Recent News

I became Ontario Regional Director fall 2014 and it has been challenging, fun and interesting. I have participated in most Council and Membership conference calls when able. In my opinion, our relatively small technical organization, with such a diverse and changing membership, two languages, spread over such a huge country, with membership that cannot attend all technical meetings because of distance, cost or time, it is important to find ways to connect with grassroots members. For this reason, for the on-line newsletters of December 2014, March 2015 and June 2015, I randomly called (yes, using that thing called a telephone that seems to be so seldom used anymore) about five Ontario members per newsletter to solicit a little information (about 100 words) about what they were doing, how long they had been a member, and what advice they had for younger members. It was easy and painless, using a short template I sent to them. This has been both interesting for me and also for those I call because I find members are genuinely pleased, but surprised to hear from someone on Council. I plan to continue doing this in the coming year. Check out what members have told us at http://csbe-scgab.ca/

I also participated in a Jobs Fair at the University of Guelph in January 2015. Along with Vice-President Membership, Harry Huffman, we spoke to undergrads about jobs in Agricultural Engineering and opportunities joining CSBE. It was fun event and students were very interested in learning from a couple of grizzled veterans. There were perhaps 30 companies involved and perhaps 100 students attending.

I look forward to the coming year.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015 13:51

Few Words From President Grant Clark

grant-clarkPreparations for the Annual General Meeting and Technical Conference in Edmonton are full steam ahead! Rick Atkins and his amazing team have put together a full slate of technical presentations, workshops suitable for professional development credit, and social events. The meeting will take place at the Delta Edmonton South from July 5-8, 2015. Come and join with your colleagues to enrich your professional lives, see what your old friends are up to, and network with some new ones! (www.csbe-scgab.ca/edmonton2015)

Monday, 16 March 2015 13:05

2015 CSBE-SCGAB Conference and AGM


Innovation in Water, Energy and Biosystems (iWEB) - Positioning the Globe for 2050

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is proud to be hosting CSBE’s traditional, annual conference at the Delta Edmonton South Hotel and Conference Centre from July 5 to 8, 2015.

The conference local arrangements committee (LAC) led by the Honourable Chair, Rick Atkins, has been super busy planning and preparing to host CSBE members and non-members from across Canada, the USA and abroad. With the abstract submission deadline over on March 13, 2015, we have received a total of 109 abstracts on various fascinating and intriguing topics relevant to food, agriculture, water, energy and machinery. The conference program is designed to offer delegates a variety of stimulating, as well as relaxing activities and events, including:

  • Exhibits
  • Technical Poster Presentations
  • Professional Development Workshops
  • Opening Reception
  • Plenary Session
  • Technical Oral Presentations
  • Annual General Meeting
  • Monday Evening Social
  • Technical Tours
  • CSBE Awards Banquet
  • Panel Discussion
  • Student Awards Luncheon

 Early bird registration is now open, until June 5, 2015. Please check the website https://www.csbe-scgab.ca/edmonton2015-program for details regarding the technical program. 

Four professional development workshops will be offered, with two workshops scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, July 5, and two workshops scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, July 8. The workshops are spread out over two different days to allow delegates flexibility in making travel and other arrangements without missing out on valuable professional development opportunities.

The technical tours are slated for Tuesday, July 7, and are aimed at exposing delegates to innovations in water, energy and biosystems in Alberta. Three tours are being planned to sites within an hour’s drive from Edmonton. Visit the conference website link for more information.  


Conference registration fees will be broken down into an early bird rate for CSBE members, non-members, retired CSBE members and students, and a regular rate that will take effect after the early bird registration period expires on June 4, 2015. Visit the conference website link for more information.

Rates for daily conference registration, professional development workshops, Monday evening social, technical tours and CSBE awards banquet have also been posted on the website.


For delegates flying into Edmonton, an airport shuttle is available to transport you to the Delta Edmonton South Hotel and Conference Centre at a reduced rate. Details can be found on the conference website link.


A block of rooms has been reserved at Delta Edmonton South Hotel and Conference Centre at a discounted rate for CSBE conference delegates. The deadline to take advantage of the discounted room rate is June 3, 2015.

Alternative options for lodging are also available well within walking distance of Delta Edmonton South Hotel and Conference Centre. Details can be found on the conference website link.


Delegates registered for the conference will have the benefit of enjoying an opening reception, at least one complimentary breakfast and two complimentary lunches. Dining arrangements can also be sought within Delta Edmonton South Hotel and Conference Centre or at several other outlets in close proximity to the conference centre.


The timing of the 2015 CSBE conference coincides with several other events and festivities occurring in Edmonton, surrounding communities and Calgary, which is only about a 3-hour drive south of Edmonton, and of course our scenic Rocky Mountains to the west. Delegates may choose to make a holiday of their trip to Edmonton for the 2015 CSBE conference. Checkout the conference website for additional information.

