Building Partnerships Newsletter

September 2000


There have been many changes in the department since the last issue of the "Building Partnerships" newsletter. Allow me to briefly outline some of the events that have taken place over the past year.

In the last newsletter, I mentioned that we were hiring three new faculty members. I am happy to say that, at this time, one of these positions has been filled by Dr. Kent Novakowski. The other two positions in materials and structures and geotechnical/geoenvironmental engineering are yet to be filled. In addition, we have been most fortunate to have Drs. Ana da Silva (Walter Light Queen's National Scholar) and Kerry Rowe (Vice-Principal, Research) join the department. Drs. Bob Mitchell and Karl Van Dalen, both of whom have been solid team members over many years, will be retiring this fall. They will be missed.

The department has recently had its programs reviewed by the Advisory Council and by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. We are pleased to announce that both reviews were very positive and we passed with flying colours. At the moment two other departmental reviews are in progress, the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies and an in-depth Internal Academic review. All of these activities play an important role in ensuring that the department maintains its high quality programs and provide opportunities to enhance the existing strategic plan.

Now for some other great news! Thanks to the interest and support of Robert K. Jones (Science 1952) and A. Joyce Jones (Arts 1953), "The Robert K. Jones and A. Joyce Jones Endowment in Civil Engineering" was established. This generous gift, in support the weekly Engineering Forum, appropriately named, "The Robert and Joyce Jones Speaker Series", will continue to enrich the academic experience and promote community involvement at Queen's University for many generations to come.

With today's competitive global market, students must utilize every opportunity available to secure employment relevant to their interests and education, while prospective employers must be able to effectively and efficiently recruit the most qualified candidates who are prepared to embrace the challenges of a career in civil engineering. In recognition of these needs, the Department of Civil Engineering introduced the Job Network, offering employers access to some of the brightest and most skilled potential employees that Canadian Universities have to offer. Currently experiencing a 3rd successful year and now accessible on the web, the Job Network continues to provide both students and employers with direct access to the most recent job postings. We welcome and encourage the involvement of our alumni and friends, as we are constantly striving to strengthen this most worthwhile source of student support.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our good friend and colleague, Michel Van Aerde, on August 17, 1999. Michel was a very special individual who made many contributions to our department over approximately 10 years before leaving to Virginia Tech in 1997. Michel will be greatly missed.

Our alumni and partners have provided the department with tremendous support. Many of you have given of your time and expertise by speaking to our students and with your involvement in our new industry based design project course, some of you lend your valuable support by attending special events such as graduation and our annual Industry Open House, and many others have generously contributed financially to the department. With your ongoing interest and support, we will continue to enhance the reputation of this department.


Ted Chant, Civil '77, President, Chant Construction
by Ted Chant

Having made the decision to come to Queen's, there was really nothing other than civil engineering for me. The James Bay Hydro Project was just starting up at that time and it was the dream of every Quebec kid interested in construction to work on the Project of the Century.

After graduating, I went to work for Peter Kiewit Sons, a large American general contractor. Kiewit had a major contract in James Bay and were interviewing at Queen's.

Ted Chant
Ted Chant (Sci '77)

Between 1996 and 1998, I worked for Armbro Construction Limited, and in the fall of 1998, with three partners and a nucleus of highly motivated people, founded Chant Construction Limited. We are a multi-discipline general contractor, dedicated to providing heavy civil engineering infrastructure design and/or construction services to both private and public sector organizations. Our company has a formal presence in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, but pursues work from coast to coast and in the Caribbean. The rest is history. I spent almost 20 years with Kiewit. They provided me with excellent training and exposure to almost every type of civil construction you can imagine.

I am often asked by high school graduates for advice on what I think is the right choice to make when selecting an engineering discipline: You need to go where your heart is. Don't get too focused on the immediate job opportunities (real or perceived) for any one discipline. What do you love to do? If it's designing and building things, then civil is where you want to be.

On the other hand, if you don't know what you love to do yet (and that's okay, believe me there is lots of time), I think civil engineering is the right choice. It is likely the most generic type of engineering training you can get. Civil engineers currently hold senior management posts throughout all sectors of the Canadian economy, including the manufacturing, government and military sectors, as well as the more traditional design and construction firms."


