Read the full media release.
FortisBC Inc., together with Selkirk College and Austin Engineering Inc., are winners
of the Clean Energy BC ‘Operational Excellence’ award, which will be presented at the Clean
Energy BC Generate 2017 Conference in Vancouver later this month.
The award is being given for their unique partnership that has developed innovative
solutions to support the future operations of one of FortisBC’s ‘extreme consequence’ dams, as
well as build opportunities and access for Selkirk College students to work with industry.
Austin Engineering works closely with students at Selkirk College to develop 3D printed
models of FortisBC’s Corra Linn dam, an ‘extreme consequence’ dam on the Kootenay River.
Students have access to Austin Engineering’s dedicated research and development lab, as well as
their office, to create 3D printed models and schematics of the dam that FortisBC then uses for
future work planning, improved stakeholder engagement, evaluating cost effective solutions and
developing improved environmental outcomes for their facility operations.
“It is tremendously exciting to expand Austin Engineering’s services in the 3D printing
and hydraulic modelling of dams with FortisBC and Selkirk College”, says Mary Austin,
Director of Business Development at Austin Engineering. “We are so proud to receive Clean
Energy BC’s Operational Excellence Award and look forward to continuing our work together
with this great team”.
This partnership is bridging gaps between education and industry, and providing state-ofthe-art
innovative solutions for a large hydropower company through a local engineering
company – a first of its kind in Canada.
“We are happy that FortisBC, Selkirk College and Austin Engineering are being
recognized for this cutting-edge project”, says Darren McElhinney, Senior Project Manager,
Generation, FortisBC Inc. “This technology provides real-time modelling of the Corra Linn dam
against numerous factors, which is a powerful tool in portraying project concepts and details to
diverse audiences. Our team believes that 3D modelling is a cost-effective and innovative
method that can be used on projects from concept through to completion, and we are excited to
see how it develops”.
Jason Taylor, Selkirk College Instructor says, “Applied Research at Selkirk College has
benefited tremendously from this project. Working with such a great team of industry partners
and having our student, Ben Marken, play such an important roll has been truly inspiring”.
Instructional Dean, Rhys Andrews echoes those sentiments and says, “It is a great honour to
receive Clean Energy BC’s Operational Excellence Award”.
As a student working with the team, Ben says, “I’ve gained valuable skills partnering
with Austin Engineering, FortisBC, and Selkirk College. Being able to contribute to projects
beyond the scope of school assignments has been an amazing and rewarding challenge. I’m
excited to be a part of what comes next”.
Austin Engineering is further advancing this idea by collaborating with Applied
Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Structures (ALAMS) at UBC’s Okanagan campus where
shake table tests will be conducted on 3D printed and digitally fabricated gravity dams to
determine the potential damage during seismic events, and to identify critical locations for
possible retrofitting. Dr. Shahria Alam of UBC says “he is excited to collaborate with Austin
Engineering where our graduate students will be exposed to real world research problems in
identifying the critical locations for seismic retrofitting of a concrete dam”.
Contact: Mary Austin
Director of Business Development, Austin Engineering
Cell: (250) 231-7368
Office: (250) 448-7525
Tanya Laing Gahr
Corporate Communications Advisor, FortisBC