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Entrepreneurial engineers

Engineering alumni four of business magazine’s Top 50 CEOs

Campus and Community

By Jackey Locke

Four alumni of Memorial’s engineering faculty have been included in Atlantic Business Magazine’s 50 top Atlantic Canadian CEOs for 2016 — and one as CEO of the Year.

The four CEOs named in the list are Larry Puddister, co-chairman, Pennecon Ltd., and CEO, Newcrete, who was named CEO of the Year; Terry Hussey, CEO, Vigilant Management; Jason Muise, managing director, Technip Canada Ltd.; and Richard Tiller, president and CEO, Tiller Group of Companies. Individuals are chosen by a nomination and judging process.

Homegrown talent

After graduating from Memorial, all four Newfoundlanders moved on to successful careers and eventually started their own companies in their home province.

Atlantic Canada’s top CEO Larry Puddister graduated with a civil engineering degree. While in school he completed all of his work terms with McNamara and accepted a job as a project manager with the company upon graduation.

In 1997 he decided to start his own business, and Northland Contracting was born. In 2005 he merged his company with Pennecon Ltd. Currently, Mr. Puddister is co-chair of the board of directors and co-owner of Pennecon Ltd.

Terry Hussey

Mr. Hussey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and then obtained a master of business administration. Shortly after, he moved to the U.K. to work with a software testing company for their Canadian expansion.

Terry Hussey
Terry Hussey

He eventually moved back to the province to work for an IT consulting firm before choosing to start his own company in 2010. The decision wasn’t an easy one for Mr. Hussey, but it was a passionate one when he decided to make it a reality.

“Choosing to start my own business was the most fundamentally illogical thing I could have done,” he said. “There was minimal probability of success and most businesses fail within the first five years.”

With all the stress, hard work and countless moments of self-doubt, Mr. Hussey says he wouldn’t change a thing.

“A long time ago, I realized that I was destined to become an entrepreneur,” he said. “Being named a Top 50 CEO validates all the sacrifices I’ve made along the way. I can not imagine any other career path for myself and being recognized by my peers as a capable business leader was a wonderful moment in my life.”

Jason Muise
Jason Muise
Photo: Submitted

Jason Muise

For Mr. Muise, being named a Top CEO is humbling.

“It is great to be recognized with such a talented group of people,” he said. “There are many great business leaders in this province and throughout Atlantic Canada.

“It is humbling when you learn the stories of other business leaders who, through their own drive and determination, have grown a local company into an international presence. There are many role models among the group of 50 CEOs who we can all learn from.”

Rick Tiller

Mr. Tiller graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering. He started his career with Structural Consultants Ltd., a small St. John’s-based structural engineering consulting firm. He completed his master’s degree while employed there.

Rick Tiller
Rick Tiller
Photo: Submitted

Afterwards, he worked for several different companies before accepting an overseas assignment with BFL Consultants Ltd. A year later, he returned home and established Tiller Engineering Inc. Mr. Tiller is very proud to receive this recognition.

“I have such a sense of pride,” he said. “This is a prestigious award. It validates that when you work hard your efforts will be rewarded not only by the success of your company, but through the recognition and respect of your peers.”

Dr. Greg Naterer, dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, was delighted to hear the news.

“These awards recognize the outstanding career successes of our alumni and demonstrate the strength of our engineering programs in providing our graduates with the needed skills to become leaders of tomorrow.”

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