What’s HappeningNewsAnnouncing TAC’s Volunteer Recognition & Young Professional Award Winners

Announcing TAC’s Volunteer Recognition & Young Professional Award Winners

May 12, 2023

We’re proud to present the 2023 winners of TAC’s Volunteer Recognition and Young Professional Awards. Congratulations to these deserving individuals, and thanks to the many others that submitted nominations. Click on the award titles to learn more about each award and the past winners!

TAC Distinguished Service Award

This award is TAC’s highest honour. It recognizes leaders who have had a tangible and enduring impact on the association’s progress toward its vision and mission, and thereby on Canada’s transportation sector. The recipient has contributed actively to TAC councils and committees for at least 15 years, among their 25 years or more of industry experience.

Scott Stewart, Arcadis IBI Group

Scott graduated from Civil Engineering at the University of Waterloo with an interest in transportation and traffic control systems. After several years in government roles, he joined IBI Group in 1978 and quickly emerged as a leader in the new field of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). After supporting Canada’s first ITS project on the Burlington Skyway, Scott helped expand IBI Group’s technology practice across Canada and internationally. He took over as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer in 2013, with a focus on operational management and execution. The firm was acquired in 2022 and it now operates as Arcadis IBI Group.

Scott has been a member of TAC’s Board of Directors since 2009, including three years as Treasurer and as Vice President, Members-at-Large. In that leadership role, Scott provided advice and shared wisdom instrumental to TAC’s growth and value proposition for members. He has been a committed champion of the benefits of technology and was a driving force behind the creation of TAC’s Technology Council in 2019 as well as its founding Chair. Scott also serves on the Board of Directors of the TAC Foundation where he promotes and generously supports the charity’s scholarship and internship programs. With ITS Canada he was Chair and CEO from 2011 to 2013, a Board member for over a decade, and the organization’s Distinguished Member of the Year in 2018.

Scott is a visionary and natural leader, and his service to TAC and the transportation sector in Canada and beyond has indeed been distinguished. His passion for leveraging technology to build a brighter future is unrivalled, and his volunteer leadership and commitment have helped ensure TAC’s financial health and the ongoing relevance of its technical work.

TAC Leadership Award

This award recognizes individual volunteers who have provided continuous, effective leadership during 10 or more years of active participation on TAC councils and committees, and who have earned a reputation among other TAC volunteers for their dedication, collaboration, knowledge and integrity.

Ania Anthony, Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways

Ania has served on the Executives of the Pavements Committee and the Soils & Materials Committee (including as Chair from 2016 to 2018), and as an active member of the RAP Working Group, Low-Carbon LCA Working Group, Pavement Design Materials Working Group, and Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Subcommittee.

She has been a member of six pooled-fund project steering committees, acting as Chair or Co-Chair of projects on evaluating soil and material stabilization products, bridge surfacing with asphalt mixes, and load management for weak pavement structures. She has also chaired or facilitated ten conference technical sessions and co-led the development of a volunteer discussion paper on the impact of wide-base tires on Canadian flexible pavements.

In her many volunteer roles, Ania is an effective advocate for the responsible use of road materials as well as high-quality road design, construction and management, and she actively encourages innovation and inter-agency collaboration in the pursuit of quality and long-term road performance.

Rob Hird, Nova Scotia Public Works

Rob has been an active member of the Traffic Operations & Management Committee (TOMC) for 15 years, with several years on the Executive including as Chair in 2015-2016. He has served on nine pooled-fund project steering committees, including as Chair or Co-Chair of projects on the Canadian Guide to Traffic Calming, Second Edition and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Sixth Edition.

Rob has been a dynamic member of numerous TOMC volunteer projects, serving as Chair of projects on signs related to agricultural vehicles, tent camping and roundabout lane designation, and supporting 13 other projects related to signs, signals and pavement markings. In addition, he has reviewed applications for TAC’s Road Safety Achievement Award, coordinated TAC Conference sessions in 2013 and 2014, and worked on the Local Organizing Committees for conferences in Halifax in 2010 and 2019.

Rob’s decades of practical, operations-based professional experience allow him to provide reliable guidance on projects and in committee meetings. He enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with peers on solutions that advance the state of practice and address challenges within his own agency.

Dr. Jonathan Regehr, University of Manitoba

After joining TAC’s Road Safety Standing Committee in 2012, Jonathan volunteered to chair the new Road Safety Professional Subcommittee. In that role, he led development of a report that recommended a new Road Safety Professional (RSP) designation, and he was eventually appointed to the North American steering committee that guided the RSP certification to its 2018 launch. As part of the subcommittee’s work, he also led an assessment of road safety engineering education and a synthesis of road safety content in engineering textbooks.

In 2018, Jonathan joined the former Education and Human Resources Development Council (now Workforce Development Council) and became the inaugural Chair of its Education Committee in 2021. In that role, he has built the committee’s membership and guided its progress, encouraging the use of TAC publications for instruction and working toward greater student awareness of transportation.

Jonathan actively cultivates a culture of congeniality and collaboration in TAC councils and committees. He has encouraged many young professionals to get involved in TAC, and by doing so has contributed to the strength and future of the organization.

TAC Individual Contribution Award

This award recognizes individual volunteers who have exhibited notable levels of initiative, creativity, effort and/or technical excellence in contributing to the work of TAC councils or committees over the preceding five years.

