Dr. Hoda ElMaraghy awarded Ontario’s highest honour

A UWindsor professor and trailblazer for female engineers has received Ontario’s highest official honour for her leadership and innovative research that has changed the manufacturing landscape worldwide.

Dr. Hoda ElMaraghy was one of 25 new appointees invested into the Order of Ontario on Jan. 20, 2016 at Queen’s Park. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a high level of excellence and achievement in any field benefiting the people of Ontario and elsewhere. Flanked on stage by doctors, nurses, humanitarians, artists and former politicians, ElMaraghy was the sole engineer honoured.

“It makes me feel proud,” ElMaraghy said. “In Ontario, there are more than 70,000 professional engineers. They should appoint more engineers.”

ElMaraghy said often, when advances are made — like a person landing on the moon or a supersonic aircraft takes flight — engineering is left out of the spotlight.

“Without amazing engineering work, those feats could not have happened,” ElMaraghy said. “We need to encourage young women and men to become engineers. It’s a career that opens a lot of doors and equips students with transferable skills.”

And ElMaraghy’s track record is proof. The Egyptian native became the first Canadian woman to earn a doctorate in mechanical engineering. In 1994, the University of Windsor appointed ElMaraghy dean of engineering, making her the first woman in Canada to receive the title. Now, she is a Canada Research Chair in Manufacturing Systems and professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering.

During her UWindsor career, ElMaraghy founded and is currently director of the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Centre. Her research on flexible manufacturing has helped manufacturers around the world adapt and respond to market changes by allowing companies to produce different products with the same flexible manufacturing system. Her current research on adaptable and reconfigurable systems will be a game changer. This modular system can help companies scale their production and change products quickly avoiding the high costs associated with plant shut downs and reprogramming.

In addition to her pioneering research, ElMaraghy is a fellow of the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and the International Academy for Production Engineering, as well as a senior member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Appointments to the Order of Ontario are made on the recommendation of an independent advisory council based on public nominations. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the award.

“The Order of Ontario recognizes exemplary service of the highest calibre,” said lieutenant governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell. “From breaking ground in advances in health care, to speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves, to nourishing our souls through art and music, they have served this province with dedication and generosity. To them we are grateful.”