Distinguished Award Recipients 2018
2018 Outstanding Student Leadership Award
Engineering Technologist, McElhanney
Civil Engineering '18
As a child living in Iran, Moshtagh Mohammadi lived in constant fear. Although Iran is home to one of the world’s largest Bahá’i populations and where the faith originated, people of the Bahá’i faith in that country have been persecuted for more than 35 years. It is this persecution—which includes false imprisonment, torture, execution, and denial of civil rights—that prompted Moshtagh’s father to flee Iran in 2002, with then nine-year-old Moshtagh and his younger brother.
They landed in Turkey, where they lived as refugees before Canada accepted the Mohammadis 17 months later. As new immigrants to Canada, life was not easy. His father worked hard to make ends meet while Moshtagh, struggled to learn English, make friends and to understand the subjects being taught in class. But, in math, he excelled.
In 2004, Moshtagh met McElhanney’s John Sorenson (an alumnus of the first graduating class of BCIT’s Civil Engineering program), who introduced him to the career possibility of civil engineering. For Moshtagh’s Grade 11 school work experience requirement, Sorenson mentored Moshtagh on a water drainage project for a regional airport. It was a project that required a lot of applied mathematics, and Moshtagh was hooked.
Moshtagh chose BCIT for its hands-on learning, and completed his Diploma in Civil Engineering Technology in June. He is the first in his family to receive a post-secondary education, as Bahá’is are denied access to higher education in Iran. Moshtagh received the Marshall J. Heinekey Civil Engineering Award. During his studies, he served as Chair for the Schools of Transportation, Construction and the Environment with the BCIT Student Association, co-hosted the Student Space Challenge Design contest with the Architectural Connections club, served on the organizing committee for the Western Engineering Competition; and was a finalist in BCIT’s Presentation Idol competition. Moshtagh is also an active volunteer in the Bahá’i community, through the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program, mentoring youth in New Westminster and Burnaby.
Moshtagh graduated in June, and was hired by McElhanney in August, as an Engineering Technologist.
2018 Faculty and Staff Association Distinguished Alumni Award
Part-Time Studies Instructor, BCIT Forensics; Forensic Nurse Examiner, Fraser Health Authority
Registered Nurse '12, Nursing, BSN '14
Tara Wilkie – a Part-Time Studies (PTS) Instructor in BCIT Forensics and a practicing Forensic Nurse – was nominated for her knowledge, expertise, and education in the human trafficking component of forensic nursing in addition to the criteria for the award. Tara’s knowledge has contributed to the work of Fraser Health Authority through the development of a human trafficking awareness model for BC and the CBC has spoken to her about the ‘epidemic’ of human trafficking.
Sheila Early, Tara’s nominator, had this to say:
“Tara’s qualities include responsibility for her ethical professional practice, integrity to uphold the standards of her profession, strong work ethic to support her colleagues as well as her community, her province, her country. She is also globally aware of the devastating effects of violence in our global world.
Tara has taken a small segment of health care (human trafficking) and made an enormous and unique contribution the knowledge base of health care providers, law enforcement, justice system not only in the Lower Mainland but provincially and nationally. She is a recognized expert in this area. She has educated many individuals in the Forensic Health Sciences course on human trafficking making all her colleagues aware of the dangers and effects of human trafficking.”
FSA Members had a chance to hear Tara speak at their Oct 2017 General Meeting on a member panel. They had a chance to hear about the importance of her work – not only in industry, but also within the educational environment here at BCIT.
The FSA president has attempted to shine a spotlight on all their members – including those working in (PTS) and it is a great honour to join the FSA board in honouring Tara for her accomplishments, her dedication to education and practice, and her commitment to a better world.
“BCIT has been my foundation for 17 years, and it’s here I am encouraged to create change to help those most in need. My growth is attributed to the incredible BCIT instructors and faculty, and my Forensic colleagues who have mentored me along the way. My strength and perseverance comes from my patients, who inspire me daily to be a better person. Thank you for this recognition.” -- Tara Wilkie
2018 BCIT Distinguished Alumni Awards
Founder and CEO, Awesense, Inc.
Electronics - Wireless Communication & Computer Networks '03
Mischa Steiner is the founder and CEO of Awesense, a Vancouver-based clean tech success story. Steiner has now expanded Awesense across the globe, reaching new heights in its efforts to save energy for their customers while significantly combating climate change.
Awesense’s mission is to optimize humanity’s largest machine - the electrical grid. By harnessing the power of big data, IoT, and AI, Awesense helps electric utilities optimize and modernize the electrical distribution grid by reducing avoidable electricity losses due to existing inefficiency, reduce outages, forecast and plan for the future grid of tomorrow.
Avoidable electricity losses cost utilities an estimated $200B/year globally and they are responsible for 1.2 trillion tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions. To date, Awesense has saved over 800,000 tonnes of CO2, and in the process identified how to reduce the need for traditional power generation and modernize the grid for the future of renewables.
Awesense received the BCIC-New Ventures 2011 Sustainability Award, was the highest ranked Cleantech company in Deloitte’s Fast50 in 2017, and GE’s Innovation Award in 2018. And for several years in a row, has also been recognized as a Top 100 Cleantech Company.
Mr. Steiner is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry conferences, university programs and government events on smart cities, clean economy, AI and the innovation potential of technology to transform business and society. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Victoria, and a Diploma, Electronics - Wireless Communication & Computer Networks from BCIT in 2003.
Mr. Steiner is an innovator. He is a great example to students and alumni of the global impact of a BCIT education, pioneering solutions for complex problems.