Mike Pearsall, Ministry of Transportation, Ontario

Mike has volunteered on the Geometric Design Committee since 2015, generously sharing Ontario’s experiences with others. On the Revisions & Additions Subcommittee, he has proposed many improvements to the Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads, including solutions to issues identified by users. He was also instrumental in updating the chapter on interchanges to enhance its national applicability. More recently, he has supported the Active Transportation Integrated Committee in addressing design treatments such as right-turn channels, and the Joint Roundabouts Subcommittee in identifying the need for updates to TAC guidance.

Denis St-Laurent, Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable du Québec

Denis has been a valued contributor to TAC’s Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Subcommittee since 2008, and a member of the Pavements Committee and Soils & Materials Committee since 2019. By exchanging information, reviewing papers, and making regular presentations to committee and subcommittee meetings, he has made significant contributions to the improvement of practices related to pavement design, construction, testing and maintenance. Notably, he volunteered over several years in the revision of five chapters of TAC’s Pavement Asset Design and Management Guide.

TAC Committee Excellence Award

This award recognizes excellence and innovation by TAC’s volunteer committees, subcommittees, working groups and project steering committees. Recipient groups have contributed to TAC’s vision and mission through initiatives in the areas of knowledge building, professional development, or member engagement.

Road Safety for Canadian Practitioners Project Steering Committee
Co-Chairs: David Ferguson, City of Hamilton (now with City of Brantford); Pedram Izadpanah, True North Safety Group

This Project Steering Committee guided the creation of TAC’s first-ever online training program, which was launched in late 2022. With nine representatives from TAC member organizations, four from ITE Canada and one from another partner, the Committee gathered experienced perspectives from coast to coast, Canada’s North, small and large communities, plus all orders of government and the private sector. Its members conducted detailed reviews of the course curriculum and an eventual catalogue of almost 1,200 slides, illustrating their commitment to developing the foremost online road safety training courses available anywhere, for the benefit of Canadian practitioners.

Soils & Materials Committee
Chair: Sina Varamini, Engtec Consulting Inc.

The Soils & Materials Committee has a rich history with many long-term members. One of its greatest strengths is the ability to attract and retain members from contractors, suppliers, agencies, and academic institutions. The Committee organizes informative and well-attended conference sessions on established and emerging topics related to soils and materials used in transportation infrastructure. Its volunteers also spend considerable time and energy in organizing multiple technology-focused paper sessions at each TAC conference that leave a legacy of documented knowledge for the wider industry. The Committee has initiated several pooled-fund projects in recent years, and its working group on recycled asphalt pavements has organized an engaging series of lunch-and-learn events.

Vision Zero & Safe System Subcommittee
Co-Chairs: Nancy Badeau, Ville de Montréal; Raheem Dilgir, TranSafe Consulting Inc.; Suzanne Woo

Over three years since being created by the Road Safety Committee, the Vision Zero & Safe System Subcommittee has delivered on its commitment to advance a new paradigm for road safety in Canada. Its volunteers have organized presentations at Road Safety Committee meetings and technical sessions at each TAC conference, including the best-attended workshop of 2022 in Edmonton. The Subcommittee has also undertaken a constructive review of TAC publications with respect to Safe System concepts and made presentations to nearly all TAC committees and councils. Most notably, its volunteer members invested more than 300 hours in a survey and synthesis of Vision Zero and Safe System practices in Canada, and another 125 hours in writing a primer on the subject that was recently converted to a formal TAC publication.

TAC Young Transportation Professional Award

This award recognizes an employee of a TAC member organization who is 35 years old or less, and who has demonstrated personal accomplishments, industry and professional contributions, and leadership.

Dr. Suliman Gargoum, University of British Columbia

Suliman is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Applied Science. His research focuses on the use of smart sensing technology for road safety analytics and the informed design and management of transportation infrastructure. After completing Ph.D. and master’s degrees in Transportation Engineering at the University of Alberta, he joined Nektar 3D where he translated his doctoral research into commercial applications for transportation infrastructure projects. Since joining UBC in 2021, Suliman has attracted substantial research funding from agencies including NSERC and the National Research Council. He has published more than 40 papers, receiving awards from entities including TAC, ITS Canada, the Transportation Research Board, and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. He has also designed and taught multiple courses in transportation engineering including a unique course on the design and management of resilient and sustainable infrastructure, and is consistently rated as a top instructor. Outside of the classroom, Suliman has served as an Interim Chaplain on campus.

Allan Widger Consulting Corporation Grant for Young Geotechnical Engineers in Transportation

This grant provides financial support to a young geotechnical engineer who is 35 years old or less with a master’s degree and at least three years of work experience in the transportation field. The grant enables him or her to attend TAC’s spring technical meetings (online) and fall technical meetings and the annual conference (both in-person) in the year of the award.

Dr. Sarah Bouchard, Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable du Québec

Sarah’s educational background is in civil and geological engineering, and her Ph.D. thesis showed that blasting in rock can decrease the stability of nearby clay slopes. She joined Québec’s Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable in 2019, where she has worked on geotechnical, slope stability and settlement studies for highways across the province. She contributes to research, including working to implement the spectral pseudo-static calculation method at the department to evaluate the dynamic stability of clay slopes, a major advance that can simulate the effect of an earthquake without a complete analysis of the slope’s dynamic behavior. Sarah is also working on the measurement of shear wave velocity in soils using piezoelectric cells to improve the characterization of soils and the optimization of foundation design, as well as a seismic vulnerability assessment of bridges on the provincial road network to support asset risk management including structural inspections after a major earthquake. She has volunteered with the Canadian Geotechnical Society since joining it as a student and has been elected President of her local section.