RMC Graduate Student Wins Best Paper Award At National Engineering Conference

RMC Graduate Student Wins Best Paper Award At National Engineering Conference

Article composed from various sources

Henry Helmer-Smith

Congratulations to, 27307 Henry Helmer-Smith, Masters of Applied Science student within the Department of Civil Engineering.

The Class of 2017 undergraduate won best Paper Award at National Engineering Conference which was held in Fredericton, NB June 13-16, 2018.

The former proud member of 5 Squadron with his two Ex Cadet supervisors and co-authors of the paper are 19930 Dr. Nicholas Vlachopoulos and 23585 Dr. Marc-André Dagenais.

Henry was the only attendant from RMC and was representing both the RMC Green Team and the Department of Civil Engineering.

The Annual Canadian Society of Civil Engineering (CSCE) conference is a high profile event.  It was a 3 day conference with 362 papers submitted internationally by students, professors, and industry leaders and covered all areas of civil engineering.

Each year there is a student paper competition that is judged both on the content and quality of the paper as well as on the presentation given at the conference.

“My co-authors and I were awarded first place out of 95 entries at the conference. The title of the paper was “Structural Health Monitoring of Legacy WWII Infrastructure within the Department of National Defence, a Stage-wise Approach”.

He further added, “My research is focused on remotely monitoring the structural health of DND Warren Truss Air Force Hangars built during the Second World War as part of the RCAF’s contribution to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

This infrastructure requires specific rehabilitation and maintenance due to the complexities associated with the building materials, age, environmental factors and historic modifications. In particular, we are working on hangars at CFB St-Jean as they are evacuated when snow accumulates on their roof structures, which causes a significant interruption in several unit’s operational capabilities.  My research focuses on trying to define the behaviour of such truss systems with a view to qualifying and quantifying the safety limits associated with such complex systems.”

It had to be rewarding for the Invermere, ON native to see the amount of interest in his research from other attendees, engineers, and academics. The RCAF’s construction of 88 airfields and 88 relief airfields, including all associated infrastructure during WWII, was commemorated by CSCE in 1998 as a National Historic Civil Engineering Project.

As such, these sites, both military and civilian, are all considered as National Historic Civil Engineering Sites.

“It was definitely a pleasure to represent RMC at this National conference with International reach and to accept this award on behalf of my supervisors/co-authors.

It was the first conference that I have attended and I am thankful for the opportunity and experiences that came with it. It certainly exposed me to the professional side of my research activities and gave me context with regards to the mandates of a professional society.  It was also an excellent venue for networking and gaining a contact base, as many attending engineers had worked on these hangars. Lastly, it was an excellent opportunity to learn about other emerging research topics across the field of civil engineering.”

Henry  made a point to include the following acknowledgments:

“I would like to thank the very real contributions of my supervisors, the RMC Green Team, my co-authors including Brad Forbes, and the technical contributions of John Shaw and Dexter Gaskin from the Civil Engineering Department.  As well, this research would not have been possible without the support of Real Properties Operations (Quebec) and the support from personnel from CFB St. Jean.

In a closing note he made sure to add,

“I would also add that attending RMC as a post-graduate student is a rewarding experience in its own. I definitely recommend to all senior cadets to look into post-graduate studies as an option upon graduation. It is a great opportunity to pursue higher learning whilst contributing towards your career progression as an officer in the CAF.”

2 Lt Helmer-Smith, Costruction Engineer (Air) is still a student (MASc) at RMC in the Civ Eng Dept; just completing his first year of PG.  He will be upgrading to a PhD in the Fall in the Civ Eng Department.

We wish him continued success moving forward.



    July 3, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Well done, and I can’t think of a more worthy project than one that could lead to the preservation and continuing reuse of valuable infrastructure.