ACE Mentor Program carries on a legacy of philanthropy and mentorship

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Special to Ontario Construction News

As the first ACE affiliate outside the US, the ACE Mentor Program of the Greater Toronto Area was recently inaugurated by more than 30 senior level students representing seven different high schools.  These students were introduced to the architectural, engineering and construction (ACE) industry through the volunteer support of more than 25 professional mentors. Since its official launch in December 2022, the organization completed its first session year, hosting an average of 25 students per session.

There were several key developments leading up to the ACE Mentor of GTA program’s official launch. In fall 2019, the organization registered as a charitable organization with a core team of eight leadership members. Since then, the team has overcome serious challenges, including the ongoing threat of an Ontario teachers’ strike and the COVID pandemic, with a sudden change to online learning.

aceDespite these challenges, the leadership team forged ahead with an entirely virtual pilot program and selected the first two candidates for the ACE Mentor Program of GTA scholarships awarded by CMiC.

The GTA program is the first Canadian chapter of the ACE Mentor Program of America, which was designed to provide opportunities to high school students to pursue careers in architecture, construction and engineering.

At the highest level, the parent organization has more than 4,100 volunteer industry professionals mentoring student teams through a simulation of designing and constructing real-world projects. Over its 25-year history, it has grown steadily, with over 10,000 students from approximately 1,400 American high schools participating every year.

Today, the organization consists of over 75 chapters, spanning 38 states. On top of that, to date, the CMiC-Allen Berg Initiative awarded approximately $2.5M in scholarships to high school seniors and alumni to help them pursue careers in these fields.

From a leadership perspective, the ACE Mentor of Canada team comes from a group of well-reputed organizations relating to architecture, construction and engineering markets:

  • Chair: Pat Shah (CMiC)
  • Sponsorships: David Sauve (Stantec)
  • Mentorship Secretary: Ian Trudeau (Entuitive) and Anthony Fieldman (DIALOG)
  • School Outreach: Gerard McCabe (Turner & Townsend)
  • Communications: Sameer Dhargalkar (H.H. Angus & Associates Ltd.)
  • Curriculum and Student Programs: Edith Chow and Jenessa Mann (Arup)

CMiC’s journey with ACE Mentor Program of America | Highlights

As an organization committed to inspiring and supporting rising stars in architecture, engineering and construction, CMiC (Computer Methods International Corporation) continues to uphold founder Allen Berg’s strong commitment to philanthropic and corporate social responsibility, most notably with the CMiC-Allen Berg Memorial Scholarship grants.

The CMiC-Allen Berg scholarships were created in loving memory of Allen by his family to extend his legacy.

Having overcome personal tragedy and hardships, Allen would be pleased that in his name opportunities are being created to help students from all backgrounds realize their academic and professional aspirations. Allen was born in a refugee camp to Holocaust survivors who suffered from PTSD. His father died when Allen was 13, leaving Allen to support his family from a young age. Allen was grateful for the opportunities to succeed that he received including academic scholarships for applied mathematics, computer science and aerospace engineering.

He founded CMiC in his 20s and took pleasure in creating employment opportunities for many as well as mentoring others and giving back to his community. Unfortunately, after a courageous battle with cancer, he died prematurely and is deeply missed by his family who thought that the ACE program would be the perfect fit to carry on Allen’s memory and values.

Since the beginning of the partnership between CMiC and the ACE Mentor Program in 2018, CMiC has been instrumental to taking the program to new heights. Kicking off with a grant of $3 Million to establish the CMiC-Allen Berg Memorial Scholarship Awards (which are administered through the ACE Mentor Program), $2.5 has been donated to date.  With a proven commitment to fulfill an annual donation of $500,000 for a period of 6 years, this scholarship accounts for 20% of the total annual scholarships awarded.

In the past 2 years, the CMiC-Allen Berg Scholarship was awarded to two students: in 2021, Sandra Chen was awarded $5,000 and in 2022, Alex Xie received the same amount with an additional $5,000 scholarship from global engineering firm Stantec. This year CMiC awarded $5,000 each to Angie Tang and Jade Lam, with Stantec doing the same.

The chairman of The ACE Mentor Program of Canada, Pat Shah, responsible for the Canadian organization’s strategic development says, “I consider it a privilege that the Berg family asked me to carry on Allen’s legacy of helping others. This motivates me to build this program across Canada in his honour.”

For more information, visit acementor.org or acementor.org/affiliates/ontario-canada/

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