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The Friends of Engineering: industry leaders providing leadership & support to the Faculty of Engineering

April 20, 2012 — 

Friends of EngineeringThe Friends of Engineering is a unique group of like-minded engineering leaders who share in the Faculty of Engineering’s commitment to excellence in engineering education. Over the past few years, this group has grown from an idea born out of the successful EITC fundraising campaign, to a fully incorporated organization with an active membership and Board of Directors.

Made up primarily of presidents and CEO’s of major engineering firms, the Friends of Engineering recognizes that the Faculty of Engineering provides Manitoba industry with a vital stream of highly qualified graduates that make a huge contribution to both our economy and our quality of life. It is critical that this level of excellence and relevance in engineering education be continued and hopefully even expanded.

“The Friends of Engineering are a unique group of industry leaders in the province of Manitoba,” says Amber Anderson Skrabek, Executive Director of the Friends. “They are primarily made up of engineering professionals, many of whom graduated from the program at the University of Manitoba. They have made themselves available to mentor students, host events, and provide valuable curriculum input.”

The Friends of Engineering, an external organization independent of the university, advances the Faculty and enhances its graduates beyond what can be accomplished with public funds. Friends comprises senior-level executives from industry, government and the consulting sector who understand the importance of having a strong, mutually beneficial relationship between all sectors of the engineering profession in Manitoba and the world-class engineering school at the U of M that serves our education and research needs, and produces the engineering graduates that are essential to the vitality of Manitoba businesses.

John BockstaelThe Friends of Engineering has already dramatically strengthened the essential linkage between the Engineering Faculty and students with the engineering profession in industry, government and the consulting sector in Manitoba. Networking events, support of student competitions and conferences, and the enabling of the Faculty to increase its recruitment efforts have all benefitted the Faculty of Engineering and our students. In addition, the engineering curriculum, career development opportunities, co-op education, internship programs and focused research are areas of joint discussion between Friends and the Faculty. The Faculty needs industry feedback to continue to develop and deliver a leading-edge program.

“We want to help the engineering student better integrate into the business environment,” says John Bockstael, P.Eng., Chair of the Friends. “Friends is an avenue for students to connect with engineering industry.”

The Friends of Engineering annual membership fee is $1,000 and the lion’s share of the funds received are used to directly improve communications with and programs in the Faculty of Engineering.  Current event planning includes annual general meetings, student/industry mixers, and additional networking opportunities amongst Friends along with expanded access to the Dean, Faculty and students being provided.

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