Dr. Trevor John Williams Memorial Award


Dr. Trevor John Williams was not your typical man. Gifted from a young age, Trevor Williams spent more than 23 years working as an aeronautical engineer specializing in communications satellites, human-rated vehicles and low earth orbit observation satellites. Trevor graduated from London's Imperial College in 1987 with a BEng in aeronautical engineering followed, a few years later, by an MSc in management science from Southampton University. Trevor worked for 23 years in the aerospace industry, for British Aerospace (UK), SENER and CASA (Spain), Dynacs (USA), Eutelsat (France) and MDA (Canada).

Trevor was also not a typical graduate student. Most students do not have an established international career as an aeronautical engineer prior to returning to university. Most students do not return to university as a matter of conscience, and it must be a very small number indeed whose decisions of conscience can be said to have affected government policy.

An activist throughout his life, Trevor left the spacecraft industry in 2008, when he resigned in protest over the MDA/Radarsat-2 project, amid the media storm of Canada's first foreign takeover to be rejected under the Investment Canada Act. He came to the University of Victoria to work on clean renewable energy projects as his newly chosen field of study. Trevor's deep commitment to sustainability also extended to relentless activism both in his community and globally; he worked tirelessly at his wife's side to preserve the environment, reduce our impact on the planet and improve the rights of animals.

Trevor Williams' PhD research was focused on developing a multi-scalar modeling system to study the integration of plug-in hybrid vehicles using vehicle to grid technology, into the electrical grid.

Diagnosed with cancer near the end of his degree work, Trevor's only remaining route to completing his degree was from his bed at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. In a unique display of understanding and compassion for a man remarkable for his empathy and kindness to others, the University of Victoria accelerated their degree granting process a hundred-fold to ensure that a man who deserved his PhD received it on the penultimate day of his life. Dr. Williams passed away peacefully on January 11, 2013.

The title of Dr. Williams' dissertation is Probabilistic Power Flow Modeling of Renewable Energy and PEV Grid Interactions. This research makes significant contributions to our understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by the integration into power distribution networks of plug-in electric vehicles and distributed energy resources.

Dr. Williams' final wishes were that his work continues, allowing for an increase in knowledge and solutions to minimize humans' impact on the environment and to more effectively utilize existing resources for the betterment of the planet.

His achievements as a PhD student working on distributed clean energy resources and his exemplary role as a man of conscience are commemorated by the Dr. Trevor John Williams Memorial Fund which will be used to support engineering students who display Trevor's lifelong care for our planet and those we share it with.

Dr. Williams was an activist, but he was also a man of grace. He was a life-long learner who always took the time to listen to other people and to learn from them. Successful applicants will convince us that these principles are also important to them.

The ideal applicant has a gentle soul, a spirit of activism, an innovative mind and a revolutionary heart. A dash of anarchy wouldn't hurt either.

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