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Regional Directors Reports

Another year has gone by, and it seems to have all happened in a blur. Wow, what a year it’s been! Not to mention, yours truly and his gang of cohorts continue to plug away towards what we hope will be a sweet ending to the year. Yes, Alberta (Edmonton) is proud to be hosting the 2015 CSBE/SCGAB ANNUAL CONFERENCE in July, along with its AGM and Awards Ceremonies!

  • 2015 CSBE/SCGAB Conference - Local Arrangements Committee (LAC)

A rallying call for volunteers to help plan and host the 2015 conference went out to provincial members of CSBE/SCGAB and non-members in September last year. The LAC boasted a total of 20 participants including, LAC Chair and CSBE/SCGAB member - Rick Atkins, CSBE/SCGAB Society Manager - John Feddes, VP Technical - Suresh Neethirajan and CSBE/SCGAB Webmaster - René Morissette. The LAC has held 10 planning sessions between late September 2014 and early June 2015.

The LAC decided on the theme, “Innovation in Water, Energy and Biosystems (iWEB) -Positioning the Globe for 2050” for the 2015 conference. It was chosen as the theme in order to reflect the diverse nature and expertise of the CSBE/SCGAB membership, as well as to solicit the participation and collaboration of professional non-members of related interest, as we collectively journey ahead into the future.

  • 2015 CSBE/SCGAB Conference - Professional Development Workshops

As part of the conference program, the LAC approached two non-technical and two technical speakers to host workshops on Sunday and Wednesday, respectively. Unfortunately due to low enrolment, three of the four workshops were cancelled and the LAC opted for only one technical workshop on Wednesday.

  • 2015 CSBE/SCGAB Conference - Technical Session Oral and Poster Presentations

About 110 presenters from across Canada, the U.S.A. and abroad responded to the “Call for Papers” first issued in December 2014. Of these, the highest numbers of responses were broadly related to topics on biosystem management, bioprocessing, water management and energy.

  • 2015 CSBE/SCGAB Conference - Technical Tours

Three technical tours are being organized as part of the conference program. Two of the tours are scheduled to take delegates to sites located outside Edmonton, while the third tour is targeted at sites within the city. The tour sites span a range of bioengineering interests and innovation within Alberta in the fields of bioprocessing, food processing, energy, water management, biosytem management, and information and electrical technology, as we strive to diversify our provincial economy.

  • 2015 CSBE/SCGAB Conference - Panel Discussion

A panel of representatives from government, the primary production industry, the value-added, food processing industry, and a non-government organization, will discuss “The Impact of Social License on Sustainable Food Production in Canada”. The discussion is anticipated to highlight the influential role consumers’ play today in determining the future of the food industry in Canada. Interestingly, the influential effects of the food industry’s “social license to operate” is being experienced at every level along the food supply chain, and is most certainly another level of detail bioengineers must factor in when designing and supporting sustainable food production systems in Canada,  towards 2050 and beyond. 

This will be my last annual report as SK Regional Director. After four fun and interesting years on Council, I am stepping down but will continue to be actively involved in the CSBE.

The last four years has seen a major transition at the University of Saskatchewan; the department of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering was merged with the department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. While some view this merge as a loss for the CSBE/SCGAB, the society now has access to students in more disciplines as Chemical, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering have absorbed the courses and streams previously offered by Ag/Bio Engineering. Many of the fourth year design and graduate student projects in these disciplines have an agricultural or bioengineering aspect, so these students and faculty would certainly benefit from a membership with the CSBE/SCGAB.

The agricultural engineering industry in Saskatchewan is stronger than ever with several large equipment manufacturers calling Saskatchewan home and smaller manufacturers receiving support from programs such as NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). The CSBE/SCGAB offers significant benefits to industrial members, as evidenced by the successful industry-academia collaborations showcased at the CSBE/SCGAB conference in Saskatoon in 2013.

