McParland Memorial Award


McParland Memorial Award for Excellence in Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability

For excellence in maintenance engineering and reliability in the minerals industry

Origins & Conditions


Donald J. McParland was a founding member of CIM's Mechanical-Electrical Division and its first chairman. After obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto, McParland joined Rio Algom and was recruited to lead the Churchill Falls power plant project, the second largest plant in Canada. He accepted the position of vice-president of Brinco – though he did not know much about electrical engineering at the time – and eventually became president and CEO. He was touring the country as a Distinguished Lecturer for CIM, concentrating his efforts on the small isolated Branches of the Institute, when a plane crash in Labrador City ended his life on Nov. 11, 1969. The McParland Memorial Award for Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability was established soon after, in 1972.

The McParland Memorial Award criteria and other information:

  1. The McParland Memorial Award for Excellence in Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability is awarded for outstanding performance in the minerals industry in the field of mechanical, electrical or civil engineering design, general plant design, project engineering and/or management of mine plants. The award may also recognize innovations in mine plant installations or in operating and maintenance methods. Major improvements in equipment used in the mining industry or the development of new types of equipment by engineers in the equipment manufacturing industry will also qualify.
  2. The award is to be presented from time to time as conditions warrant, but not more than one award shall be made in any given year.
  3. All nominations must be accompanied by a brief description of the meritorious contribution and its value to the mineral industry. A biographical sketch of the recommended candidate is also to be given.
  4. The award shall be adjudicated by the Awards Committee of the Maintenance/Engineering Division, which includes the Division Chairman and the Past Chairman remaining on the Executive Committee.
  5. The recommendation of the M/E Awards Committee is to be sent to the CIM Chief Executive Officer for consideration and approval of CIM Council.
  6. The members of the Awards Committee shall not be party to the nomination of any candidate.
  7. When reasonably possible, the recipient shall be expected to receive the Award in person at the annual CIM Convention following the announcement of the Award, or at such other place and time agreeable to the CIM Council.
  8. The award can be made to any person in Canada, or elsewhere.


There is only one recipient of this award every year. This award is solely for individual nominations (no teams).

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Steve Courchesne

Steve Courchesne was introduced to the mining sector when he joined Wire Rope Industries, now Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group, in 1976. Steve gathered experience working on the shop floor, quality assurance, R&D, technical services, and the mining department. This experience led to several interesting site visits to oversee and troubleshoot projects in Canada, USA, China, Cuba, Sweden, Korea, Columbia, and Indonesia. His knowledge in applications such as elevators, ski lifts, steel mills, suspension bridges, dredging, and of course underground mining, has helped to develop and patent the next generation of rope designs.

Member of CIM and CSA G4 Technical Committee, Courchesne has enjoyed sharing his expertise with wire rope users across the globe, from rope design selection, end termination procedures, proper installation and handling, and repair. He is currently the underground mining manager of Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group.


Liezl van Wyk

Liezl van Wyk is Namibian by nationality. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 1994, and her master’s in high voltage engineering in 1996. 

She worked for nine years in the power utility industry across the distribution, transmission, generation and research and development businesses in the SADEC region. After completing her MBA at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2006, van Wyk joined Rio Tinto in Australia as principal adviser, business analysis. 

This was followed by a move to Rio Tinto USA Operations in 2008. Van Wyk joined Diavik Diamond Mines in 2010 as energy principal advisor to design and develop the first large scale off-grid wind-diesel Arctic project at a mine. 

Subsequent roles include business improvement, operations excellence and sustaining capital manager. She currently is the technical services manager for Diavik and business partner for the Copper and Diamonds group at Rio Tinto.