Winning CEC 2014 bid was just the beginning

Engineering News | February 21, 2012

By Heather Travis

Making the case to host the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC) at Western University put a lot of pressure on Gail Hayhoe and Michael Zawalsky. But the pair faced the challenge and won the bid for Western Engineering in 2014.

Hayhoe, a third-year electrical engineering and Ivey student, and Zawalsky, a third-year integrated engineering and Ivey student are still reeling from their success at the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students (CFES) Congress held in Whitehorse, Yukon, Jan. 4-10. They presented the bid to host CEC 2014 during the week-long event.

“When Western hosted the Ontario Engineering Competition (2011), we decided we wanted to go down this path for CEC 2014,” says Hayhoe. “We had substantial backing,” including support from Engineering Dean Andy Hrymak, she adds.

“We thought it would be an exciting challenge to have Western host at the next level,” adds Zawalsky.

This is the third time Western Engineering has hosted the national event. This makes Western the second school in CEC’s 29-year history (after École Polytechnique) to host the competition three times.

The fun part was securing the bid; now the real work begins in planning an event for which they have only been participants.

“Immediately we have to plan the logistics of the competition,” Hayhoe says.

The competitions will be held on Western’s campus; however taking a cue from Whitehorse, the team wants to include the City of London in its plans. Hosting about 150 engineering students from across the country is a great opportunity to showcase campus and the city, notes Zawalsky.

The dust will barely settle on CEC 2013 at Carleton University before the Western Engineering CEC team will begin refining plans for its event. One of the organizers will also sit on the CFES Board of Governors for 2013-14.

“Being involved in this as a student is a great opportunity to network and develop as a leader,” Zawalsky says. “This is a very complex event to run.”

Looking ahead to 2014, organizing such a large-scale event will become the keystone project of Hayhoe and Zawalsky’s academic careers, as the pair is set to graduate the same year.

“It’s something we are going to be putting a lot of time into,” Hayhoe says. “We are certainly excited for it and the challenges ahead. It’s something Western can be proud of.”


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