In 2015, the final group of graduates to receive a B.Sc. in Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering convocated from the University of Saskatchewan. Congratulations to Joshua Coté, Jason Cousins, Brennan Crooymans, Joël Denis, Dustin Eichhorn, David Epp, Ryan Green, Alanna Howell, Luke Lowenberger, Jonathan Schuba and Charley Sprenger. Congratulations also to the students who were selected to receive CSBE/SCGAB design project awards:

CSBE/SCGAB Undergraduate Design Project Award:

Design of a cherry pitter for small intermediate cherry producers
Jason Cousins
Ryan Green
Luke Lowenberger
Supervisor: Lope Tabil

CSBE/SCGAB Undergraduate Thesis Award:

Point row control for air seeders
Brennan Crooymans
Joël Denis
Jonathan Schuba
Joshua Coté
Supervisors: Joel Gervais and Ross Welford

CSBE/SCGAB Graduate Thesis Award:

Effect of Pretreatment on the Breakdown of Lignocellulosic Matrix in Biomass Feedstock (Ph.D.)
Kingsley Iroba
Supervisor: Lope Tabil

I hope to catch up with some fellow Saskatchewan members at the CSBE/SCGAB conference in Edmonton in July! Best of luck to the incoming SK Regional Director, Dr. Venkatesh Meda! 

It was a fun and challenging year as Manitoba Regional Director. I have participated in all of the Council and membership engagement committee meetings. The major success of our Manitoba region is the creation of a very vibrant CSBE student chapter at university of Manitoba. The student chapter helped me a lot in organizing regional activities. Manitoba section of CSBE organized a networking BBQ at University of Manitoba on September 9, 2014 along with CSBE Undergraduate Student Chapter and Biosystems Engineering Graduate Students’ Association (BEGSA). I have also invited executive members of CIFST (Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology) and 6 executives from CIFST participated in this networking event. The total attendance for this event was 98, which include graduate and under graduate students, academic members of department of Biosystems engineering and industry members. I also participated in Manitoba School Science Symposium (MSSS), the showcase event for school students to display their scientific knowledge. To create awareness about our Biosystems engineering to school students, CSBE awards have been given to the projects related to bioengineering field.  Four CSBE members (Tasneem Vahora, Annette Kroeker, Senthilkumar Thiruppathi and Aadesh Rahkra) helped me to choose 2 projects CSBE awards (one each from junior and senior category) out of 358 projects displayed in MSSS.

This is my final report as Manitoba regional director, and I sincerely thank all the volunteers helped me to organize regional activities in last 5 years. I am looking forward to work with our incoming Manitoba Regional Director.

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.

The past year has been a fairly busy one. After my inauguration into office as regional director for Alberta, at the 2013 CSBE Conference and AGM held in Saskatoon in July last year, the following tasks have been completed:

Council Activities

Eight council meetings have been held to date of which I have attended seven. Early on in the CSBE year (2013/14), all council members were requested to submit an individual plan of action for the upcoming year to the president. Four goals were outlined for Alberta namely: Establish regional committee; Connect with professional organizations such as Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA); Publish an article in quarterly editions of CSBE’s Perspectives newsletter; Organize two lecture series related to bioengineering.

Membership Committee Activities

Two committee meetings have been held to date. Regional directors were requested to submit a plan detailing regional events that would be held in the CSBE year. Details of the plan included: Organizers of the event; Target participants; Expected date(s); Objectives of the event; and Budget estimate. Regional directors were notified that the CSBE had funds to support planned regional events.

2014 ASABE and CSBE/SCGAB Annual International Meeting - Planning Activities

The regional director participated in two joint local and national arrangements committee meetings to discuss how CSBE could support efforts towards the hosting of the 2014 event in Montreal. Participation as a regional director was voluntary and was seen as a learning opportunity, considering the fact that Alberta will be hosting the 2015 CSBE Conference and AGM.

Regional Advisory Committee

A regional advisory committee comprised of 7 professional members and one student member was formed in September, 2013. The committee participated in discussions pertaining to the 2015 CSBE AGM and Conference, CSBE Alberta Lecture Series and CSBE awards nominations via two teleconferences and by email correspondence. The regional committee members and non-committee members were also active in hosting the lecture series.

CSBE Alberta Winter and Spring Lecture Series

The CSBE Alberta inaugural lecture series entitled, “Bioresource Engineering - Advancing Alberta’s Bioenergy Platform”, was held in Edmonton on January 28, 2014. Forty-five people were in attendance, including 12 CSBE professional members, 2 CSBE students and 9 non-CSBE students.