Speros Kanellos (Sci' 88) has recently been named manager of engineering and environmental services for the City of Kingston. We take great pride in our alumni and Speros has shown the true colours of the Department of Civil Engineering and Queen's Univeristy.


The following individuals continue to enhance the reputation of the Department of Civil Engineering as their work is recognized for its excellence both within and outside the University:

Loraine Chial is pleased to have been awarded the the prestigious J.B. Stirling Gold Medal in Applied Science" for the student who has made the highest standing throughout the four year program in addition to being awarded the "University Medal in Civil Engineering" and the "O'Connor Associates Award in Geotechnical Engineering".

Congratulations to Laura MacHardy and Hiran Sandanayake, recipients of the "Frank J. DeWitt Scholarships" awarded on the basis of academic performance and proposals addressing innovative ideas to enhance the quality of the undergraduate program in Civil Engineering.

Jennifer Haverhals was awarded the "McMil Award in Environmental Engineering" for notable proficiency in the area of environmental engineering with a particular emphasis on waste management.

Congratulations also to Elizabeth Ahlgren, recipient of the "Senator Frank Carrel Upper Year Scholarship" and, James Keirstead, recipient of the "Frederick and Christopher Ansley Scholarship" for academic excellence and contribution to the betterment of campus life.

As nominated by the students, the 1999-2000 "Department of Civil Engineering Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards" were awarded to Natalie Rizkalla and Darren Waters (Fall Term 1999), and Raafat El-Hacha and Gordon Thompson (Winter Term 2000).

For his presentation entitled, "Influences on the Migration of DNAPL through Fractured Media", Dave Reynolds has been awarded a certificate of recognition by the Engineering Institute of Canada at the 24th annual Graduate Student Forum, sponsored by the Ottawa Geothechnical Group.

The Canadian Society for Civil Engineering Student Award honoured Natalie Rizkalla with 1st place for her presentation, "Pretentioned concrete beams with hybrid FRP/stainless reinforcements" and 2nd place to Luke Bisby for his presentation entitled, "Effects of freeze-thaw cycling on bond durability of FRP sheets bonded to reinforced concrete beams".

Distinguished 2nd place poster awards were presented to Karen Callery and Raafat El-Hacha by ISIS Canada in the 5th annual student poster competition.

Raafat has also been selected as recipient of the "NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF)" approved for tenure at any Canadian University for a period of two years.

In recognition of teaching excellence, the Engineering Society Golden Apple Award has been presented to Dr. Kevin Hall and the "Teaching Award for 1999-00", as presented by the undergraduate student body, has been awarded to Dr. Karl Van Dalen.

For the best paper on bridge engineering, Dr. Mark Green (shared with Sylvanus Marshe) was awarded the"1999 P.L. Pratley Medal" by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

The Ministry of the Environment has awarded The Department of Civil Engineering the "1999 Award of Excellence Certificate" in recognition of the department's encouragement and support for Mr. John St. Marseille's M.Sc.Eng. thesis titled, "Design and operation of an on-site sewage treatment system using leaching chambers and a denitrifying sand filter".


In the true spirit of Queen's University, we were very pleased to have been selected to host the 6th annual Canadian National Concrete Canoe competition in May 2000. Organized by the Civil Concrete Canoe Club and sponsored by CPCI (Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute), CSCE (Canadian Society for Civil Engineering), Queen's University Faculty of Applied Science, the Department of Civil Engineering, and the Queen's Alumni Association, this year's competition proved to be an exciting event with Queen's placing 1st for the Best Oral Presentation, Women's Sprint and Women's Distance races, 2nd for the Best Technical Report, and 3rd in the overall weighted standing. More information is available by visiting



Queen's Gazette, 3 April 2000, revised 22 June 2000 by the editor

In March, 2000, Queen's Principal William Leggett and President Wang Shenghong of Fudan University, China finalized four agreements that will permit the two universities to exchange both faculty and students and collaborate on major research projects.

