University of Calgary: UCalgary Pipeline Engineering Centre receives boost from industry group

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Founded in 1993, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) has for the past 28 years served as a non-partisan voice in the pipeline sector, promoting safety, sustainability and innovation. And while they may have closed their doors late last year, as its membership of pipeline companies moved in different directions, CEPA’s legacy lives on at the University of Calgary, in the form of a gift supporting the Pipeline Engineering Centre and a new endowed scholarship.

“When considering the best place to house CEPA’s legacy, we looked at several options, including member companies and other post-secondary institutions,” says Chris Bloomer, CEPA’s outgoing president and CEO. “I have to give kudos to the University of Calgary, who came back to us with a very deliberate and focused plan that really captured what we were trying to do.”

That plan included a gift to the Schulich School of Engineering’s Pipeline Engineering Centre (PEC), a one-of-a-kind advanced pipeline innovation and research laboratory that crosses all departments in the school. Established in 2003, PEC has since grown into a leader in pipeline integrity, maintenance and management, new pipeline technologies, and pipeline project management. CEPA’s $865,000 gift to PEC will help advance pipeline engineering through its three core areas: education, research and knowledge.

“The Pipeline Engineering Centre is a perfect example of transdisciplinary teaching and scholarship at the University of Calgary,” says Bill Rosehart, PhD, dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. “Before the centre was established, pipeline engineering research within the school had been somewhat fragmented. PEC consolidates that activity, bringing together faculty researchers, graduate students and industry partners to solve pipeline industry challenges.”

That model of collaboration fits well with CEPA’s values, says Dean Liollio, CEPA’s outgoing board chair. “It’s all about member companies and their employees bringing together the very best of what the industry has to offer, from policies and procedures to new technologies. By learning from each other, from our successes and challenges, we’ve created the very best pipeline system in Canada.”

To maintain that top-tier status, CEPA is committed to attracting the very best to the industry. That’s where the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association Legacy Award comes in. The scholarship, endowed with a further $250,000 from CEPA, supports students working in the areas of pipeline development, engineering, integrity, safety, policy and transformation.

“We all depend on energy, and so bringing the best and brightest to the industry is an issue for everybody,” says Bloomer, who adds that the scholarship is an investment in the next generation and promotes diversity in the industry by attracting a wider pool of applicants who might not otherwise pursue pipeline engineering.

Liollio agrees, noting that the increasing focus on sustainability and green initiatives is critical to younger generations. “We want to set up the next generation for success, to make the industry better than where we left it, and this gift takes us in that direction.”

The investment in PEC and the new scholarship will indeed open doors for students, enriching their university experience and giving them a leg up in their careers.

“Scholarships and bursaries have a huge differential impact on students,” says Rosehart. “We tell our students to not only learn everything they can in their academic programs, but also from getting involved with groups and activities outside the classroom, such as clubs and field trips. Student awards really empower them to take advantage of some incredible experiential learning opportunities while excelling in their academic studies.”

Likewise, CEPA’s gift to PEC delivers so much more than financial support, adds Rosehart. “It’s not just the funding, it’s the engagement that comes with it. It’s the co-creation of new and innovative ways to teach students or advance discovery. If you look across our faculty and the University of Calgary as a whole, many of these initiatives — like the Pipeline Engineering Centre — have their roots in philanthropy.”

It’s a win-win for CEPA, ensuring their legacy lives on through research and education — with a partner just as committed to excellence in the pipeline industry. CEPA will also continue to foster engagement and connection between pipeline engineering students, industry members and key stakeholders from the university with an annual dinner to cultivate conversation and highlight key initiatives and future activities for the pipeline centre.

As for the University of Calgary, CEPA’s gift further validates PEC and the important work coming out of the centre.

“The pipeline centre has been active for nearly 20 years and has had tremendous impact in our community and across Canada,” says Rosehart. “At the end of the day, it’s an industry leader for a reason.”

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