A second lecture series entitled, ”Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy and the Role of Bioresource Engineering”, was held in Calgary on June 04, 2014. Twenty-seven people were in attendance, including 7 CSBE professional members. Two non-CSBE students were also in attendance.

Both events were widely advertised across the province courtesy of APEGA, Alberta Institute of Agrologists (AIA), Alberta Water Portal, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, etc.

2015 CSBE Conference & AGM

The 2015 conference and AGM will be held in July in Edmonton, Alberta. Over the past year effort has been made to secure a host venue in the “City of Champions”. In addition, Rick Atkins (CSBE Fellow) has been appointed chair of the local arrangements committee (LAC). Planning activities of the LAC will commence after the 2014 ASABE & CSBE/SCGAB annual international meeting in Montreal in July.

The main duties of the regional director are: encouraging suitable candidates from our Manitoba respective region to apply for CSBE membership, working with university representatives on student recruitment, meet with students early in the academic year to make them aware of CSBE/SCGAB and its objectives, organize regional activities on an annual basis, recruit a committee to help in regional activities, and act as general contact person for CSBE/SCGAB in the Manitoba region. At the start of this year, I set my goals as:
  • Organize a networking event along with orientation to the new students of Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba.
  • Forming an organizing committee to work on regional activities.
  • Develop a plan to organize professional development activity for CSBE members.
  • Identifying potential professional associations in the province for collaboration to conduct regional activities.  

Orientation and networking BBQ at Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba was organized for new graduate and undergraduate students on October 1st, 2013 by Manitoba section of CSBE, Biosystems Engineering Graduate Students’ Association (BEGSA), Manitoba section of CSBE Undergraduate Student Chapter, and Department of Biosystems Engineering.  The total attendance for this event was 94, which include graduate and undergraduate students, academic members of department of Biosystems engineering and industry members. The session started with the a talk by Dr. Danny Mann, head of the department about introduction to department of Biosystems engineering, followed by a presentation about academic writing and publication by Dr. SriRanjan, Editor, Canadian Biosystems Engineering.  Chella Vellaichamy, Manitoba regional director talked about CSBE membership and its benefits to students during and after their academic life; and distributed membership applications. Totally 22 new students attended this orientation program were joined with current enrolled students, academic staffs, and 3 industrial member for the BBQ event at 6:30pm. 

Local organizing committee to help regional director to conduct regional activities has been formed with 6 members. The members of this committee are:

1.      Chella Vellaichamy (Regional director)
2.      Dr. Danny Mann (Head of department of Biosystems engineering),
3.      Ravikanth Lankapalli (Graduate student, Department of Biosystems engineering)
4.      Steven Murray (Undergraduate student, Department of Biosystems engineering)
5.      Annette Kroeker (Bulher Versatile Inc.)
6.      Prabal Gosh (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative)

A tentative plan has been laid out to organize a workshop series (3 to 4 workshops) for the members in Fall 2014 and Winter 2015. A membership information session will be organized in September 2014 at university of Manitoba to advertise about our society to the new students.

See recent articles:

In October 2012, 62nd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference was held in Vancouver, BC. CSBE Co-sponsored International Symposium of Biomass and Bioenergy, one of the symposium running parallel to the main conference. Dr. Shahab Sokhasnaj was the co-chair of this symposium. The symposium started from Monday October 15th to Wednesday October 17th with sessions on Resources and Supply Chain, Thermal Conversion, Feedstocks, Preparation and Pre-treatment, New Products and Bio-Carbons, Bio-oil Properties and Upgrading, Biological Processes, Building the Bio-economy, Wood Pellets, Biodiesel and Biofuel Upgrading.

A one-day Research Day has been planning from March 2013 for the students in Chemical Engineering Department at UBC. This event is to be held in September 2013. CSBE will participate in the event to promote the society. CSBE will have an information booth at the exhibition during the “Research Day”. The information booth will help to disseminate information on the Society to potential new members.

Biomass & Bioenergy Research Group (BBRG) members at the University of British Columbia who are mostly CSBE members are organizing a 1.5-day pellet workshop around the Wood Pellet Association of Canada AGM to be held this fall in Vancouver. During the past 10 years, BBRG has conducted extensive research on wood pellet production, storage, handling, life cycle analysis, and characterization of the new generation of torrefied pellets.

