Geomatics engineering alumni invest in where success all began
By Sally Collins
“Get involved. Be interested in your fellow students,” says Janet MacPhee, BSc(Eng)'87. “You never know when you will cross career (or other) paths again. The world is not as big as it may seem.”
And she’s speaking from experience—MacPhee met her husband, Stephen Green, BSc(Eng)'82, at SAIT in 1976, while both were completing the surveying and mapping program. But she doesn’t just offer this advice for personal reasons.
Both MacPhee and Green went on to complete degrees in geomatics engineering at the University of Calgary and they feel their experiences at the U of C are invaluable to their success today.
Green started The Cadastral Group Inc. in 1988 as a one-person company, which offered geomatic services to the oil and gas industry within Alberta. He's now the vice-president of Business Development & Strategic Growth for Focus Corporation, and though MacPhee is retired, she volunteers full time.
“I couldn’t have realized the dream of creating and growing my own company without my degree in geomatics engineering from the University of Calgary,” says Green. “The courses in project and business management from the university were very helpful in the development of my business and instrumental in handling its strong growth.”
Green stays involved with the U of C by participating on the Geomatics Industry Advisory Committee (GIAC) at the university and also sits on the council for the Engineering Associates Program (EAP).
Now with very successful careers and companies behind them, Green and MacPhee are more than happy to help pave the way for other future engineers and give back to the place that helped shape their future. They put themselves through engineering school, taking turns supporting each other and their infant son, so they fully understand how expensive an education can be.
“Survey camp is especially difficult, which geomatics engineering students must attend, because it costs students twice. There is a fee to attend and then you also lose about two weeks of paid work while attending,” says MacPhee. The establishment of the Green MacPhee Field Survey Camp endowment fund aims to make this easier for students, by providing stipends to each of the approximately 50 students who annually attend the camp.
They also remember a few other things about university. “A homeroom that was like a closet,” says Green, which explains their motivation to support renovations of the geomatics homeroom in the Schulich School of Engineering. “You end up spending a lot of time there and we wanted to give students a place to work together, study and relax.”
A newly renovated homeroom complete with a new ceiling and lights, new floor, electricity and internet wiring, and new furniture, officially opened Feb. 8, 2008.
They also established the Green MacPhee Award in Geomatics Engineering, which will offer a $2,500 award to a student entering the final year of studies in the Department of Geomatics Engineering.
“I’m proud to be a U of C graduate. This is a way for us to help promote the geomatics engineering program and to thank the faculty for the support they gave us,” says Green.