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Industry Presentations

UMASC wants to facilitate the professional and personal development of all it's Chapter members. To achieve this, UMASC organizes activities to acquaint students with topics of interest in railway engineering through guest speaker luncheons, Chapter sponsored trips, and technical tours. As railway engineering is a multi-disciplined industry, we strive to bring in speakers that span all technical aspects of the industry. 

Check our Calendar to see upcoming events hosted by UMASC. As always, if you'd like to have a technical tour at a specific facility or guest speaker brought in on a particular topic, don't hesitate to contact us.

Previous Industry Presentations

This guest lecture was presented by Dr. Ahmed Shalaby who is a professor of Civil Engineering and a professional engineer specializing in pavement design and highway materials. He has taught at the University of Manitoba since 1998, where he leads the Pavement Research Group. His research aims to improve the performance of road materials and pavement structures and to improve the maintenance and construction practices in Canada and around the world.

Dr. Shalaby’s presentation focused on the lessons from investigations of transportation disasters including the 2013 Lac Megantic rail disaster which was the most fatal transportation incident in North America in the past decade along with Comprehensive investigations of other large-scale failures and how Engineers and policy makers learn a great deal from these investigations.

This talk also reviewed the regulatory framework for the safety of various modes of transportation in Canada, and the shared responsibility between the federal government and the provinces and territories for legislation and oversight.

Presented by:
Dr. Ahmed Shalaby, PhD, P.Eng.

This is our second online event, delivered simultaneously from three WSP offices in Alberta and Ontario. Our event had both physical and online audience ranging from Professors, industry practitioners, graduate students to undergraduate students whom interested in Data Management, Data Analytics, and Big Data Trends. The attendees were from different departments of the University of Manitoba and consultant firms in the city.

The presentation kicked off by introducing UMASC and our valued presenters including:

  • Jordan Daniels (P.Eng.): Project manager with 10 years of experience in design, field commissioning, and technical project management.
  • Herman Won (P.Eng.): Systems Engineer with 4 years of experience in rail transit industry who is currently involved with developing creative tools to optimize engineering coordination and design.
  • James Savolainen (EIT): who recently joined WSP and has three years of experience in defense industry focused on system engineering, system modelling, and cybersecurity for military applications.

    Jordan gave a brief overview of WSP, a Global company with around 48,000 employees across globe with annual revenue of 6.2 Billion dollars. Then, he presented on the process of data acquisition in railway industry which includes Train position detectors, embedded sensors, fiber optics and Scout chain line inspector (train for data acquisition with cameras and lasers).

    Afterward James Savolainen briefed on the concept of big data, data sets that are too large and complex to process, and explained what data volume and data velocity are. He also talked about the processes of analyzing big data including machine learning, natural network, predictive modelling, and data mining.

    Then Herman Won explained how data analyzing techniques can be used for predicting future trends and predictive maintenance which may include AI (Artificial Intelligence) predictive maintenance model, inventory management, utilizing the data to improve transit, and predicting future population and climate trends. 

    The presentation was concluded by Q&A session. We received good feedback from audience on this presentation.


Presented by:
Jordan Daniels (Project Manager, P-Eng, WSP)
Herman Won (Systems Engineer, P-Eng, WSP)
James Savolainen (Systems Engineer, EIT, WSP)

This event was a different style of guest lectures as our presenters were presenting online. The topic was about the "Edmonton Light Rail Transit (LRT)" and was presented by professionals from the City of Edmonton and WSP. It began with an introduction by Scott Macintosh, who is currently the General Supervisor of the Project Management Section and Project Manager for Metro Line NW LRT Expansion for the City of Edmonton. He talked about the needs for LRT and its impact as well as providing cases of different lines and stations such as Valley Line Southeast and Valley Line West, with the major structures used. After that, the presentation continued with both Mustafa Mirza, Manager of WSP Rails Systems Engineering, and Tamsin Silvester, WSP’s Design Manager for the Metro Line NW LRT in Edmonton. They talked about some key challenges and highlights of the project and LRT and transit oriented design. Finally, the presentation concluded with a question period.

