Embarking on a new path, PEO Registrar Gerard McDonald, MBA, P.Eng., is leaving Ontario’s engineering regulator in February to take on the top administrative position at Engineers Canada in Ottawa.
In an announcement made just days before the Christmas break, McDonald said he decided to accept the Engineers Canada offer after much soul-searching. An Ottawa resident who commuted to PEO each week during his four years at the PEO helm, McDonald is looking forward to returning to the nation’s capital.
McDonald will take over for Stephanie Price, P.Eng., who was appointed interim CEO at Engineers Canada in January 2017.
McDonald, who came to PEO in January 2014, formerly served as assistant deputy minister of safety and security at Transport Canada. He came out of retirement to take on the PEO role.
He becomes the second PEO head to take over at Engineers Canada. Kim Allen, P.Eng., FEC, who served as PEO registrar from 2003 to 2012, was head of Engineers Canada until his departure in January 2017.
In a December 19, 2017 note to PEO employees, McDonald said, “It is truly with mixed emotions I am writing today to inform you that I have today been offered, and have accepted, the position of CEO at Engineers Canada.”
He said the decision was not motivated by a desire to leave PEO but instead to continue to meaningfully contribute to the engineering profession while more conveniently addressing his personal realities.
“Indeed, my past four years here have been very fulfilling and satisfying,” he added. “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together and excited about the groundwork we have laid for what lies ahead for the organization. I want to thank all of you for the support and friendship you have shown me over my tenure. It is very much appreciated.”
PEO President Bob Dony, PhD, P.Eng., FEC, sent a note to members on behalf of Council wishing McDonald well in his new position and said they will have multiple opportunities to collaborate in the years to come.
“Some say the mark of a good leader is that they leave an organization stronger than when they arrived,” said Dony. “Under Gerard’s tenure, I truly believe this to be the case for PEO. While his replacement will have big shoes to fill, he has laid the groundwork for his successor’s success. We wish him well in his new position—and look forward to his continued service to the profession.”
Dony and the rest of PEO Council will work with McDonald to recommend an interim registrar for a decision by PEO’s Executive Committee at its January 16 meeting, and the Human Resources Committee will begin the process for the search to hire a permanent replacement.
McDonald’s last day at PEO is February 6 and he will begin work at Engineers Canada February 12.
In a December 19 statement, Engineers Canada President Russ Kinghorn, MBA, P.Eng., FEC, described McDonald as a seasoned senior executive with a proven track record of achieving strategic focus and developing collaborative relationships. One of McDonald’s top priorities will be to enhance collaboration between Engineers Canada and the country’s 12 engineering regulators as well as governments and other stakeholders.