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Alumni Profiles

James Forbes

James Forbes

Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Year of Graduation: 1971
Program: Mechanical Engineering Technology

Growing Alongside Sheridan

James Forbes came to Sheridan when the Ontario college system was in its infancy; infused with a climate of endless possibilities in this new approach to learning.

It was an ideal environment for Jim who was among a few hundred students taking classes at Sheridan’s original campus in the former Brampton High School. As a teenager growing up in Etobicoke, Jim wanted to know how to design cars, “so studying engineering was both natural and necessary,” he recalls.

Sheridan’s innovative hands-on learning environment served as a springboard for Jim whose skills and accomplishments have grown alongside the college over the past four decades.

“My program at Sheridan gave me an excellent engineering education and foundation to build a professional career,” says Jim, the recipient of an Ontario Professional Engineers 2012 Engineering Medal for Excellence. James is Chief Design Engineer at National Steel Car Limited (NSC) in Hamilton. Among the highlights of his 24-plus years at NSC, Jim played a key role in designing a new freight car truck. It is expected the new truck will improve truck safety and ride quality, and in addition reduce fuel consumption and track wear. This intellectual property is protected under several US and Canadian patents.

After his Sheridan graduation, Jim went on to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc., 1976) and a Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc., 1979) (Mechanical Engineering) from the University of Waterloo. Joining him at Waterloo during these years was fellow Sheridan grad, Larry Kelterborn, B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., P. Eng, now President of Interfleet Technology.

In 1978, James accepted a position in the nuclear industry at Babcock and Wilcox Limited in Cambridge, Ontario, which eventually took him to Argentina. For three months, he worked as the site engineer for the installation of the nuclear steam generators for the CANDU nuclear power plant in Rio Tercero.

It wasn’t long though before the call of the classroom beckoned once again. Having married into a family of teachers and nurses (Jim’s mother, sister and wife Ruth of 31 years are all nurses), James was encouraged to pursue his Ph.D. which he did in 1985-1991 from the University of Waterloo.

Engineering careers also run in the Forbes’ family: all four of James’ sons went on to study engineering, both at the college and university levels. James is proud of each one of his sons, and knows that their years at the post secondary level of training are just the beginning of a lifelong learning experience that will influence future generations. This experience also awaits the latest crop of graduates from Sheridan’s current Brampton campus.

“As you grow and mature in your chosen field, you and your peers will become the next generation of teachers and mentors in the workplace. This impacts our profession and province.”