Presented by:
Scott Macintosh, General Project Management Supervisor, City of Edmonton 
Mustafa Mirza, Rail Systems Engineering Manager, WSP
Tamsin Silvester, Design Manager, WSP

This guest lecture was presented by Dr. Babak Mehran, an assistant professor of Transportation Engineering in the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Manitoba who received his PhD from Nagoya University, Japan in 2009. The topic of the lecture was about optimization of public transportation in low demand areas. The lecture started with an introduction about different public transit systems such as LRT and buses. There was also a brief comparison between different types of control such as steering, guided, magnetic, and automatic. He then focused on transit services in low demand Canadian cities and how they can be optimized to provide the needed demand at low cost.

Presented by:
Dr. Babak Mehran, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba 


This guest lecture was presented by Eric Magel, a high profile member of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), who worked over the last 25 years on numerous Canadian and International railways, addressing problems of wear, corrugation, surface fatigue, rail grinding and friction management. The featured presentation topic was "Rail Grinding and the Preventive Gradual Initiative". The presentation started with a theoretical summary on rail grinding and the magic wear rate. This was followed by a case study review on the story of the BNSF Railway in the US, as a real life application example.

Presented by:
Eric Magel, Principal Engineer, NRC 

This guest lecture featured 3 presenters from AECOM. The first was Bob Paetsch who had 40 years of experience in railway engineering, with extensive experience in many areas of railway operations, practices, procedures and standard plans, environmental and safety regulations, and construction practices. The second was Brendan Machado who is a project engineer with the North America Freight & Rail group and has over 11 years of experience. The third was Pavankumar Malaghan who is a civil engineer in the Winnipeg office with the Freight and Rail group and has over 5 years of experience. The presentation topic was about the CN Symington Yard, specifically the Group 7 expansion. They discussed the planning and design stage, railway safety procedures and grade and track construction process.

Presented by:
Bob Paetsch, Rail Design Supervisor, AECOM
Brenden Machado P.Eng, Project Engineer, AECOM
Pavankumar Malaghan, EIT , AECOM


This guest lecture featured 3 presenters from the Rail and Transit Department of WSP. The presenters discussed 4 topics during the presentation. The first was a CN train operations impact study in the city of Niagara Falls. The second topic was about CEMR Certificate of Fitness in Carman Pine Falls and Winnipeg followed by a discussion about the preliminary design of the Cando Rail Services Utopia Yard. Finally, the presenters ended with the role of the WSP's Rail and Transit engineers in the heavy rail industry of Canada.

Presented by:
Aleshia Perry, West Manager of Rail and Transit Department, WSP
Cam Tytgat, Rail Operations Specialist, WSP
Julian Sigurdson, EIT in Rail and Transit Department, WSP



At-Grade Rail Crossing Safety: Transport Canada

March 30, 2018

Presented by: Stephanie Roller, Senior Engineer, Rail Safety Operations

This guest lecture featured Stephanie Roller, who is employed with Transport Canada. She has positioned in Transport Canada as the Senior Engineer in Rail Safety Operations. The luncheon was held in corporation with ITE student chapter, providing members with the opportunity of learning current practices in the railroad industry. The lecture covered various topics related to rail safety, including rail safety mandate, roles and responsibilities, which introduced the rules, national organisational chart, functional disciplines, equipment program, and engineering inspections towards rail infrastructure, grade crossings, and signalling. Stephanie also provided students with a wide perspective over grade separation guidelines and grade crossing, which was followed by a review of a case study of an accident in Barrhaven, a suburb of Ottawa.

