Winter 2009

A Quarterly Newsletter of the Instrumentation Testing Association

ITA Enews

Spring 2011

Instrumentation Testing Association  (ITA)

 

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Honouring and Remembering Paul Lagassé

It is with heavy hearts that ITA’s Board of Directors announce the passing of one of its Board members, Paul Lagassé, P.Eng., Wastewater Engineer for the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Paul was an active Board member of ITA since 2002 and was active in ITA’s TOC Research Project. 

Paul Lagassé, P.Eng.
Wastewater Engineer

City of Winnipeg

Winnipeg, Manitoba CANADA

ITA Board Member

2002-2010

Allan Zaleski a Chemist with the City of Winnipeg shares his memories of Paul.

    “I had the good fortune to work with Paul for the past twenty years. For the last three years, Paul was my immediate supervisor and I was fortunate in being able to work for this capable gentleman.  

     As you are probably aware, Paul was our Wastewater Engineer responsible for the operation of the City of Winnipeg’s three wastewater pollution control centres (WWPCCs).

     When the WWPCCs were first licensed several years ago, Paul was instrumental in having all 30 of our wastewater samplers upgraded to fully automated, computer-controlled systems with both time and flow-proportioned capability. He insisted that compliance reports be based on sound information that began with reliable samples.

   Paul was among the first of our engineering staff to recognized that Total Organic Carbon (TOC) could be used to accurately monitor the organic removal performance of the various unit processes in the treatment plants that he was responsible for.”

Paul Lagassé making a presentation.

Paul Lagassé relaxing in Winnipeg’s lunch room.

Allan Zaleski added:

     “Winnipeg’s Water and Waste Department had been monitoring TOC since the early 1970’s and Paul was the first in his position to put the results to practical use. That he was actually utilizing TOC data to monitor plant performance undoubtedly played a role in his becoming a part of ITA’s TOC Research Project. Paul recognized the value of research in developing a better understanding of the wastewater treatment processes. He advocated for and supported many research projects at the University of Manitoba. Several of these projects are ongoing.

     Paul was fully bilingual and could communicate in both of Canada’s official languages. Above all, he was a good listener-he had “good ears”. He treated everyone with dignity and respect.

     Outside of work Paul, with his wife Gisele, raised their two children. He rode his motorcycle, played the guitar, made wine and was adept at household repairs. At Paul’s memorial service, the church was packed (standing room only) with family, friends and colleagues who had come to pay their respects to a dedicated family man, a leader in his profession and a “gentle man” who left us far too soon.”

Shortly before Paul’s passing, Paul was to receive an ITA service award.  Paul’s wife, Gisele, in a letter to ITA’s Board, thanked the ITA Board for Paul’s award and shared the following:

     “Paul never looked for rewards.  He enjoyed sharing his experience and knowledge with others.  He took pride in his work and always gave 100% of himself to any project he undertook.  On Paul’s behalf, we graciously accept the award.  The chronometer has a special place in our home, next to Paul’s picture.  It has been a source of comfort and strength to us as we strive to regain a sense of normalcy in our lives.”

ITA’s Board and staff added “We are indeed incredibly saddened by the loss of this amazing man. He had touched the lives of many with his compassion, integrity and sense of humor. 

Mostly, we will all miss his big heart and incredibly loving and selfless passion for others and the environment.”

ITA’s Board of Directors will be dedicating the TOC Research Project reports in memory of Paul Lagassé.

“He insisted that compliance reports be based on sound information that began with reliable samples.”

“Paul never looked for rewards.  He enjoyed sharing his experience and knowledge with others.  He took pride in his work and always gave 100% of himself to any project he undertook.”

“Above all, he was a good listener-he had “good ears”. He treated everyone with dignity and respect.”

“A dedicated family man, a leader in his profession and a “gentle man” who left us far too soon.”

Jan A. Oleszkiewicz,Ph.D., P.Eng., C.Eng(UK), BCEE, a Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Manitoba and Paul’s colleague shares his memories of Paul: 

     “I had the privilege of close collaboration with Paul for over twenty years, sharing common interest in research in wastewater issues.  Paul always showed great dedication and a keen desire to improve the status quo in environmental engineering and strived to achieve a higher level of efficiency while sharing the knowledge and experience with others.  While an excellent and intuitive Wastewater Engineer with the City of Winnipeg he had a heart of a scientist and strongly supported academic research.  

     He has initiated a number of projects at the University of Manitoba on nitrogen and phosphorus removal, which launched the careers of many graduate students who left school infected with his enthusiasm and passion for this profession.  

     The work led to innovation in wastewater treatment such as documentation of nitrification in high-purity oxygen activated sludge reactors or the treatment of sludge dewatering liquors, which eventually led to the construction of America’s first dedicated sludge liquor nitrification-denitrification facility. 

“Paul was a warm person, very approachable and always donating his own time to communicate a message or develop an idea.

We are all very saddened by the premature and irreplaceable loss of this great and humble man.”

“He was a true engineer – a dedicated solver of problems.  It was a real joy to talk to him on personal level as he had that gentle humour and understanding which put problems into the right perspective and made the interlocutor feel at ease, savouring every minute of being together.”

“Paul initiated a number of projects at the University of Manitoba on nitrogen and phosphorus removal, which launched the careers of many graduate students who left school infected with his enthusiasm and passion for this profession.”

     Paul was a warm person, very approachable and always donating his own time to communicate a message or develop an idea.  He made very meaningful contributions to every conference, seminar or meeting he helped organize and he always impressed everybody with the insight he offered into technical issues - he often gave us clues and pointed in the right direction. 

     He was a true engineer – a dedicated solver of problems.  It was a real joy to talk to him on personal level as he had that gentle humour and understanding which put problems into the right perspective and made the interlocutor feel at ease, savouring every minute of being together. 

     We are all very saddened by the premature and irreplaceable loss of this great and humble man.”