Charles F. Ruigrok, BESc'78
Director, Enmax and Soane Energy LLC
Former CEO, Syncrude Canada Ltd.
Mr. Ruigrok received the Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal in 2006.
Q & A
What makes you proud to be Canadian?
I take great pride that we live in a country that is inclusive, multi-cultural and generally as safe as any country anywhere in the world. I think we can feel good about the fact that a quality education and quality healthcare are available to everyone who chooses to or needs to access these benefits, and that our country provides opportunities for all to enjoy a standard of living as good as one can enjoy anywhere in the world.
As you reflect on the 150 year history of Canada, what do you consider the biggest Canadian engineering accomplishment?
At the risk of showing my civil engineering bias, I think some of the significant transportation infrastructure projects of the 19th century still rank as some of the greatest engineering achievements of their time. The transcontinental railroad built by the Canadian Pacific Railway stands out in my mind as perhaps the most significant post confederation.
How did your Engineering degree launch your success?
My Engineering degree opened the door to employment opportunities in an organization that ultimately provided me with growth opportunities well beyond those related to the discipline in which I received my formal education and training. My career as a civil engineer afforded me the opportunity to learn about industrial project construction management, chemical engineering processes, industrial product sales and customer service on a worldwide scale and business planning for multi-billion dollar businesses. Over the course of my career I developed expertise in areas as diverse as finance and accounting, human resource management, safety, environmental protection, executive compensation and corporate governance. I enjoyed opportunities in my career that I could not have imagined during my time at Western Engineering, opportunities that were made possible because of the foundation that my engineering education provided.