CP Yards Crossing Functional Design Study: Stantec

November 17, 2017

Presented by: Steven Florko, EIT at Stantec

This UMASC luncheon featured Steven Florko, an EIT at Stantec. He earned his B.Sc. degree from faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba in 2013. He has began working in his current position at Stantec Since August 2013. In this guest lecture, Steven Florko presented CPR Yards Functional Design Crossing Study. Stantec was retained by the City of Winnipeg to complete a Functional Design Crossing Study over the CPR Yards located in North West Winnipeg. The Yards were constructed in the late 1800s at the outer limits of the City. Over one hundred years later, the Yards seem to divide the North End community of Winnipeg. There are three existing crossings over the 5km long and 1km wide Yards, located along McPhillips, Arlington and Salter Streets.

Safe and Seamless Mobility at Railway Crossings: TRAINFO

October 23, 2017

Presented by: Garreth Rempel, CEO and Co-Founder at TRAINFO

This UMASC luncheon featured Garreth Rempel, the CEO and Co-Founder at TRAINFO. He earned his Ph.D. from faculty of Civil  Engineering, Transportation of University of Manitoba in 2011. He has began working in his current position at TRAINFO Since October 2016. In this guest lecture, Garreth Rempel presented TRAINFO. TRAINFO provides live train crossing information. This information is then integrated into real-time travel routing apps and enterprise fleet management software systems to help drivers avoid delays at railway crossings. Also train crossing information is collected to support transportation engineering and planning applications.

For more information on TRAINFO, please visit

Northern Rail Challenges and Opportunities: The Churchill Experience

November 15, 2016

Presented by: Al Phillips, A.J. Phillips & Associates

In this guest lecture, Al Phillips presented an engaging description of the unique factors that are addressed on a daily basis by the railway industry in northern climates. From a history of the railway in Manitoba, to economic and political challenges in northern transportation as well as technical solutions, we were exposed to a side of the industry many of us have never seen before.

The AREMA Student Chapter extends its gratitude to Al for guiding us through his world of northern rail. We have definitely gained an appreciation for the complexities and opportunities this field has to offer.

Mechanics of the Wheel-Rail Interface

January 22, 2016

Presented by: Gordon Bachinsky, President of Advanced Rail Management Corporation

The AREMA Student Chapter was pleased to host Mr. Gordon Bachinsky, president of the Advanced Rail Management Corporation. He received his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Manitoba in 1982, and has always had strong ties with our university and our Student Chapter.

His last visit was on January 22, where he taught AREMA members about the fundamentals of the wheel-rail interface and the complexities of this interaction. The AREMA Student Chapter would like to extend a big thank-you to Mr. Bachinsky for coming over to give us another great presentation. His collaboration with us is always appreciated.

Railway Regulations and Safety

November 10, 2015

Presented by Mark Conrad, P. Eng., Regional Director of Rail Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Transport Canada

The most recent UMASC luncheon featured mark Conrad, who is the Regional Director of Rail Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods at Transport Canada. Mark graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1986, with a Bachelor of Commerce and MBA in Marketing and Finance. He has a rich history of working in the railway industry and has been a Regional Director at Transport Canada since 2005.

Mark’s presentation discussed the fundamental concepts of successful transport regulations as well as the pros and cons of regulations that are “open-ended” versus “set-in-stone”. Mark also discussed the approaches to regulation development based on the predicted costs and benefits. This presentation offered a valuable perspective of the railroad industry as well as some thought-provoking information for all of us who are impacted by the regulatory environment. UMASC would like to thank Mr. Conrad for coming over to the University to deliver his presentation to the Student Chapter.

BRT Phase II and the Waverley Underpass

March 29, 2015

Presented by Bob Paetsch, P. Eng., Senior Project Manager, AECOM

This UMASC luncheon featured Bob Paetsch, a Senior Project Manager at AECOM. Bob has a wealth of experience in the railway industry, as he spent 22 years at Canadian National, spent three years in railway consulting as the President of BHR Enterprises, and has been with AECOM since 1999.