Since Fudan and Queen's both have considerable strength in environmental studies, the first such project will be in the areas of urban and land development, water resources, and ecology with Queen's Professors Hok-Lin Leung, of Urban Regional Planning, and Ed Watt, of Civil Engineering, being part of the delegation to Shanghai.

The Hon. Dr. Gilbert Normand, Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development) was in Shanghai to witness the signing of documents related to the memorandum of understanding between the two universities and to offer his strong support.

Principal Leggett said he was pleased that the relationship with Fudan is moving forward so quickly. "We have put in place a framework that will facilitate and encourage collaborative research, and the mobility of faculty and students to and from China. Much of this has been driven from the grassroots level of individual faculty who are looking forward to sharing knowledge with other top scholars in their fields."


The 1999-2000 Engineering Forum sponsored by Aluma Systems, Toronto and DBD Structures of San Francisco, CA, continued to be one of the most popular initiatives of the department this past year. Organized for the purpose of providing an opportunity to discuss subjects of common interest and promoting an interdisciplinary approach to engineering practice and research, the forum has quickly become a favourite lunchtime event in everyone's weekly schedule.

Many thanks to all of the graduate students who were instrumental in organizing the speakers, and to the speakers, without whom, we would not have had the opportunity to benefit from these interesting presentations:

Sean Watt, Cataraqui Conservation Authority Conservation Authorities:
Who are we and what do we do?

Doug King, O'Connor Associates Environmental Inc.
Your "FRIENDLY" neighbourhood service station

Dr. Jiri Marsalek, Canadian Centre for Inland Waters:
Engineers and Urban Drainage: 5000 Years of Experience

George Sweetman, Cosburn Patterson Mather
Fields of Dreams: Real Estate Engineering

Dr. Sami Rizkalli, ISIS Canada
Innovation in Structures: FRP for Infrastructure

Cathy Lee, Halsall Associates Inc.
This Could Be You: Life After Graduation

Peter Halsall, Halsall Associates Inc.
Consult the Consultant: The World of Consulting Engineering

Dr. K. Wayne Savigny, BGC Consultants Inc.
Short Stories of a Fatal Landslide

Dr. Mark Knight, University of Waterloo
The Underground Engineer: Trenchless Technologies

Dave Walters, Graduate Student
The Secrets of the Ziggurats Revealed

James Keirstead, Undergraduate Student
The Queen's University Solar Vehicle Team: A Civil Perspective

Jason Gerhard, Graduate Student
South East Asia: A Civil's (Mis)Adventures

Philip Drew, Law Student
Habitat for Humanity: Building Better Lives

Dr. Jamie Archibald, Department of Mining Engineering
Engineering Rocks!: Thin Spray-On Linings for Rock Failure Stabilization

Nicholas Bayley, Undergraduate Student
Making Concrete Float? Queen's Concrete Canoe Team

Rob McLean, Graduate Student
Back to School? Work Force vs. Grad School

Mohamed A. Dabees, Graduate Student
Life's a Beach!

Ahmed Debaiky, Graduate Student
The Dawn of Engineering: Early Engineering in Egypt

Brian Gaunce, DBD Structures
Who are DBD Structures?

Dave Reynolds, Graduate Student
Groundwater Research

For more information, please contact:
Luke A. Bisby
Graduate Student, Coordinator of Phone: (613) 533-6000 ext. 75259
Fax: (613) 533-2128


The department has recently introduced a new comprehensive fourth year engineering design project course, CIVL 467, where each project is developed with an industry partner and provides an opportunity for teams to deal with a real-life undertaking.

Many thanks to our CIVL 467 industry partners for providing our students with the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge, making them more competitive in the market place.

Acres International Limited
Anchor Concrete Products
Baird and Associates
Chant Construction

Cosburn Patterson Mather
Gananoque P.U.C
Gartner Lee Ltd.
Malroz Engineering

For more information, please contact:
John Pelow, P.Eng
Coordinator, Industry Design Projects
Phone: (613) 533-6325
Fax: (613) 533-6370


The department is currently facing a steep retirement profile. With approximately 50% of our faculty retiring within the next 3 to 5 years, we are very pleased to take this opportunity and welcome Drs. Ana da Silva, Kent Novakowski, and Kerry Rowe to the department.

