Meet three creative engineers who are making a difference
Edmonton—Three Faculty of Engineering alumni are being honoured at this year’s annual Alumni Recognition Awards. Each has demonstrated the ability to creatively apply knowledge and develop innovative solutions to areas they’re passionate about.
The three will meet with Faculty of Engineering students, faculty and staff Friday Sept. 21 in room 2-1, Mechanical Engineering Building, from 1 – 2 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Lubomyr Romankiw, who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1955, is largely responsible for modern data storage technology. Every digital memory storage device manufactured since 1979, from the old floppy discs used in the first “home computers” to ATMs, hand-held electronic devices—even the Internet itself—are based on pioneering work Romankiw did with IBM. Romankiw is receiving the U of A Distinguished Alumni Award.
Mechanical engineering graduate Ben Sparrow had spent months trying to devise a new method of removing salt from seawater. Remarkably, the answer came to him after he drifted off to sleep on a nighttime train ride between Beijing and Shanghai in April, 2005. The lightning bolt of inspiration spilled out in a rush, crystallizing the countless hours spent in libraries poring over thermodynamic data and chemistry research looking for an economical way to harness the energy potential of seawater, which generates electricity when mixed with fresh water.
“I began drawing a picture of this machine I’d been dreaming about. Within three or four minutes, the right picture was drawn,” he says. Today, Sparrow is president and CEO of Saltworks Technologies. His firm is helping the oil industry use water more efficiently, and is at the leading edge of technology that could make a difference in water-scarce regions of the world. Sparrow is receiving the U of A Alumni Award of Excellence.
Electrical engineering graduate Graham Buksa balances himself on pieces of wood no more than a quarter of an inch thick, bolted to four tiny wheels, and propels himself downhill so fast that his parents probably don’t want to hear about it. The speed record for longboard racers is 116 km/h and Buksa holds the sixth-fastest spot, at 112.1 km/h.
Buksa has applied his engineering education to the sport he loves. As founder of Rayne Longboards, Buksa has applied an engineer’s analytical eye and knack for innovation to longboard design. An avid longboard racer, Buksa is receiving the U of A Alumni Horizon Award.