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Life of Canadian PI by Ethel Clemente Fernandez

Swan song

by Ethel Clemente-Fernandez 

  FMC-Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba Execom 2014-2015 (not in photo - May Jonson)
 
FMC-Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba Execom 2014-2015
(not in photo - May Jonson)
“We don’t meet people for a reason, they are meant to cross our path for a reason.” – unknown

On March 12, 2016 the FMC-Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba held its second annual general meeting and technical presentations. It was the last event organized by the outgoing chapter executive officers.

For the past couple of years, I was given the opportunity to serve the chapter, along with seven passionate individuals, whom I met in different circumstances.

Of the seven, I have known May Jonson the longest. She was one of four female kababayans who got accepted to the ninth cohort of the IEEQ, and I believe I came to know her better when we got stuck in a queue to get our student ID. Though her discipline is in Civil Engineering and I was then transitioning from Electronics to Industrial, we managed to get together in four classes. Our bond was strengthened by frequent trips to coffee shops to get our fill of caffeine-laden drinks to survive those early morning classes. May was actively involved with IT committee and was the go-to designer for event tickets and posters.

During my first year back at the university, I made a conscious decision to take the bus every single day. It may not have been time-efficient, but I have a few good experiences from it. Meeting new people being one of them. It is in one of these bus rides that I got to know Alen Joson. He was also in the IEEQ program but in a different cohort. I can’t exactly remember who said something first (most probably me) and what we talked about (most probably about IEEQ and mature students’ problems). His cooperation and full support to the chapter is very evident as he always has something to say whether he was present at the meeting or not; his presence is felt with his witty comments and suggestions. He would not only volunteer himself, but would also gleefully volunteer his wife at every chapter event.

I remember Angelito Velasco speaking at a chapter event in 2012, where he shared his inspirational story of being a casting operator to becoming a manager and how he worked towards getting his professional designation in Manitoba. When we were elected as members of the executive committee (Execom), there was no doubt in my mind that he would be the next chapter president. I was right and he turned out to be a very able and accommodating leader.

One fine Monday afternoon in the summer of 2013, 79 chapter members received an e-mail with a three-letter subject that read “PPE.” My inbox preview showcased a rare display of patriotism with this opening line, “Dear kapuwa ko Pinoy Inhinyero, Binabalak ko pong kunin…” And so without hesitation, I opened my mail where, aside from getting goose bumps, my eyes feasted on deep Filipino words. The e-mail was about a call for a group study on the National Professional Practice Exam (NPPE). The sender quickly earned my respect and so even if I was still undecided at the time, I responded to his call. Norman Garcia, is the epitome of a true blue Filipino. I went to a few review sessions with the group formed through that call. Though I did not take the exam at the time, the review did not go to waste as it certainly prepared me when I did. He was the muscle of the Execom, promoting sports and health in every way he could. He formed the first, and so far the only, but hopefully, not the last, Manitoba Marathon relay team of the chapter.

From that group review session, I met Nancy Santoyo, whom I fondly call “ate Nanz.” Her hard work and strong support for the chapter is evident throughout – from planning, preparation and actual execution of ideas, you bet she would be there. She even stepped in to co-host one of the events when no one was available to do so. Indeed a true show of dedication.

I could not recall when I first met Edwin Yazon, but when I did, I instantly noticed him exuding enthusiasm and positivity, which came in handy when tapped to host gatherings. His extensive social and business skills brought invaluable know-how to brainstorming sessions. And while he’s also busy with his full-time job and businesses, he also keeps tabs on all the chapter’s records as the Vice-President for Communications.

When we assumed positions for the Execom, the majority of the members were Engineers-in-Training. Edgar Duroni was one of only two professional engineers at the time, making him the Vice-President and President-in-waiting. He was shy, quiet and reserved, but witty and unassuming. Though his frequent business trips prevented him from attending some of our meetings, he would make up for it by assuming some of the roles needed for chapter events.

It has been a great pleasure to work alongside each of them, who, in one way or another, contributed to the success and growth of the chapter.

On behalf of the Filipino Members Chapter, I would like to say thank you for all the time spent at every meeting, which, not only developed new ideas, but also developed into fast friendships. I look forward to seeing you flourish in your respective professional careers and continued involvement with the chapter.

Ethel Clemente-Fernandez is a professional engineer registered in the province of Manitoba. She is an active member of the Filipino Members Chapter - Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (FMC-APEGM)

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