Ike Edeogu
Regional Director, CSBE Alberta

Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba hosted “Engineering Graduate Awards” reception at EITC atrium on March 11, 2015. Vanessa Krahn and Chelladurai Vellaichamy received “W.E. Muir Scholarship for Graduate Students in Biosystems Engineering”. Warren Blunt, Jillian Seniuk Cicek and Chelladurai Vellaichamy received “Edward R. Toporeck Graduate Fellowship for Excellence in Engineering”.


Mr & Mrs. Muir with W.E. Muir scholarship recipients (Vanessa, Chella)

Here’s news about a few Ontario members so readers can learn more about the wide range of what our members do and allow them to pass along some advice to other members

Jake DeBruyn, P.Eng. (17 year member) received his Biosystems Engineering degree at the University of Manitoba and works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Guelph. www.ontario.ca/omafra  He integrates biological and engineering systems with regulations, public policy, and extension/communication to farmers and technology vendors.  He supports anaerobic digestion and purpose grown agricultural biomass, promoting new technologies or systems into markets that don’t yet exist.  He communicates technical information to new audiences, and works with innovators through a maze of technical, regulatory, and financial uncertainty. Jake’s advice to younger members; ‘Get a good understanding of your strengths, perhaps through online tests such as Strengthsfinder.com  to learn if you’re a details focussed project finisher,  enthusiastic promoter, visionary theorist, or whatever. This will help promote you in interviews, or determine sectors of work to pursue. Your engineering background  prepares you for different work, but when you use your strengths to their utmost, there’s a good chance you’ll really enjoy your work.’

Jason Haelzle, P.Eng. (12 year member) received his environmental engineering degree at the University of Guelph.  He is currently Principal and Vice-President at Conestoga-Rovers & Associates www.craworld.com.  While working in the environmental field upon graduation; Jason decided to use his environmental background to assist the agricultural industry in dealing with ever increasing environmental regulation and compliance needs.  This has led to a successful career working with a broad range of clients in the agriculture industry across North America solving issues relating to permitting, compliance, engineering design and construction, litigation support and environmental remediation.  Jason's advice to younger members; ‘Approach your career with an open mind and desire to learn from other engineering disciplines and senior mentors.  Don’t be afraid to adapt and apply your knowledge to a new industry because you never know where it may lead!’

Wayne Blenkhorn, P.Eng. (40 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree from McGill University (MacDonald College). He is the CEO of Faromor Ltd and CEO of Stonecrest Engineering, Shakespeare, Ontario. www.faromor.com www.stonecrestengineering.com. Wayne has owned Faromor Ltd since 1982 designing, developing & marketing livestock/poultry ventilation & environmental systems. Recently, Faramor has offered renewable energy solutions. They have built many solar installations for ground, roof top and tracking systems. They are developing a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station destined to incorporate a voluntary percentage of renewable energy from on-farm, or waste site methane, generated from an anaerobic digestion process. The intention is to capture another revenue stream for rural clients, reduce mobile transportation fuel costs, and provide a more sustainable fuel source.  Stonecrest offers professional design and consulting services focussing on agriculture. Their professional design services include structural and mechanical systems used in the production of fuel and food products. Leadership in both firms is transitioning to Wayne’s son Gary Blenkhorn and friend Steve Miller. Wayne’s advice to younger members; ‘Apply knowledge learned in a passionate and enthusiastic manner, and regardless of career path chosen, always maintain a professional and ethical relationship with your peers.’

Neil Grant, P.Eng. (31 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree from McGill University (MacDonald College). Neil grew up on a dairy farm in Eastern Ontario. He stayed on the farm after high school, but after reading a book on ‘Farm Engines and Tractors’, he enrolled in Agricultural Engineering four years later. His varied career includes; White Farm Equipment then Massey Ferguson testing combines; Sims Cab Manufacturing designing cabs for construction and agricultural equipment; an Ottawa consulting working on solar combined heat and power collector projects; another Ottawa consulting firm working on vehicle and personnel barriers, electronic enclosures, explosive ordinance disposal products and blast mitigation seats.  Neil currently works for Med Eng Holding in Ottawa www.med-eng.com/ and is senior mechanical design/analysis person in the blast mitigation seat product development group.  Neil loves his job and as an inventor, he has various patents for components for blast mitigation seat systems.  Neil is an antique tractor buff with eight old Cockshutts. Neil’s advice to younger members, ‘Morph your career in the direction you want, since no one else will do it for you.  Don’t spend too long doing things which are not a challenge or interest. If you like your work, you may not want to go home at the end of the day. What a great feeling to have!’

Frank Kains, P.Eng. (42 year member) received his agricultural engineering degree from the University of Guelph just shortly before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Frank grew up on a dairy farm in Middlesex near London. He is retired from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, having worked in the areas surrounding Waterloo, Guelph and Elora. Frank worked as an extension agricultural engineer for 30 years specializing in swine housing system design and ventilation. He was also fortunate to have worked with many in the horse and buggy Mennonite community of that area. Frank’s advice for young members, ‘Seek out and take opportunities to upgrade your education and skills, not necessarily in the engineering field. Making your career a continual learning exercise makes life more satisfying and rewarding.’

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