Concordia University

Engineering grad goes global

Concordia engineering graduate chosen as fourth woman to lead the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
September 3, 2013
By Scott McCulloch

Concordia graduate Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb, MEng 81, BEng 76, has been named president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

An 18-year member of the New York City-based professional body, Kotb is only the fourth woman to lead the 133-year-old society.

Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb | Photo: American Society of Mechanical Engineers

“It feels great,” says Kotb, who was nominated for the ASME presidency one year ago. “It’s a long process and it’s sinking in now.”

“This is a remarkable career milestone for Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb,” says Christopher Trueman, interim dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. “The fact that she is a Concordia graduate is a tremendous source of pride for us.”

Kotb says she intends to deepen the engineering body’s operations in key countries.

“ASME’s potential growth and future depends on its global activity,” says Kotb, who hopes to turn the society into “a truly global organization.”

With more than 132,000 members worldwide, ASME is virtually there.

Kotb says she plans to target fertile regions such as Latin America. There she hopes ASME will have a bigger impact on engineering areas such as standards, personnel certification and training.

“The Latin American market has a huge potential,” Kotb says. “We want to be globally present but locally relevant.”

Kotb was born in Egypt and immigrated to Canada in 1974. She says her father, also an engineer, influenced her career.

“My dad always said engineers can find solutions to the world’s problems and I believed him.”

Kotb heads the Pressure Vessels Technical Services Division of the Régie du bâtiment, Quebec’s engineering safety watchdog.

“My field is oversight for the regulations, codes and standards for boilers and pressure vessels,” Kotb says. “We cover their safety aspects from cradle to grave.”

Kotb says much has changed in the engineering world since she earned her degree. “We were a generation who wanted to do well in our profession. For today’s engineers, engineering is actually about making a difference globally.”

Kotb served on ASME’s board from 2008 to 2011 and as vice-president of Conformity and Assessment from 2003 to 2006.

ASME was founded in 1880 by Alexander Lyman Holley, Henry Rossiter Worthington, John Edison Sweet and Matthias N. Forney in response to numerous steam boiler pressure vessel failures.

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