Douglas Muzyka, BESc'77, MESc'78, PhD'85
Senior Vice President and Chief Science & Technology Officer, DuPont
Dr. Muzyka received the Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal in 2002.
Q & A
What makes you proud to be Canadian?
Canada is a diverse and inherently tolerant society. In a world which is increasingly polarizing under the stresses of changes in the global economy, the underlying values of Canadians are driving a very different response from what we see in other countries. A clear illustration of this was Canada’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis over the past few years. As others became more inwardly focused, Canada summoned a broad consensus of all parts of society to reach out and help. This is the spirit which makes me feel proud to be Canadian.
How did your Engineering degree launch your success?
My Engineering degree opened the door to not just professional opportunities in industry and academia, but to a great global adventure that has continued throughout my career. All three of my Engineering degrees are from Western, but all of my PhD work was done in the framework of an exchange program with the Université de Compiègne in France. This provided exposure to a different cultural and linguistic environment that stimulated my interests in geographical diversity as a key element in my career. I have had the opportunity to work and live for long periods of time in six different countries throughout my career. This would have never happened if I had not had a Western Engineering degree and the international exposure that came along with it.
Why do you value your Engineering degree?
Only about half of my career has been spent on the front lines of engineering and research work. The remainder has been in business and geographical leaderships roles. Despite this, the structured analytical thinking that I learned while I studied Engineering at Western has provided a framework for solving all kinds of problems, sometimes technical, sometimes commercial, sometimes in human relations and general management. An Engineering degree offers certain specific skills, but more importantly an approach to problem solving that is relevant well beyond the technology domain.