Jack McBain, BESc'66

 Former President, Operations, Canadian National Railway


Mr. McBain received the Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal in 1997.

Q & A

What advice would you offer an incoming Engineering student?

Be prepared for very hard work, long hours, but keep your inquisitive mind wide open to the learning opportunities. In spite of the oppressive work load, make time, in fact set aside several evenings a week for fun and recreation. The discipline of a busy schedule interspersed with scheduled down time, will drive efficiencies that will be invaluable during and after your school years.

What would you consider your most treasured memory from your time as a Western Engineering student?

In my Civil Engineering undergraduate years we had a requirement for a final year thesis project that provided a real life engineering problem. It required extensive lab tests, interfaces with lab technicians and my supervising professor. It was my first chance to apply classroom learning and provided a tremendous transition towards my assigned projects in my first job.

Why do you value your Engineering degree?

I think that the engineering discipline of logical thinking, analysis, and problem solving are invaluable in work and private life. One downside is that engineers by nature are risk averse, and  there was a constant need to balance this aversion with the demands to explore new cutting edge opportunities.