Catherine (Cathy) Stewart, P.Eng., FEC
Cathy Stewart was born and raised in Winnipeg, graduating from Transcona Collegiate in 1972.
She graduated from Red River College with a diploma in Chemical Technology in 1974 and after graduation accepted a position with INCO in the Thompson Refinery. Her future husband, Wayne, joined her in Thompson the following year and was hired to work in the Thompson Smelter. After several years as process technologists, Cathy and Wayne, with the support of INCO, returned to the University of Ottawa and obtained their chemical engineering degrees, with a management minor, (graduating magna cum laude) in 1985. They worked in various INCO process plants during their work terms to broaden their experience.
Cathy’s career progressed from graduate engineer to registration as a Professional Engineer in January 1988. She was involved with the Thompson chapter of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba (EGM) and was elected to the executive in 1988 and served as chairperson in 1989. A desire to provide professional interaction with the association beyond the borders of Winnipeg’s perimeter, fuelled the activities of the Thompson chapter. Activities included guest speakers on technical topics and the chapter hosted a Professional Practice seminar for Engineers in Training in 1996. The Chapter gave Cathy a service award in 1999.
Cathy was elected to the EGM council in 1991 and 1993. In 1994 she accepted the position of president elect and was President of EGM in 1995-96. Cathy was the first female president and the first president to reside outside of Winnipeg. Cathy received the Distinguished Alumni award from Red River Community College in 1996.
Cathy has served on various association committees during her membership. They included the Safety Committee, Nominating Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Awards Committee, Salary Research Committee, Technologists Committee, Premises Committee, Continuing Competence Committee, the ORAP Committee, and the Executive and Finance Committee. Cathy also served 12 years on the Experience Review Committee. Cathy felt that the process of reviewing the experience and qualifications of new engineers was one of the most important to the association and required established policy and protocols. Cathy also was on the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Task group, the Law Reform sub-committee, reviewing the Law Reform Commission report on Professions and Occupations. In 2000 she was appointed to the Manitoba Advisory Council for Safety and Health by the Minister of Labour. Her work with this committee involved working to improve and develop safer workplaces that contribute to a healthy Manitoba.
Cathy was a guest speaker at the APEGM Student Dinner in 1996 and was a member of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) visit to the University of Manitoba Engineering faculty in 1993. In 1999 Cathy received the Outstanding Service Award from the association.
Cathy was a leader of a team that improved the operating processes of the Thompson Refinery in the areas of production capacity, working conditions, reduced waste, more efficient and safer processes, and reduced impact of the operation on the surrounding community resulting in improved air and water quality. A highlight of this time was the design and installation of a chlorine scrubbing tower that captured fugitive chlorine gases from the oxidation processes. These gases were previously emitted to the inside and outside surroundings and after capture were recycled and reused in the process resulting in both an improved environment (internal and external) and process economics.
Cathy completed her career as Superintendent of Environment and Employee Health at the Thompson Operation. Highlights were the completion of a Mine Closure Plan for the Thompson site and the restoration of the SOAB Creek Mine site back to a verdant meadow with no negative impact on the air, soil or waters of the surrounding area. She also strove to create a strong connection between improved plant processes and employee health with emphasis on air quality, ergonomics and safety.
Cathy was always very involved in the Thompson community serving as a Brown Owl from 1974-77, serving as a youth swim meet official, coaching youth bowling from 1979-95, fundraising for Heart and Stroke, serving on the Thompson Community Foundation from 1999-2004 and acting as chair of their grants committee from 2001-2004. She served on both the local and unit executive for Duplicate Bridge and as President of the unit from 1996-2006. Cathy and her husband Wayne are recognized as Gold Life Masters by the American Contract Bridge League.
In 2006, Cathy and Wayne co-chaired hosting EGM’s Annual General meeting in Thompson, the only time this meeting has been held outside of Winnipeg. Cathy enjoyed mentoring young females in the profession and is proud of the many talented ladies that have gone on to very successful engineering careers. Cathy was also on the INCO committee that established and awarded scholarships to women studying engineering and was recognized by Engineers Canada in 2008 for contributions supporting women in engineering. In 2012. Cathy was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizing her contributions to her community, her profession, and the province.
And in 2018 Cathy was humbled to receive from Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba an Honorary Life Membership.