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Grand River Chapter
Announcements and Recent News

News and Events

Calling all LEGO fans

Skills Ontario is looking for judges to help encourage elementary students to consider careers in technology.

On 02 May 2016 more than 20 teams of four students will be challenged to complete tasks using a limited number of LEGO pieces. We are in need of judges to overview the process and to encourage them to consider Engineering and Technology as viable career paths.

If interested, please contact Ian Dudley, Technical Chair

Thursday, 14 April 2016 20:19

PEO Grand River Chapter Symposium 2016

We’re back and we made it even better! Spend your Saturday morning with other professional engineers in our local chapter while increasing your knowledge from the interesting talks we lined up for you.

Improve your leadership skills through a keynote presentation from one of the most fluent, humorous and animated speaker from our region. “Lead Right or Die!” is designed by Neil Dunsmore to convey his leadership message to engineers and project managers in a manner you have not seen before.  More details

Click here to Register

Back to back with Neil are two technical talks that will add to your knowledge power.

Learn about what’s blinding drivers, damaging cars and homes, or even burning people!  Ryan Danks, P.Eng explores a serious glaring problem--- controlling solar reflection from the built environment.  His expertise on this subject matter may just save you from becoming the next victim. More details

Click here to Register

What’s up with the depleting rare earth elements? Discover why they are vital in the manufacturing world as subject matter expert Alireza Shirazi, PhD, P.Eng, discusses rare earth elements and its impact to additive manufacturing. More details

Limited seats.  To avoid disappointments, register today. 

Click here to Register





Neil Dunsmore

Lead Right or Die! Essential Leadership Skills for Engineers and Project Managers

Neil will explore leadership skills and discuss why most people fail, how you can succeed where others have failed and what to do about those nasty weaknesses. He will provide useful leadership insights that engineers can use to improve their trade.

Neil is a business owner, an entrepreneur and a sales professional, and was also a Correctional Officer and Hostage/Crisis Negotiator for 10 years in a maximum security detention centre.   He is also a keynote speaker, speaking for various organizations and businesses on intriguing topics such as anti-bullying and leadership, and messages on making good personal choices and the impact of bad decisions.

  “I have learned that you take the stage as a speaker for a moment but your message should move the audience for a lifetime. After speaking to someone at a presentation or a meeting, then a year later they remember, not my name, but my message! ...That's cool!”

Neil is a very fluent speaker and a long time member of Toastmasters International. He won the 2015 District 86 Evaluation Contest, the 2011 District 86 Humorous Speech Contest, competed in the District 86 International Contest 3 times. His unique style and delivery, using real life events and craft them into humorous presentations, enables Neil to convey his message a fun and enjoyable experience for the listeners. Learning new leadership techniques in this "humorous way" is something you need to see and experience for yourself.




Ryan Danks, P.Eng

A Glaring Problem – Controlling Solar Reflections from the Built Environment

In recent years, uncontrolled solar reflections from buildings have been blamed for blinding drivers, damaging cars and homes and even burning people. Because of this, understanding how a building will reflect light has become an increasingly important aspect of design. This presentation explores the different ways reflections impact their surroundings, why these impacts occur and how to prevent and mitigate reflection related problems.

Ryan Danks is a senior engineer with RWDI who is focused on the research and development of tools and methodologies to better simulate the interaction between the built and natural environments.  His work helps architects, engineers and urban planners create climate aware designs that emphasize energy efficiency, outdoor comfort and walkability in urban settings across five continents.




Alireza Shirazi, Ph.D., P.Eng

Rare Earth Elements (REE) and its Impact to Additive Manufacturing

REE have been categorized by the government as being critical to Canada’s economy. REE contain unique qualities such as magnetic, catalytic and luminescent properties which make them vital for manufacturing clean energy products, such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar cells and energy-efficient lighting. These high-value performance characteristics and forecasted global consumption combined with a lack of useful substitutes could risk major shortages of REE globally.

It is proposed that metal Additive Manufacturing (AM), offering superior characteristics over traditional manufacturing systems, minimizing waste, lowering manufacturing costs and more importantly serving to find new rare earth substitutes, would be one of the potential solutions for global and national REE concerns. Achieving these unique features and characteristics of AM technology however requires a better understanding of fundamentals of Additive Manufacturing of metal and structural materials processes. This situation creates high demands for advance research in AM and REE.

Dr. Alireza Shirazi, is a project engineer at Hitachi Truck Manufacturing Ltd., Guelph Canada with PhD, Master of Applied Science and Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and PEng since 2012.  He has over 14 years of experience acting as a senior engineer and advisor in research and development, design and manufacturing working with global companies such as IBM Canada, Celestica, Microsoft and Motorola. His specialities and expertise are in Fatigue Analysis, Stress Analysis, Finite Element Analysis, Elasticity and Plasticity of linear and non-linear materials including Composite Materials, Biomaterials, Artificial Tissues and Implants, advanced high alloy ferrous and non-ferrous metals and Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS). Dr. Shirazi has over 30 technical publications in peer-reviewed journals and international conference proceedings. His findings are being implemented and cited by many international research societies and industries. He is an advisor and reviewer of number of peer reviewed journals and conferences such as Journal of Composite Materials, Microelectronics Reliability, etc., Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conferences and organizations such as ASME, IEEE and SMTA in design and manufacturing.


Tuesday, 29 March 2016 00:00

2016 Mathletics Competition

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The youths are the future of our country. They are also the future of the engineering profession. This noble vision drives the PEO Grand River Chapter to conduct the 6th annual Mathletics to promote the importance of mathematics and engineering among the grade students. It is a competition among grade students from the Kitchener-Waterloo region and surrounding areas on the subject of mathematics. Questions were focused on the relevance of engineering in practical life designed to enrich the knowledge of the young minds. It is an exciting time-bound competition composed of two rounds, an easy and a difficult round, for both the juniors (grades 5 & 6) and seniors (grades 7 & 8). Although the competitive spirit was in the air, the contest also promoted sportsmanship and new knowledge to the students.

The popular event was held in the Richards Building in the University of Guelph and was participated by 60 students from different elementary schools in the Grand River region. It was a mild spring morning of March 26th and the atmosphere inside the lecture hall was energetically hot and filled with excitement.

The competition started at 8:30 am and ended up at 12:00 noon. Junior category winners were Bandon Landsborough for second place while Joshua Varghese and Himain Perera tied for first place. Senior category had a triple tie on the third place, Yifan Wu, Tabitha Wong and Saba Shariati. Second placer was Gabriel Salisi and first placer was Andy Dong. Andy Dong garnered a perfect score. The questions were challenging for their level, so it is a testament to the high quality of math education in our region.

The event was organized by PEO Grand River chapter volunteers Ryan Spencer, Mohanad Al-ajaj, Jeff Bueckert, Steve Reid, Alieda and Jonathan Velasco. Student volunteer from the host university Carlos Lopez Argueta was also instrumental in the success of the event.

The search for the next Mathletics champion continuous, and the organizers are encouraging fellow engineers to help support and promote the competition to families and friends. If you are interested to volunteer and help promote the engineering profession to the youth, please contact the education committee chair at


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