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Robert T. E. Gillespie

Throughout his more than 40 years with General Electric Canada, Engineer Robert (Bob) Gillespie has been a strong force of change in business in Canada and has contributed to building and strengthening the engineering profession. His career started with designing strategic post-war communication systems. Now, as chair and CEO, Gillespie describes his job as a coach of the team, to ensure that Canadian businesses can operate “in a manner that’s as free and uncoupled as possible, so that they can grow and develop – while at the same time ensuring that there is a level of consistency and behaviour that is appropriate as part of General Electric.” He has witnessed innovation in manufacturing and been instrumental in spearheading the company’s success during periods of social, economic and political change. Under Gillespie’s leadership, GE Canada’s operations successfully demonstrated its unique Canadian expertise and enabled the Canadian operations to remain profitable during recessionary times. In his service to the engineering profession, Bob has been just as diligent. In his over 40 years of service, he continually brought this same level of professionalism and leadership to Professional Engineers Ontario, where he led PEO’s Discipline and Enforcement Task Force through its extensive review of one of the association’s core functions. This task force, which met 31 times over two years, made 67 recommendations for improvement in eight areas, and is considered to have set PEO’s direction and course since 1991. Gillespie was PEO president in 1994-95. In recognition of this contribution, he was made a Companion of the Order of Honour in 1998. Gillespie also has a long record of service to Canadian business and the greater public, for which he has been honoured. He received the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers’ Gold Medal Award in 1999, and was the same year named “Canada’s International Executive of the Year” by the Canadian Council for International Business. He has served as Chairman of the Canadian Council for International Business, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA International), and the Electrical and Electronic Manufacturer’s Association now the Electro-Federation Canada (EFC), as well as serving as a Director of several public companies. His community leadership activities include serving as a Director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, a board trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum, and a member of the Team Canada Inc. Advisory Board. He is a past chair of both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Credit Valley Hospital. Robert Gillespie, P.Eng has elevated the engineering profession by combining outstanding leadership in Canadian business, excellence in engineering, and a lifelong commitment to public service. For this dedication, Professional Engineers Ontario is proud to honour him with its most distinguished award, the Gold Medal.