Bob’s presentation covered two recent major Winnipeg projects in the Fort Garry area – the second phase of the Bus Rapid Transit program, and the Waverley underpass project. Bob discussed some of the geometry and right-of-way issues with the BRT phase II program and how it impacts the nearby rail lines and residents. Bob also discussed the need for the various Transit line grade separations involved with the project. Additionally, Bob discussed the logistics and geometrical considerations of the Waverley underpass project from a railway perspective. He talked about the issues of surrounding businesses, drainage, and the interaction between the railway and traffic diversions. Bob also talked about the rail bridge construction phases and the reasoning behind the type of infrastructure selected for the project. UMASC would like to thank Bob for coming to the University of Manitoba to give this excellent presentation and for sharing his knowledge with the Student Chapter.

Grain Transport in Canada

February 6, 2015

Presented by: Robert Sumner, Transport Canada Policy Group

This last luncheon featured Robert Sumner, a Grain Monitor Analyst from the Transport Canada Policy Group since 2008, who was kind enough to put together a presentation discussing current grain transportation operations in Canada. From this presentation, we learned that the railways in Canada are governed by a complex and inter-connected set of policies and there are many regulations to consider. This is especially true, since there are a wide variety of track owners, train car owners, producers and clients to deliver product to and they all must work together within the system for effective operations. We learned about some of the economic and logistical aspects of grain handling/transportation, and the current state of the rolling stock involved.

UMASC would like to thank Mr. Sumner for taking the time to come to the University of Manitoba to give his presentation on behalf of the Transport Canada Policy Group. A copy of the presentation can be found here.

Railway Crossings & Provincial Highways

Presented by Diana Emerson, P. Eng., MCIP, Traffic Services Engineer, MIT

This UMASC luncheon featured Diana Emerson with the Traffic Engineering Branch at Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation. She has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of City Planning, both from the University of Manitoba. Diana has 17 years of professional experience in Transportation Engineering and City Planning, which has included positions as a Project Engineer/Planner with DS Lea Consultants Ltd., Traffic Management Engineer with the City of Winnipeg Public Works Department, and her current position with MIT. This experience has given Diana a thorough background in urban transportation planning, regional and neighborhood traffic management, highway traffic safety and operations, traffic impact studies, pedestrian safety, and active transportation.

Diana’s presentation featured information on the significance of the issues we face at at-grade railway crossings today, as well as the responsibilities of the Traffic Engineering Branch and other authorities in developing standards, identifying locations warranting repairs, and implementing those repairs. Diana also discussed current at-grade railway crossing standards in Manitoba, highlighting some of the key issues to consider.

The presentation was insightful and very informative, and the University of Manitoba AREMA Student Chapter would like to thank Diana for taking the time and effort to present this material and support the chapter. A copy of the presentation can be found Here.

Interactions at the Wheel-Rail Interface

September 17, 2014

Presented by Gordon Bachinsky, P. Eng., President of Advanced Rail Management Corporation

Gordon Bachinsky is the president of the Advanced Rail Management Corporation, with previous job experience with the Harris Corporation and with Canadian National. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Manitoba in 1982, and we are proud to have him represent our University well in the area of Railway Engineering.

In this luncheon, Gordon held a presentation on the cutting-edge developments in railway maintenance that ARM is responsible for. He outlined the need for an update in the maintenance regimes of the railway track structure and explained ARM’s advanced maintenance methods and how they allow the track structure to remain safer, for longer periods of time than in the past. This lecture helped the Student Chapter to understand the critical importance of maintenance, and the significance of the rail head in railway safety and longevity of track use.

In many ways, the procedures of Advanced Rail Management are the future of railway maintenance and we are greatful to have experienced this presentation. UMASC would like to extend a big thank you to Gord for taking the time to stop by at the University of Manitoba to give us this presentation!

