Barry Bisson   2005 UNB Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Professor Bisson joined the University of New Brunswick in January 1983 as an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering.  He came to UNBF after spending 7 years with Transport Canada and completing his MBA at Harvard University.  Beyond his teaching and supervision duties, he also assumed the role of Co-ordinator of the Department’s Transportation Engineering Group — one of the Faculty’s leading research units.  Beyond his work in the Faculty of Engineering, he was also involved as an advisor to Ross Ventures and began a long relationship with Shad International and its programs for youth.


In 1994, Barry was selected to succeed Prof. Allan MacLean as the J. Herbert Smith Chair in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (TME) in the Faculty of Engineering.  This is UNBF’s wealthiest endowed chair, with very high expectations in terms in internal teaching and external outreach activities.  Although Prof. MacLean’s shoes were big ones to fill, it has been in this role that Prof. Bisson has truly shone in terms of innovations in education, university leadership, and community outreach.


In terms of teaching and research, he has worked tirelessly on overhauling the existing TME program and introducing new courses, moving much of the program onto the Web.  In 2000, he secured ISO 9001 certification for the TME Centre — a major accomplishment for a university-based unit.  In 2003, he successfully collaborated with Innovatia Inc., UNBSJ and NRC’s Institute for Information Technology in securing a $4.3-million project aimed at developing the next generation of e-learning products and services.  During the 2003-04 academic year, he created and managed an exciting new partnership with Dalhousie and Memorial universities for co-operative online delivery of an entrepreneurship course for students at all three universities.


In terms of university leadership, he has acted as Director of the UNBF Shad Valley Program in 1985, 1986, and 1998-present, and has been a member of the Board of Directors for INCUTECH and Enterprise UNB since 1994.  From 1997 to 1999, he played a leading facilitation role as a vocal and active member of UNB’s Renewal Task Force and Renewal Process Design Team, and was a member of Renaissance College Steering Committee established in 1999.  Most recently, Prof. Bisson was a key member of the team responsible for organizing UNB’s 150th Anniversary of Engineering events in February 2004, and played the lead role in organizing — and helping to finance — the Symposium on the Future of Engineering Education in Canada held at UNBF this past February.


It is perhaps in the area of community outreach that Barry Bisson deserves the most recognition.  Over the years, he has been an active ambassador for UNB with the United Way Campaign, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists for the Province of New Brunswick, and the Shad Valley Program.  He was recently elected to the UNB Board of Governors and has served as a Director of the Greater Fredericton Economic Development Corporation, the New Brunswick Training Group, Inc., and Shad International.  Effective early next year, he will be taking early retirement from UNB to assume the role of President of Shad International and continuing his leadership in enriching the education of some of Canada’s most gifted teenagers.


Professor Barry Bisson commands the respect of his colleagues and his students, his service to the university has been outstanding, and he has been an excellent ambassador for UNB across Canada and beyond.  He truly exemplifies the spirit of the UNB Distinguished Service Award.


Presented by David Coleman

Dean of Engineering

March 23, 2005