Hannah Schell, P.Eng., a sessional instructor for CivMin and long-time collaborator for concrete research projects with CivMin, has been named this year’s recipient of the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL) Leadership Award.
Schell is being honoured for her contributions to the development of engineering standards for concrete in highway infrastructure construction, rehabilitation, and testing, as well as her leadership in encouraging the partnership of industry stakeholders. She is retiring at the end of May, after a long career with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO).
For most of her time at MTO, Schell was Head of its Concrete Section in the Materials and Engineering Research Office (MERO) where she directed a group of expert engineers and technicians responsible for developing ministry-specific technical standards and specifications for public infrastructure in Ontario, troubleshooting concrete performance and testing issues, and incorporating new products and technologies in MTO construction and quality assurance operations
She has been a sessional instructor at CivMin for more than a decade, teaching CIV1252 Infrastructure Renewal, save for 2020 during the pandemic. Schell has also maintained a lengthy professional collaborative relationship with the Department. “When I was working, I was involved with research projects the Ministry of Transportation funded at the University of Toronto,” she says. “I worked with Professor Daman Panesar, Professor Doug Hooton , and Professor Karl Peterson on research projects for many years, all for MTO.”
“Given concrete durability is really my particular area for the testing, in terms of developing new test methods and making sure testing is accurate for construction materials specifically, it was an ideal match here at U of T,” she remarks.
Mindful of having made an impact throughout her career in this area, she says, “I guess having worked so long at MTO, and in the concrete field for so long, the opportunity to see research projects we worked on for in-house demonstrations, and field projects that we worked on come to fruition. Seeing the result of those research projects be incorporated into standards used for infrastructure throughout Ontario, that’s a real long-term highlight.”
“For more than 40 years, Ms. Schell has been a driving force in fostering consultation and collaboration between government and the private sector. This partnership approach has allowed us to work together in ensuring that we have the highest standards for concrete construction, materials, and testing methods, and that our highways are among the safest, most durable and best performing in the world,” said Trevor Gluck, P. Eng., President of CCIL “We are fortunate to have had her leadership and counsel.”
Schell is an avid traveler, visiting 60 countries so far with hopes to see more during her retirement. She is married, the mother of two children (a computer engineer and a photographer), and very recently became a first-time grandmother to a grandson.
Schell received the 2022 Leadership Award at CCIL’s Annual General Meeting, Monday, May 2, in Toronto.
By Phill Snel
CCIL represents the independent, private-sector laboratories in Canada. Operating more than 460 laboratory facilities across the country, members provide a broad array of testing services that help protect the health and safety of Canadians.