Lakehead Mechanical Engineering student wins first place

Greenhouse photo

An illustration of the geothermal greenhouse that Andreas Zailo designed for the competition.

April 6, 2016 – Thunder Bay, ON

A fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student from Lakehead University placed first at the Canadian Engineering Competition held recently at McGill University.

In the Engineering Communications category, Andreas Zailo had to present a clear and concise viewpoint on a technical topic to a judging panel. He had to focus on thoroughly explaining technical, social, economic and environmental impacts.

Zailo chose to research the impacts of Net-zero Geothermal Greenhouses for remote and Isolated Communities in Northern Canada for his project. While he entered as an individual, his topic came from his degree project work and he credits his teammates Alex Coulson, Evan Oulahen and Tyler Beckie, and his supervisor Dr. Basel Ismail for helping him prepare for the competition.

“Basically my presentation covered the engineering processes and technologies that were combined and optimized to create a thermally stable growing platform for year-round food production,” Zailo said.

“Afterwards, I had to outline the social, economic and environmental concerns and impacts,” he said.

Zailo first competed at the locally held Lakehead Engineering Competition (LEC) that allows students to enter four categories: Junior Design, Senior Design, Software/Programming, and Engineering Communications. Winners moved on to the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC) and, ultimately to the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC) if they continue to place first or second.

In addition to placing first at the OEC against 16 other Ontario universities, Zailo also received the Social Awareness Award. 

Dr. David Barnett, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Lakehead University, congratulated Zailo on his accomplishment and noted the “importance of communication skills in the development of a successful engineer.”

The annual CEC competition held in March brought together students from across Canada who have advanced to the national event following local and regional competitions.


Photo of Andreas Zailo and his team.

From left, teammates Tyler Beckie, Andreas Zailo, Evan Oulahen, and Alex Coulson.

– 30 –



Media: For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8372, or


Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies.

Maclean’s 2016 University Rankings place Lakehead University second in Ontario and among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities, and first among Ontario’s undergraduate universities for Total Research Dollars, Social Sciences & Humanities Grants, and Library Expenses. In 2015, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities.