From Refugee Camp to APEGA Leadership: 99th President Sworn In | APEGA

From Refugee Camp to APEGA Leadership: 99th President Sworn In

Nima Dorjee Acceptance Speech AGM 2018 Web

Nima Dorjee, P.Eng., FEC, FGC (Hon.), delivers his maiden speech as APEGA President

A resettlement and human rights advocate from Calgary is the 99th President of APEGA. Nima Dorjee, P.Eng., FEC, FGC (Hon.), was sworn in at the APEGA Annual General Meeting in Edmonton, April 20, before a crowd of about 150 members, dignitaries, and others.

Mr. Dorjee, who was born in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India, spoke of how others have supported him. "No one is an island. We all got where we are today with the help of others who deserve our thanks." Among those he singled out: his mother, who was widowed when Mr. Dorjee was just three and his brother a year and half. "She raised us as a single mother in the refugee camp. While she never had the opportunity of a formal education for herself, she ensured that my brother and I became contributing members of society as professional engineers."

Joining Mr. Dorjee on the 2018-2019 APEGA executive are President-Elect George Eynon, P.Geo., FGC, FEC (Hon.), Vice-President Dr, Tim Joseph, P.Eng., PhD, and Past-President Jane Tink, P.Eng., FEC, FGC (Hon.). Six other professional members were elected this year to Council, and six more continue their terms. Also serving on Council are three public members, appointed by the Government of Alberta.

"I believe one of the most important issues facing APEGA today is the challenge of regulating our professions in an era of outsourcing and offshoring," Mr. Dorjee said. "Technological advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning present additional challenges. We need to find solutions to ensure consistent oversight of professionals in technical work in engineering and geoscience for Alberta, regardless of where their work is done."

He also spoke to the larger community responsibilities of professional engineers and geoscientists. "APEGA members work on some of the most complex engineering and geoscience projects around the world. They provide technical solutions to some of the most challenging problems society faces. We have a duty to participate in the public debate on the issues that involve our professions and to inform the public and elected officials of the options, so that they can make the right decisions to serve the broader public interest."

He also urged members to offer support and guidance to fellow members, particularly those who've lost their jobs and are adapting to a new world. "We are a professional community. And when some members of our community face hardship, it is incumbent on the rest of that community to offer support."

The hard work and support of his wife, Dr. Tsering Dorjee, have allowed Mr. Dorjee to pursue his passion for public service, he said. Mr. Dorjee is the Executive Director and President of the Project Tibet Society, an organization responsible for the resettlement of 1,000 Tibetan refugees from northern India to Canada. Since 2008, Mr. Dorjee has devoted much of his time to projects tied to the Dalai Lama, even having worked at the Dalai Lama's private office in India. 

The YMCA recognized Mr. Dorjee's involvement in human rights by awarding him the Canada Peace Medal in 1997. In 2007, he received the Calgary Freedom of Expression Award.

Mr. Dorjee has served APEGA in many capacities, including Vice-President; councillor; co-chair of the Joint Legislative Review Committee; and member of the Governance Committee, the Audit Committee, the Investigative Committee, the Nominating Committee, and the Licensure Task Force. Voters chose him as the President-Elect in the 2017 APEGA election. He's also been the fundraising chair of the APEGA Foundation.

In addition to the executive, 12 other professional members of APEGA and three non-members govern the association on behalf of the public and members.

Newly Elected

  • Tim Hohm, P.Eng. (three-year term)
  • Walter Kozak, P.Eng. (three-year term)
  • Bob Rundle, P.Eng. (two-year term)

 Re-elected

  • Jennifer Enns, P.Eng. (three-year term)
  • Claudia Villeneuve, P.Eng. (three-year term)
  • Jason Vanderzwaag, P.Eng. (one-year term)

Elected in Past Years

  • Natasha Avila, P.Eng.
  • Dr. Brad Hayes, P.Geol., FGC, FEC (Hon.)
  • Darren Hardy, P.Eng.
  • RaeAnne Leach, P.Eng.
  • Manon Plante, P.Eng., MDS, CD1
  • Emily Zhang, P.Eng.

Public Members of Council

  • Susan McRory, LL.B., ARCT
  • Mary Phillips-Rickey, FCA
  • Georgeann Wilkin, RN, LL.B.