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Catherine Karakatsanis

2023 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Catherine Karakatsanis is the Chief Operating Officer of Morrison Hershfield, a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm with 26 offices across Canada and the United States. She oversees 1,000 professionals in four business units representing diverse business segments in infrastructure areas.

Catherine joined Morrison Hershfield after graduating and steadily rose through several technical roles including starting out as a structural engineer through to project management, technical director and into senior director and executive roles. She has worked across Canada and the US on numerous high-profile projects and has contributed significantly to engineering excellence in the areas of design, planning and engineering management.

Catherine is a seasoned industry leader with advanced skills in leadership, engineering, construction, business development, advocacy and mentorship. She received her BA and MA in Engineering Science (focus in Civil Engineering) from Western University.

Catherine has volunteered extensively and has served as president of Engineers Canada, working closely with the provincial regulators to deliver national programs that continue to have a positive impact on the profession and its public profile. She has worked to promote engineering to young people and increase the number of women in the profession during her tenure as president and chair of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). She has served as the regulator's (PEO) fourth female president and inspired the organization to become a world leader in self-regulation - a vision the association continues to live up to. She is currently on the boards of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC). FIDIC is a global representative body for national associations of consulting engineers representing over 1.5 million professionals in over 100 countries. Catherine was recently named FIDIC president-elect, the first ever woman to lead the organization in its 110 year history.

In addition to being a leader in her profession and industry, Catherine finds time to be an advocate and exemplary role model for others in her profession, particularly young women. She is an inspiration to others and leads by example, coaching, training and mentoring young professionals. She is dedicated to engaging engineering students and young professionals so that they are better equipped to face the engineering challenges of the future.  Catherine has also been a dynamic influence for change in her profession and the engineering consulting industry, championing women, diversity and inclusion. She has encouraged policies at Morrison Hershfield and in the engineering industry that have improved the working conditions and opportunities for women.

Catherine is proud of her Greek heritage, Greek family and Greek community. She often speaks of the values and contributions of her hard-working family and immigrants that have come to Canada and has also served on the Board of the Hellenic Heritage Foundation for several terms.

Her contributions to her profession and to the community have been recognized over the years by many organizations and awards, including:

  • an Honorary Doctorate from Western University (2023)
  • received the inaugural “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Canadian Consulting Engineering Magazine (2023)
  • received Engineer Canada's highest individual distinction the "Gold Medal" (2019)
  • the Governor General of Canada “Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers” which  recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians (2018)
  • inducted into the Women’s Executive Network’s “Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame” (2016) after being named one of Canada's most powerful women four years in a row in four different categories
  • received “His Majesty the Greek Immigrant Award” recognizing Canadians with Greek heritage that have made significant contributions to society (2015)
  • received the Ontario Women's Directorate “Leading Women Building Communities Award" (2013) for her dedication to supporting women in the workplace
  • inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering as a “Fellow” (2011)
  • received the Province of Ontario “Volunteer 20 Year Service Award” (2011)
  • received the Western University “L.S. Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal” (2008) for outstanding contributions to the engineering profession, business leadership and community