Coordinating with Railroads on Large Construction Projects

Presented by Tanya Worms, P. Eng., M. Sc., AECOM

The latest luncheon hosted by UMASC featured Tanya Worms, a project manager with AECOM and a graduate of the University of Manitoba civil engineering program, with support from Keith Gerrits, manager of AECOM's Winnipeg rail division. Tanya has over 10 years of experience working in project management and has been involved in several projects that required extensive coordination and planning with railroads. Many of these projects are well known in Winnipeg including the Kenaston underpass (at the CN Rivers Subdivsion), the Perimeter overpass (at the CN Sprague Subdivision), and she is currently working on the Plessis underpass (at the CN Redditt Subdivision).

Tanay's presentation provided useful insights into the project constraints, safety considerations, and the importance of coordination between all parties involved in large-scale construction projects near railroad infrastructure. The University of Manitoba AREMA Student Chapter would like to thank both Tanya and Keith for taking time out of their (very) busy schedules to show their support for the Student Chapter. A copy of the presentation can be found here

Engineering Services at Canadian National

Presented by Shane McCartney, P.Eng., MBA, Senior Project Manager and Travis Froehlich, P.Eng., Technical Services

The end of the semester is upon us and what better way to end a successful year than to have a guest speaker luncheon – with samosas! Our last guest speaker event of the school year featured professional engineers Shane McCartney and Travis Froehlich. Mr. McCartney is Senior Project Manager and Mr. Froehlich is a Technical Services Engineer with Canadian National. They graciously took time out of their busy schedules to speak to the Student Chapter regarding what it’s like to work in Engineering Services at CN. This presentation covered an overview of the types of projects Engineering Services is involved in, such as special capital activities including yard and terminal changes, siding extensions, new customer facilities, drainage and grade stabilization projects, and other improvements to the overall CN rail network and service. Several sample projects were shown from across Western Canada along with the specific challenges faced in each project (see the powerpoint link available at the bottom of this page).

Thank you to both Shane and Travis for the presentation and, along with Kirk Luke (Manager Track Services), for sticking around after the presentation to mingle with the Student Chapter members and answer questions regarding the projects they have worked on, what it is like to work in Engineering Services at Canadian National and employment opportunities in the railway industry.

A Day in the Life of a Railway Bridge Engineer

Presented by Gody Gamboa, Canadian Pacific, Manager Structures, ES MB WEST

UMASC hosted a guest speaker luncheon with Gody Gamboa and Maxim Delisle of Canadian Pacific. Gody Gamboa, divisional structures manager with CP, gave a presentation to the student chapter on railway bridge design and what it is like to work as a bridge engineering in the ralroad industry. This presentation covered topics such as bridge safety management, performing bridge assessments and inspections, and determining load capacities (with the ever-popular Cooper's loading). This was an educational presentation, particularly for those UMASC members with an interest in structures. The Student Chapter learned common terminology and how to identify particularly safety challenges associated to bridge structural health and rail network performance. One of the main highlights from this presentation was the unique challenges that railway bridge engineers: bridge repair and deck replacement in a 6 hour time frame! Clearly railway bridge engineering is not for the feint of heart, but it definitely is a profession of creativity and advanced problem solving.

The presentation by Mr. Gamboa can be found in the links at the bottom of this page. Thank you to both our guests, Gody and Maxim, for coming out and showing their support of Canada's first AREMA Student Chapter in Canadian Pacific's second visit and presentation to UMASC.

Railway Engineering Consulting & the Grain Industry

Presented by Bob Paetsch, AECOM, Sr. Project Manager - Freight Rail, Canada West

To kick off the Winter Semester, UMASC hosted a guest speaker luncheon with a presentation provided by Bob Paetsch, a senior project manager in the AECOM freight rail division. Mr. Paetsch spoke about work a consulting firm does in the railroad sector, including their work with Class 1 railways, industrial and mining corporations, and the short lines. He provided an excellent framework for the type of work performed such as upgrading infrastructure, providing industrial connections, design of new transload facilities, and performing inspections and safety assessments. To provide a practical application of the type of work being done right here in Manitoba and the prairies, Mr. Paetsch gave an overview of grain elevator developments and the work required to provide rail service to the high throughput terminals. The student chapter had the opportunity to learn about the benefits and limitations of different track layouts, how to meet the needs of clients, and the infrastructure and operations of grain terminal rail facilities.

