Hanny A. Hassan, CM, BESc'64,
President, Alef Consulting Ltd.
Former Partner, Dillon Consulting
Mr. Hassan received the Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal in 2013.
Q & A
What makes you proud to be Canadian?
Pride can be nationalistic and jingoistic. But not for Canadians. Canadian pride is a celebration of our nation's accomplishments and acknowledgement of where we fell short. Canadians have tried to build a fair and just society; a society that protects the most vulnerable and the marginalized; a society that recognizes that the country's greatest asset is its people, who should be allowed to develop their full potential; a society that is diverse and one which seeks to acknowledge and accommodate the diversity; a society that knows it is not perfect and that continues to evolve; a society that seeks reconciliation rather than confrontation. Canada is generous. It has accepted and supported many waves of refugees from troubled areas of the world and facilitated their success. I am a proud Canadian for those and many more tangible reasons like its natural beauty and the accomplishments of many of our citizens.
How did your Engineering degree launch your success?
I had always wanted to be a structural engineering designer. Because of the theoretical and practical education at Western, my first job was in the Harbours and Rivers Branch of the Department of Public Works, where I was given the opportunity to work on significant and diverse projects that allowed me to use what I had learned at Western on real life problems. I felt confident because of the Western Engineering Science program that I had completed. The emphasis on arts and humanities in the early years of the Engineering program, gave me a broad perspective and placed my work in a larger context.
As you reflect on the 150 year history of Canada, what do you consider the biggest Canadian engineering accomplishment?
Canada has had many spectacular engineering projects, such as the CN Tower, the Confederation Bridge and the Skydome. However, I consider the best engineering accomplishment to have been the unheralded development of Canada's reliable infrastructure - roads, railways, sewers, water supply, electrical generation and distribution, information and communication networks, etc. With the exception of times of natural disasters, this has happened unnoticed and continues to evolve so that our infrastructure is among the best in the world.