back home. Both geriatric dogs, Keira (13 years) and Tupper (15 years) go hiking, canoeing, kayaking and camping with Gordon.

A good father and obvious role model, Gordon has two children he is very proud of.  Eric is completing his math PhD at the University of Chicago and Jennifer is a 2012 University of Waterloo graduate in computer science, currently working at Google.

As a prolific reader, he couldn’t tell me his favorite book, but he had just finished reading Amor Towles’, A Gentleman in Moscow, a book also reviewed by Bill Gates. It’s about a man under house arrest.  The irony of Gordon reading the book while in the current isolation is not lost on him. His genre is not static evidenced by his like of the young adult book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Gordon is thoughtful and deep – an excellent conversationalist, despite being a self-proclaimed introvert. While he likes jazz and classical music, his favorite album is closer to home - invoking memories of the societal unrest in Canada and the US, and reminding him of the feelings around the Vietnam War, when he was a student. His eponym, Gordon Lightfoot’s Sunday Concert Album and the song Ohio, by Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, about the shootings at Kent State.

Like his love of things close to home, he has traveled to all the major cities in Canada, except PEI. Why not PEI?  You can ask him. He enjoys watching lives versus creating a bucket list, “watching lives is like reading good books”, he says. Prophetic. He lived in San Francisco while attending Stanford University and Claremont California while attending Harvey Mudd College, but found his way back home to us in the MME team.

I asked him for a pearl of wisdom and there were many that came up throughout our brief coffee conversation.  Here is the one I liked the best, “when you’re several days into facilitating a workshop and you have doubt, trust if we keep doing what’s being asked, that it will work.”  Interesting pearl, when you know who Gordon Stubley is. He is an engineer who has the caring depth to convey vulnerabilities, warmth and caring.

For over 35 years Gordon Stubley has been teaching and doing research in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and engineering fluid mechanics.  He is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at University of Waterloo.

Virtual Coffee Chats are a series of chats focused on learning about the people in the MME department and include faculty and staff.

Virtual Coffee with Eugene Li 

Mechatronics Engineer-in-Training in the in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering