WSP-Schulich Innovation Challenge Winners

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TORONTO: Executives from WSP, one of Canada’s leading engineering consulting services firms, gathered at Schulich recently to select the winning team in the inaugural WSP-Schulich Innovation Challenge.

The case competition, which presents complex infrastructure problems in a case study format, is embedded into the new Schulich real estate course, Case Studies in Infrastructure. The unique, 12-week course is open to students in Schulich’s MBA specialization in Real Estate & Infrastructure and the School’s Master of Real Estate & Infrastructure (MREI) degree program and includes guest lectures delivered by leading executives from all major infrastructure sectors.

The winning case competition team, consisting of Abishek Bhasin and Benjamin Fogel, came up with the leading pitch for a new project to be funded by a hypothetical infrastructure development fund. After defending their pitch to a panel of experienced executives, the first place winning team won a cash prize of $1,500, sponsored by WSP.

The winning pitch:

“Autonomous electric buses and their enabling infrastructure can allow Transit Authorities (TA) to become profit centres, thus lowering the overall government subsidies required for them to operate. These subsidies can then be reassigned to other social issues such as Housing Affordability.

“The installation of LiDAR sensors along roadsides and the creation of the enabling infrastructure required to operate the autonomous electric busses can pave the way for greater adoption of AV’s, allow the TA to generate additional revenue from the data collected by the sensors, and one day replace the public rolling stock needed for transit with private vehicles via a shared autonomous vehicle platform.”

WSP has also established a new $2,500 scholarship for graduating students in the MREI program. The WSP Future Leader Graduating Scholarship will be awarded annually to the MREI student graduating with the highest academic standing in the Program.

”We appreciate WSP’s investment in our students. The WSP Future Leader Graduating Scholarship will reward excellence in a program that is truly one-of-a-kind in the world,” remarked Professor James McKellar, Director of the Brookfield Centre in Real Estate & Infrastructure at the Schulich School of Business.

“WSP saw a unique opportunity to give back to the community through the WSP-Schulich Innovation Challenge Prize and the WSP Future Leader Graduating Scholarship,” said Vincent Ermatinger, Vice President, Planning & Advisory at WSP. “As a leading global firm, WSP is delighted to support the future leaders of our industry.”

“WSP is privileged and honoured to support students committed to careers in infrastructure.

The talent and innovation displayed by the Schulich teams was incredible,” added Naeem Farooqi (BBA ‘08), a Schulich graduate and Principal Consultant, Planning & Advisory at WSP.