As a follow up, the BBRG is organizing a 1.5 day Workshop in conjunction with WPAC's Annual General Meeting to be held November 18-22 in Vancouver. The BBRG Workshop is organized in two parts. Part 1 will consist of lectures and visual electronic boards (electronic posters) on Monday November 18, 2013 at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle, the venue for WPAC's meeting. Part 2 will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday November 22, at UBC, where attendees will participate in research on aspects of wood pellets and feedstock engineering, including the new biomass gasification plant on campus. 

CSBE AGM and Technical Conference

Saskatchewan CSBE members helped organize the CSBE AGM and Technical Conference which will be held at the University of Saskatchewan July 7 – 11, 2013. The theme was Interdisciplinary Engineering: Working together to develop sustainable solutions in agriculture and biosystems and the event showcased successful collaborations between industry and academia. The conference included workshops, technical tours and networking events such as an opening reception, BBQ and banquet. The technical program included over 80 oral presentations and over 30 poster presentations.

Visit the website for more information.

U of S ¼ Scale Tractor Team Highlights

university of saskatchewan

The 16th Annual International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Tractor Design Competition was held May 30 to June 2 in Peoria, Illinois.

The team from the University of Saskatchewan again impressed the industry judges and representatives with top finishes in:

  • Campbell Scientific Award for best use of test methods and data acquisition (1st)
  • Design Judging (by 25 industry engineers) (3rd overall)
    • Serviceability (5th)
    • Safety (3rd)
    • Ergonomics (3rd)
    • Test and Development (3rd)
    • Sound (3rd)
    • Maneuverability (3rd – top two tied for 1st)
    • Team Presentation (4th)

Based on the team’s success over the years, the team secured strategic sponsorship agreements with CNH, Bourgault, Brandt, Kramer, strong support from APEGS, as well as support from Macdon, Hitachi, John Deere and others.


CBE New Graduates

During the 2013 Spring Convocation, Elizabeth George received a M.Sc. in Biological Engineering while Ka Po Catherine Hui and Majid Soleimani Baghsorkhi received a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering. Six undergraduates received their B.Sc. in Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering (Allison Graham, Sheldon Gregoire, Burt Lozinsky, Carolyn Osborn, Beverly Rodowski and Shaun Turner). Beverly Rodowski was the recipient of the Oliver L. Symes Memorial Award and Carolyn Osborne earned the Clinton L. Armstrong Memorial Award. 


Manitoba Region membership 2012-13 roster consists of 137 members, out of which 82 are student members (71 under-graduate and 11 graduate students).



Manitoba section of CSBE/SCGAB jointly organized a “membership information session” for graduate and under graduate students along with Biosystems Engineering Graduate Students’ Association (BEGSA) and Department of Biosystems Engineering at University of Manitoba on March 1st, 2013. Totally 28 graduate and under graduate students attended this session. Dennis Hodgkinson, President, DGH Engineering, and Vice- President (Industries), CSBE, Dr. Qiang Zhang, Professor, Department of Biosystems Engineering, and President, CSBE,  Dr. Danny Mann, Head, Department of Biosystems Engineering attended this season, and explained about the benefits of CSBE membership, professional networking through CSBE for professional development potential employment opportunities and importance of continuing with our society after graduation. Students were actively involved in the conversation about our society’s role in their career development, and expressed that regular events from CSBE will help them to engage more with the society. Four graduate students submitted their new member application forms in this information season and they obtained their CSBE and ASABE membership on May 7, 2013.

As a part of creating awareness about biological engineering to school students, CSBE/SCGAB Manitoba section sponsored two awards at the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium 2013. Tooba Razi (grade 7) and Keisha Mendoza (grade 11) won this year's CSBE/SCGAB awards in the intermediate and senior categories, respectively.

Department of Biosystems Engineering Highlights

Dr. Myron (Ron) Britton, a long time member of CSBE, officially retired as a Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba on December 31, 2012. He was appointed as a Senior Scholar in the Faculty from January 1, 2013, which provides him with an on-campus office and allows him to maintain his involvement with teaching and research.

The University of Manitoba Quarter-Scale Tractor Team placed 4th in pulling, 7th in maneuverability, and 13th in design judging at the 2012 IQS Tractor Competition which was hosted by ASABE in Peoria, Illinois on May 31- June 3, 2012.

