Edmonton engineer Jim Beckett, P.Eng., becomes the new APEGGA President
BY GEORGE LEE
Sealing the Deal
A longtime ATCO engineer is now at the helm of Alberta’s largest self-regulatory organization. Jim Beckett, P.Eng., officially became APEGGA’s 90th President during the Annual General Meeting on April 25 in Calgary.
“It is a privilege and an honour to lead APEGGA, but more importantly it’s a responsibility,” said the Edmonton engineer. “We have a strong Council, a strong staff and plenty of ongoing and new challenges to tackle, not only during my term but in the terms that follow.”
Mr. Beckett, a councillor since 2005 and the past chair of several high-profile Council committees, moves up from President-Elect. In this year’s balloting, Syncrude engineer Kim Farwell, P.Eng., won the President-Elect seat.
The Fort McMurray engineer will become APEGGA’s third-ever female President in 2010, seven years after winning the Early Accomplishment Award of the APEGGA Summit Awards.
Moving to the position of Past-President is Gordon Williams, P.Geol., a leader in the Canadian geoscience community. Calling his time as President a “highlight of my career,” Dr. Williams said the position is one piece of a continuum.
“It is not as much a 100-metre sprint as it is a long-distance relay, with one person handing off the baton to the next,” he said.
Edmonton’s Dick Walters, P.Eng., won the seat of Vice-President this year. Elected to Council in 2006, Mr. Walters most recently chaired its Finance Committee.
Elected as councillors were
Karen Henry, P.Eng., a past president of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists
John Hogg, P.Geol., the most recent chair of Council’s Geosciences Committee, returning for a second Council term
Dr. Ken Porteous, P.Eng., an associate dean of engineering at the University of Alberta and twice a Vice-President of APEGGA
Colin Yeo, P.Geol., a past president of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists.
For the second consecutive year, almost all votes were cast electronically. Less than one per cent of the ballots APEGGA received were mailed by regular post.
APEGGA improved the mechanics and user-friendliness of the voting system in 2009, after a drop in returns to only 9.9 per cent of eligible voters the year before when the Association launched electronic voting. The mechanical improvements, along with more promotion of candidates and the election, appear to have worked — participation improved to 17.3 per cent or 6,825 of 39,407 eligible voters.
“Low voter turnout is a symptom, not a cause,” said Mr. Beckett, who chaired a Council task force on voter participation. “The real issue is engaging members enough in the business of APEGGA that we don’t have to twist their arms to vote.
“We want members to want to vote, because they care about their Association and what their elected Council is doing on their behalf and the public’s behalf.”
The announcement of election results were part of Leading Change, the APEGGA Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting. The conference, April 23-25 in Calgary, also included professional development sessions, the Summit Awards gala and more.
Five streams of professional development, plus a separate Executive Track seminar, attracted about 630 registrations. This year’s total is about 200 more than the year before in Edmonton. Tickets for the Summit Awards totalled about 670.
Among special guests at the 2009 conference were members of an Abu Dhabi delegation.
Five government officials from the capital of the United Arab Emirates were in Alberta to investigate APEGGA’s system of self regulation.
The officials also met with staff in Edmonton, and two of them met with three provincial ministers — the Hon. Hector Goudreau, Minister of Employment and Immigration, responsible for APEGGA’s enabling legislation; the Hon. Ron Stevens, Deputy Premier and the Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations; and the Hon. Mel Knight, Minister of Energy.
Said Executive Director & Registrar Neil Windsor, P.Eng.: “We were certainly honoured that of all the self-regulating associations to choose from in the Canadian system, our new friends from Abu Dhabi picked APEGGA. Their decision to fly here is evidence that we’re living up to our Vision, which calls on the Association to be an internationally respected leader in the professions.”
After being introduced in the Alberta Legislature, the two visitors spoke with the ministers. “The exchange was extremely positive. I think there was genuine interest on both sides for future partnerships between Alberta and U.A.E.,” said Mr. Windsor.
Further coverage related to the delegation and Leading Change appears throughout this month’s PEGG.