Dr. Ana da Silva, recipient of the Walter Light Queen's National Scholarship, comes to the department from her position of Assistant Professor at the University of Windsor, and following a previous position as Research Hydraulic Engineer with the U.S. Department of the Army Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Dr. da Silva's research in the areas of fluvial morphology and river engineering, physical and numerical modeling, and environmental fluid mechanics has been published extensively in many prominent scientific journals.

It is also with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Dr. Kent Novakowski to our department. Dr. Novakowski comes to us from Brock University with research interests in the areas of contaminant transport in fractured media, analytical model development and, regional hydrogeology of southern Ontario and following extensive experience as Chief of the Ground Remediation at the National Water Research Institute.

Award winning researcher and teacher of civil engineering, Dr. Kerry Rowe has recently been named Vice-Principal (Research) of Queen's University. Formerly professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Rowe comes to Queen's and the Department of Civil Engineering with extensive research and consulting experience in the geotechnical engineering field. His expertise spans several areas, from hydrogeology through landfill design, soil reinforcement, and geosynthetics for waste containment.

We look forward to working together in order to achieve many common goals in the near future.


After many years with the department, Drs. Robert Mitchell and Karl Van Dalen will be retiring this summer. We wish them the best of luck in all of their future endeavours and express our sincere gratitude for their countless contributions. Thanks for a job well done!


by Dr. R. J. Mitchell

After 30 years of teaching and research, I am retiring from the Department. Although I have taught several courses, development work on Civl 443 (Earth Structures and the Environment) and Civl 261 (Professional Ethics in Engineering) make these personal favourites which I will continue to teach in the autumn of 2000 as part of my post-retirement association with the department.

Dr. R. J. Mitchell
Dr. R. J. Mitchell

During my career, I am pleased to have been able to contribute to the advancement of early research on earthflows in eastern Canada. This research grew to include geoenvironmental studies on mine backfills and waste containment through designing and building the first geotechnical modelling centrifuge in Canada. With the continuing collaboration of departmental technician Jim Roettger, research efforts have included the construction of a new geoenvironmental centrifuge. As noted in my Keynote Address to the 50th Canadian Geotechnical Conference in Ottawa in 1997, research advances have resulted from the combined efforts of over 50 graduate students. I am particularly proud of former Ph.D. students who have gone on to university and consulting careers. Two of these individuals, Vincent Lawrence and Michael O'Connor, have been the recipients of honourary degrees from Queen's University for their contributions to engineering.

Although Head of the Department of Civil Engineering for one term (1985-90), main service contributions have been to the Canadian Geotechnical Society, for which I was awarded the 1999 Stirling Medal by the Engineering Institute of Canada. On reflection, I realize that a university faculty career offers two continuous privileges: the first is interaction with exceptionally bright and energetic young people; the second is inquiry, with an advance of fundamental knowledge as the reward. I am very grateful to all of my associates at Queen's University for the opportunities to enjoy these privileges.


by Dr. K. Van Dalen

My first experience of Queen's was in April 1954 when I came for Spring Survey School. I had just completed my first year at McMaster in my hometown of Hamilton. In those days, McMaster didn't have an engineering program, but special arrangements had been put in place so that students could take their first year at McMaster and then transfer into second year either at Queen's or University of Toronto.

Dr. K. Van Dalen
Dr. K. Van Dalen

All of us at McMaster knew that our instructors weren't engineers and that, capable physics and chemistry professors that they were, they didn't really know what engineering was all about. So it was with considerable trepidation that I arrived at Queen's, recognizing that at last I was going to be exposed to a bone fide engineering environment and wondering whether a genuine engineering professor was going to be noticeably different from my professors at McMaster.