Depuis deux ans, je m’étais fixé deux objectifs principaux, soit augmenter les liens avec l’Association des ingénieurs en agroalimentaire du Québec (AIAQ – www.aiaq.qc.ca) et m’impliquer dans une éventuelle redynamisation du département en génie agroalimentaire de l’Université Laval.

Au cours de la dernière année, j’ai donc accentué ma collaboration avec l’AIAQ afin d’augmenter la visibilité de la profession. Quatre membres de la SCGAB (Patrick Brassard, Sébastien Fournel, Joahnn Palacios,  Stéphane Godbout) siègent sur l’exécutif de cette association. En plus d’avoir solidifié les liens avec l’Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, 

l’exécutif de l’AIAQ a organisé deux symposiums. Le premier se déroulait à l’automne 2012 en collaboration avec le CQVB à Drummondville et plus de 100 ingénieurs du secteur agroalimentaire étaient présents. Le second se déroulait le 15 mai 2013 dans les locaux de l’Institut de Recherche recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement (IRDA) à Québec et plus de 40 ingénieurs étaient présents. Lors de ces symposiums, certains membres de la SCGAB CSBE présentaient leurs travaux (Frédéric Pelletier, Patrick Brassard, Sébastien Fournel). L’ensemble des actions a permis de plus que doubler le membership et j’espère que cela aura également un impact sur le membership de la SCGAB.

Au cours des deux dernières années, en collaboration avec les membres de l’exécutif de l’AIAQ, j’ai participé à faire des actions pour augmenter la capacité d’accueil du programme de génie agroalimentaire de l’Université Laval.  À ce jour, plusieurs rencontres ont été tenues avec, entre autres, les instances du département et de la faculté. Toutefois, malgré tous nos efforts, la survie du programme n’est nullement assurée.

Mes dernières années d’expérience me permettent de constater que l’avenir autant de la SCGAB que de l’AIAQ est lié à la compétence et à la crédibilité des membres. C’est pourquoi je suis d’avis que notre société s’implique d’avantage dans la formation continue des membres.

Finalement, je profite de l’occasion pour remercier sincèrement tous les membres de la SCGAB qui m’ont supporté dans ma tâche de directeur régional tout au long des dernières années. Je quitte la fonction de directeur régional mais compte toujours m’impliquer dans les activités et actions de la SCGAB. De même, je continuerai à représenter la société auprès de la CIGR.

English version

Over the past Since two years I had two main objectives: increase the link with the Association des ingénieurs en agroalimentaire du Québec (AIAQ – www.aiaq.qc.ca) and collaborate to renew the Agricultural Engineering department Department at Université Laval.

During the last year, I collaborated to with the AIAQ works to improve the visibility of our profession. Four CSBE members are involving involved on in the executive committee of this association (Patrick Brassard, Sébastien Fournel, Joahnn Palacios, Stéphane Godbout). Through these works allow toefforts we established a stronger link with the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ). We organized also two symposiums. The first one in fall 2012 was in Drummondville with the collaboration of the CQVB and more than 100 engineers were present. The second one was at the Research and development Development institute Institute for the agriAgri-environment Environment (IRDA) located in Quebec and more than 40 engineers were there. A few of the speakers were CSBE members (Frédéric Pelletier, Patrick Brassard, Sébastien Fournel). The success of the AIAQ activities during the past two years allow doublinged the membership. I hope this increase will have an positive impact on the CSBE membership in the next future.

Also, jointly with the AIAQ executive board of directors, we continued the to work to do someon actions to improve the capacity of the Agri-food engineering program at Université Laval. So far, many few meetings have been held by with the AIAQ president and different some other engineers representatives of the University at different levelssuch as the head of department and the faculty dean. However, despite of all these efforts, the future of this program is not guaranteed.

In my opinion, one key of the future of our society is the professional development of the members because the competence and credibility of our members is the heart of the society. Finally, I would like acknowledge all the members that supported me during this last years as regional director. Even though I will quit leave this position; I will continue to be involved in the different society activities and to represent the society on the CIGR board.

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Volume 56 (2014)
Volume 57 (2015)
Volume 58 (2016)

Available at only 60 CAD each (including shipping).

Please contact John Feddes at manager@csbe-scgab.ca  to place your order.

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