I spent two-thirds of my 25 year government career working for Measurement Canada (MC). These are the people who certify the accuracy of gas pumps, weigh scales, electricity and gas meters, either directly or through partners. It was a great experience working as an engineer, a laboratory manager and program officer. I got to work with dozens of wonderful people all across Canada as well as travel to the U.S and Europe.
What do they do in the Standards Building you might wonder? They test and approve new meters and weigh scales before they can be used in trade. They also calibrate measurement standards used for certifying in-situ measuring devices e.g., test weights. Hum drum work you may think – but getting what you pay for in trade measurement is a fundamental marketplace right of buyers and sellers that has existed since iniquity. Weights and Measures was the no. 17 responsibility of the federal government in the Constitution Act of 1867.
Well the other day, I went back for a visit. The occasion was the retirement of boss and colleague Alan who was MC’s President since it’s inception in the mid 90’s. Alan is a very affable leader who gained the respect of every one he came in contact with. He is a very gifted speaker, able to toss out one liners and get a laugh on any occasion. For e.g., Industry Canada the home department of MC, has now been renamed from ‘IC’ (I see) to ‘ISED’ (I said) (Industry, Science and Economic Development), Alan explained with glee.
I had not been in the Standards Building since 2002 so it was a wonderful experience to go back and see colleagues and friends. Sadly, several people have passed away and some others are not so well. Some look exactly the same as they did 16+ years ago and there were a lot of new young faces. There were speeches, lots if memories and we were almost in tears as we reminisced about the good old days. Alan had us in stitches as he recalled some humerous experiences he had over the years. He started his government career in 1972 (when he was 3 years old ha!) He was President of the International Organization of Legal Metrology in Paris for 6 years and well known for his volunteer corporate work in classification and the United Way.
This was a two stage retirement party. Two weeks later there was a second get together at ISED at 235 Queen St. This too was special as I worked there for 8 years in corporate HR after my MC days. It was great to meet up with my old team members Sawsan, Bernard and Abu and catch up. The memories are great. I really miss you guys but not necessarily the commute, endless meetings, etc.
Thank you MC and ISED for the great career experiences, the friendships and all those wonderful memories. Hope to see you all again soon. Stay well and have a happy retirement Alan.