2019 Recipient

The 2019 Association of Consulting Engineering Companies - Saskatchewan (ACEC-SK) Mentor Award recipient is Don C.K. Poon, P.Eng., C.Eng., Eur.Ing., MICE, CMC, CCCA, F.ASCE.

Don was born in Hong Kong and moved to Saskatoon in 1974. After graduating from Evan Hardy Collegiate, he attended the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and convocated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Civil) degree. 

In 1980, Don began working at the predecessor firm of SAL Engineering Ltd. in Saskatoon and he accepted the position of Managing Director in 1990. He currently participates in both engineering and project management with the firm. 

While Don’s experience and contributions to the engineering industry are enormous and impressive, Don remains approachable. He has maintained a consistent open-door policy for all staff and encourages office-wide discussions and learning through a culture of openness and team work. Any time Don encounters an interesting situation, the entire office benefits from the ensuing account of the lessons learned.

Don loves to answer questions with questions and, quite often, guides his mentees to resolve their challenges by guiding them through their own thought-patterns and ideas. This requires greater effort and time for him, but the result is true teaching, rather than simple direction.

Part of Don’s mentorship has been to build a sense of inclusiveness at his firm. Through hiring and promoting female engineers, Don has shown that women have a place in this industry and will never be treated otherwise at his firm. His indirect mentorship by example has contributed greatly to his firm and to this industry.

Don’s mentorship is never from a sense of obligation. It is born from a connection to his mentees, a true care for the future of the profession, and a natural kindness. He has guided his senior staff from university convocation to exciting and rewarding careers as the current leaders in the firm and he has taught them to do the same for those starting out today.

One of the first messages Don conveys to his mentees is that his mentorship is not only work-training, but it is life-training. He is dedicated to the intellectual and personal growth of all the individuals he mentors. He often advises his mentees that soon people in their lives will start to come to them for help with all manner of tasks because we are building confident, capable people who are able to identify requirements and figure out how to meet them. We are grateful to Don for helping make us the “go-to” people in the lives of our families and friends.
Not only does Don recognize when a mentee is ready to take on more responsibility and work more independently, but he also sees when that mentee is ready to become a mentor. His impact becomes far-reaching by teaching his mentees to become teachers themselves. In doing so, we continue to build on experience and lessons learned.

Don has provided mentorship to countless engineering students, SAL Engineering Ltd. staff, colleagues in the industry, clients, community organizations, and sports teams.

Don enjoys connecting with people and he cares about their successes. This blends with a long history of valuable experience in his field to create a mentor that is truly outstanding. SAL Engineering Ltd. and the engineering community have benefitted greatly from Don’s time as an engineer and they will continue to benefit from Don’s longstanding commitment to mentoring the engineers of the future.

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