Eric Chung receives the 2024 L.S. Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal


Eric Chung, BESc’77, MEng’78, (right) along with his wife Ruby, BSc '78, accepting the 2024 L.S. Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal.

Western Engineering is proud to announce Eric Chung, BESc’77, MEng’78, as the recipient of the prestigious 2024 L.S. Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal.  The Award recognizes alumni for their outstanding contributions to the engineering profession, business leadership and community service.  Eric’s exceptional career and dedication make him a worthy recipient of this honour. 

With over four decades of leadership in geotechnical engineering, Chung is renowned for his expertise in developing key geotechnical reports and guiding developers on critical projects that require deep foundations.  His dedication to the field has not only established him as a leading figure but also significantly impacted the landscape of engineering in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. 

As a partner and principal engineer at Chung & Vander Doelen Engineering Ltd. (CVD) in Kitchener, Ontario, Eric has been instrumental in shaping the company's success.  Founded in the spring of 2000, CVD is a PEO licensed consulting firm specializing in Geotechnical, Construction Inspection & Materials Testing, Environmental and Hydrogeology services.  With a senior management team boasting over 50 years of engineering experience in Ontario, CVD is known for its exceptional project troubleshooting capabilities, which minimize issues and delays for their valued clients. 

Reflecting on the early days of CVD, Chung shares, "My partner (Rob Vander Doelen) and I started just the two of us in a tiny office in 2000.  It was so small that we had to sit back-to-back and could not even get out at the same time and practically had to jump over each other.” 

He added: “Our plan was to deliver consistent quality work to our clients and we never thought we would be where we are today.  Within five years, we grew our list of clients exponentially and quickly increased our office space three times.  Then, we moved to our present location and slowly filled the whole building.  Our organic progression took a life of its own.  We now have over 50 employees, two offices, and plans to continue expansion.” 

Under Chung's leadership, CVD has completed geotechnical reports for approximately 80 per cent of all high-rise buildings in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.  This achievement is particularly impressive given the challenging soil structure in the region.  His innovative spirit and commitment to exploring new ideas have been key drivers of the company’s success and he continuously strives to learn more about the field and encourages his team to do the same. 

Discussing key projects that have contributed to CVD’s growth, Chung highlights, "One of the many projects we have been privileged to be a part of is the DTK Condos in Downtown Kitchener.  In 2018, it was the tallest condo ever planned to be built in the tri-cities standing at over 40 stories.  Recently, we have been involved with several 40 to 45-storey condos in the downtown Kitchener area.  From inception to completion, our firm was involved at every step as we delivered value engineering in all aspects to the client, cementing our reputation for foundation engineering excellence within the development community." 

Chung’s contributions extend beyond his professional achievements.  He has worked on numerous community projects, collaborating with hydrogeologists to determine site suitability for rural residential subdivisions and designing septic systems across several counties in Ontario.  His engineering contributions include the design and construction of deep excavation and groundwater control systems in downtown Toronto and the Harbour Front area, as well as providing inspection and QA supervision for major projects like the CIL Ammonia II Plant in Sarnia and GMC Plants Additions in Oshawa. 

His business acumen is evident in his successful management of CVD since its inception.  He has overseen significant projects, including the Quantum Nano Centre in Waterloo and Engineering 7 at the University of Waterloo.  Before founding CVD, Chung managed the Kitchener-Waterloo Office of Dominion Soil and AGRA E&E since 1987. 

Eric’s dedication to education and mentorship is exemplified by the establishment of the “Eric & Ruby Chung Graduate Award” in 2014.  Alongside his wife Ruby, he created this award to support graduate students conducting research in Geotechnical or Geoenvironmental Engineering.  To date, 11 students have benefited from their generosity. 

"Ruby and I have always been supportive and helped in any way we can to foster the next generation.  Establishing an award was the natural progression to allow us the opportunity to encourage and support young professionals and engineering graduates pursuing their future careers and reach their full potential," says Chung. 

Reflecting on his time at Western, Chung acknowledges, "Western Engineering equipped me with a strong foundation I carry through to this day.  Mentorship and engineering knowledge were instrumental in my professional growth.  As an alum, I continue to engage with the university via our Graduate Award and continue to take opportunities to mentor the next generation of engineers.  Currently, we employ three engineers who graduated from Western." 

Chung’s unique approach to geotechnical engineering, characterized by his deep understanding of field conditions and innovative problem-solving, sets him apart from his peers.  His work on specialized deep foundations and 38-story buildings demonstrates his expertise and ability to handle complex projects.  Furthermore, he is committed to mentoring the next generation of engineers, providing guidance and support to help them succeed in their careers. 

Sharing his advice for current engineering students, Chung emphasizes, "Pause, listen, and ask questions.  Have empathy and put yourself in their shoes.  The more the client talks, the better understanding you have of their needs.  Don’t use jargon.  Meet your clients at their level and put information into layman’s terms.” 

He added: “Put the client first.  Be prepared to give the client advice that is not in your interest. Be humble, always learn and don’t be afraid to say, 'I don’t know.' Stay hungry to solve problems and become comfortable with the unknown. Become strategic advisers to your clients. Take the opportunity to support the client on matters outside of the project you’ve been hired to work on. Trust is earned over time through consistent actions and integrity. All the above are tenets my firm stands by and this is how we have continued to deliver value engineering since day one.” 

In addition, Eric humbly acknowledges, "I would not have achieved such success without God's blessings and the support of my family and colleagues." 

Western Engineering congratulates Eric Chung on his outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of engineering and the community.  His dedication, leadership, and innovative spirit serve as an inspiration to current and future engineers.