For Mahdy Hamada, MESc’09, PhD’14, becoming an Engineer was always the goal. “I grew up surrounded by engineering,” he said. “My Mom, Dad and Brother are engineers, all my uncles are engineers, my Dad has a construction company, it’s what I have always wanted to do.”
Yet, after completing an undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and working in a consulting firm for several years, an area of research that he found largely unexplored pulled him toward pursuing a graduate degree.
Hamada discovered that although there was plenty of research and data focused on earthquakes and how they affect tall buildings, very little research involved wind loads and wind behavior on high rise structures. He enrolled in Western’s Masters of Engineering Science program in order to delve into this previously untapped area of research.
“At Western, I was able to work with Dr. El Damatty and professors who are leading the world in this type of research,” he said. “This is a very specific type of research that just wasn’t in the industry. Western was the best place for me.” Hamada began studying high rise and transmission line structures under high intensity winds and exploring how this data is applicable to the industry. He worked with a team of professors and other researchers to come up with simplified equivalent loads that can be used by industrial transmission lines to withstand tornados.
Western Engineering is also leading the charge in researching the lateral behavior of wood buildings under high winds. Recently, the National Building Code of Canada has allowed the construction of wood buildings up to nine stories high. Hamada is part of the research team that is collecting the data necessary to continue to build safely and effectively with wood.
Hamada recalls his graduate studies at Western as a place where his mind was opened to so many ideas, opinions and concepts. Now, he is committed to helping students realize the value of an engineering education – beyond the lab. He regularly lectures undergraduate students on the value of transferable skills gained in an academic setting. He discusses how to translate academic degrees into meaningful careers outside of academia: “There are things you learn in class that you don’t really discover until you’re outside of the academic environment.” Hamada explained that with those graduate level skills in place, problem solving techniques will also be sharp: “When a project comes to you, you’re ready to solve it.”
Hamada is President of a consulting firm in London, Ontario. He also teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses within the Faculty of Engineering at Western.
“Western is the most beautiful university in Canada with the most beautiful atmosphere, and the friendliest people,” he said. “I had the opportunity to work with some of the top researchers in the world. I’m very grateful.”
For more information on wind research at Western Engineering, visit The Wind Engineering, Energy and Environmental Research Institute (WindEEE RI) here.