The University of Manitoba AREMA Student Chapter would like to thank Bob Paetsch and his colleague, Brendan Machado, for coming to speak with the Chapter and we look forward to future involvement with the AECOM rail group.


Student Chapter  Meet-and-Greet: Life on the Railroad

by Tim Yamashita, Canadian Pacific, General Manager - Engineering, Central Region

Mr. Tim Yamashita took time out of his busy schedule to come speak to the Student Chapter about what it is like to have a career in the railway industry. The presentation included an overview of his career and experiences with Canadian Pacific. Tim has had a very successful career, starting in Toronto about 20 years ago, and has seen and lived in most of Canada and a portion of the United States through his work with CP. Tim also informed the Student Chapter about what working for the railroads is all about, including highs and lows of the industry that can require relocation, middle-of-the-night phone calls, and working on unique projects. It's an industry in the midst of change and there are a lot of opportunities for young engineers who like the adrenaline rush of solving problems on the fly. Furthermore, Mr. Yamashita presented the Student Chapter with not just, one, but two, historical maps of the Canadian Pacific Railway outlining every line and its associated charter. See below for a picture of our President, Mark Reimer, and mentor, Jim Bertrand, holding up the 3'x10' historical map of Western Canada! Look for these maps to be up on the wall outside of the Transport Information Groups office (Room E2-327) in the coming weeks. On behalf of the Student Chapter, we would like to thank Mr. Yamashita for his, and CPRs, support of the UoM AREMA Student Chapter.

Western Canada CPR Historical Map

Operation Lifesaver Infosession

By Alex Allen, Safety Programs Promotion Officer at Transport Canada and Constable Paul Leaden, CN Police Service

This event was to educate the student chapter on what Operation Lifesaver(OL) does and how we, as a chapter, could get involved with the organization. OL looks to save lives by educating Canadians about the dangers associated with railroads and teach them how to safely interact with railroad infrastructure. They focus on the three Es: education, enforcement, and engineering. A copy of the presentation can be found in the files section at the bottom of this page. Thank you to Alex and Cst. Leaden for taking time out of their busy schedule to come educate the student chapter on the topic of railroads and safety education.

Student Chapter Meet-and-Greet: Overview of Canadian Railroads

By Jim Bertrand, Transport Canada, Railway Works Engineer

Thanks to Jim Bertrand, from Transport Canada Prairie and Northern Region, for coming out to meet the student chapter, giving us an overview of his career in the industry, and providing insights into the Canadian railroad development. This was an informal presentation with no powerpoint slides - so sorry if you couldn't make it out. The discussion focused around the privatization and development of CN railroads in the mid-1990s and the purchase of Illinois Central. This has been a key acquisition for CN as it has given them access to the Gulf of Mexico - making CN the only east-west and north-south railroad. Mr. Bertrand has also taken it upon himself to help promote the Student Chapter and connect us with industry professionals. Thanks to everyone who came out and made this event a success!

Building Canada's Three Transcontinental Railways and Development of Branchlines

By Dr. Ted Regehr, PhD

A big thank-you goes to our first Guest Lecture: Dr. Ted Regehr. Dr. Regehr is a historian and considered a leading authority on Western Canadian history in the areas of railroads, Canadian business, and Mennonites. UMASC invited him to give a lecture on the history and development of the transcontinental rail network in Canada - which he kindly accepted and presented on September 24th. You can find a copy of the presentation and audio in the file list at the bottom of this page. 

We hope you enjoy his presentation and if you have any questions or comments regarding this lecture, feel free to contact us.

2012_09_24 Ted Regehr Seminar.MP3
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Nov 29, 2016, 9:21 AM
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Jun 1, 2018, 9:45 AM
Sep 29, 2016, 11:33 AM
Dec 24, 2018, 6:07 PM