APEGA has existed for more than 100 years, and for every year of its existence, there has been a president of Council to uphold the pillars that APEGA stands for: integrity, accountability, innovation, and service. Through the decades of change and growth, the men and women listed below led APEGA’s Council.

They have worked across the globe, from Mississippi to Venezuela, but all settled their talents here in Alberta. Each came from different walks of life, from serving in the Second World War, to teaching aeronautics, to instigating first-time overseas ventures. This incredible group of outstanding people made their mark on the world and helped make APEGA what it is today.

1939: John T. 'Jack' Watson, P.Eng.


A native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, 'Jack' Watson began studying electrical and mechanical engineering in his early teens, taking night classes while working 10-hour days as a clerk. He came to Canada in 1902 and was hired as a machinist for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Calgary. After a brief period installing electrical transformers in Seattle, he returned to Calgary as an engineer for the city power plant. During this time he continued his studies and in 1907 received a first class engineer's certificate.

In 1916 Watson was hired by the City of Lethbridge as chief engineer at the city power plant. By the end of his first year as engineer, the plant had earned profits more than 10 times the total for the previous three years and by 1924 they had increased 30-fold. In 1927 Watson accepted a job with the East Kootenay Power Company as superintendent of its new power plant in Sentinel, Alta., but returned to Lethbridge a year later to occupy the newly created position of city manager, which he held until retiring in 1949.

While city manager, Watson received wide acclaim for re-allocating large profits earned by the electric and water utilities to help reduce tax rates substantially. Under his direction, Lethbridge was one of the few Canadian cities with sound finances during the Depression and the Second World War.

Watson was first elected to council of the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta (APEA; now The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta) in 1925 and served a total of seven years, including as association vice-president in 1938 and president the following year. He passed away in 1960.