My question was immediately answered by the bearing of Ed Dauphin, the first instructor I ran into in survey school. Professor Dauphin was an OLS as well as Professional Engineer. He spoke with the authority that comes with hands on experience, he insisted on work of the highest quality, he was firm, fair and uncompromising in his standards, as those of us who had our submissions stamped with his "Not Acceptable" stamp became painfully aware. In the following terms at Queen's, I was fortunate to have learned from professors such as Stanley Lash, Joe Brooks and Russ Kennedy, each of whom had different strengths but all of whom, at least in the eyes of an undergraduate, shared a common love for the Department of Civil Engineering. They challenged us, helped bring out the best in us, and at the end of a rigorous program gave us a sense of accomplishment and pride in having become graduates of Queen's Civil Engineering.

Over the span of my 30 years in the department, it's been my hope that I could play some part towards making the civil program as challenging and as rigorous, as fulfilling and as character building as my predecessors did for my contemporaries and me.

One of my greatest pleasures has been to witness the growth in students as they progress from brash second year students sporting spiked hairdos to competent young professionals at graduation.

To the more than 1000 students I've had the pleasure of coming to know, and to my staff and faculty colleagues, I extend my thanks. For thirty years you've made this the best job anyone could wish for.

IN MEMORIAM: Dr. Michel Van Aerde (1960 - 1999)

by Barbara Campbell, P.Eng.,

Dr. Michel Van Aerde died suddenly near his home in Blacksburg, Virginia on Tuesday, August 17, 1999. Memorial services were held in Virginia on August 22 and in his home town of Tillsonburg, Ontario on August 28. He is survived by his wife Maureen, son Eric (9), daughter Stephanie (7 1√ö2), parents Omer and Germaine, brother Roger and sister Arlene Tratnik.

Dr. Michel Van Aerde
Dr. Michel Van Aerde (1960 - 1999)

Most recently, Dr. Van Aerde was a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, and Associate Director of their Center for Transportation Research. He was the developer of the INTEGRATION model, recognized worldwide as a leading tool for evaluating and optimizing both traditional traffic engineering as well as new ITS initiatives. Dr. Van Aerde supported both the development and application of INTEGRATION, and was an expert in applying the model for ATMS and ITS applications.

In September 1998, one of Michel Van Aerde's projects was selected by The Science Coalition as one of the year's Great Advances in Scientific Discovery. He and his team created a new set of computerized tools to be used to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions in congested traffic networks. This new technology can be imbedded into existing traffic simulation models, which allows traffic engineers and transportation planners to predict changes in fuel consumption and emissions of HC, CO, and NOx for any traffic network improvement. The analysis considers second-by-second changes in individual vehicle speeds and accelerations for regions the size of entire metropolitan areas. Pilot projects using these tools are underway in Phoenix, San Antonio and Seattle.

Michel was born in Tillsonburg, then lived with his family in Stekene, Belgium for 12 years before returning to Canada for high school. He received his B.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1983, winning the Alumni Association Gold Medal in his graduating year for top achievement in all branches of engineering. He received his M.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1985, both from the University of Waterloo.

In 1986, at the age of 26, Dr. Van Aerde became an assistant professor at Queens University in Kingston, Canada. He stayed until 1997, completing research contracts using INTEGRATION for GM, FHWA, SAIC, and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, among others. At Queens, he was also an instructor of graduate and undergraduate courses in traffic engineering, traffic network simulation and optimization, and transportation planning.

Dr. Van Aerde was the author of over 100 publications. He had shared his knowledge with 13 classes of undergraduate students, and had supervised the research of 25 Masters and Ph.D. students in Canada and the U.S. He was a member of ITE and Professional Engineers Ontario.

Michel was a keen runner and cyclist who once considered becoming a professional bicycle racer. He remained an avid fan of European professional cycling, and had just returned from a trip to Belgium to watch cycling with his son Eric. He was a coach and enthusiastic fan of his children's soccer leagues. He had many academic achievements, but his colleagues, students and friends will remember him most for his warmth, humility, encouragement, generosity, humour, energy, and fondness for chocolate.

The District 7 Executive of ITE has expressed condolences to his family on behalf of all CITE members. The Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers will be administering a graduate engineering scholarship in Dr. Van Aerde's memory.

For more information, please contact:
Barbara Campbell
Fax: (905) 880-5757