Inducted - 2003
To briefly describe the life and achievements of William (Bill) Filer is not easy. While an Engineer by profession he is also a professional contributor to his work and social community. Bill Filer demonstrates what true energy is all about and those who followed the philosophy are likely to follow in his successful ways.
Born in 1926, his present day youthfulness belies years of experience. He grew up the son of religious parents, his father an Anglican Minister. He lived in Saint John, New Brunswick, Peterborough, Toronto and Hamilton. In 1951, Bill graduated from the University of Toronto Engineering and began his career as a structural engineer.
His life was not to simply be an Engineer. A life of commitment to volunteerism has resulted in the receipt of many awards including: Fellow – Engineering Institute of
Canada; Fellow – Canadian Society for Civil Engineering; Companion – Order of the Sons of Martha; Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario; Fellow – Canadian Academy of Engineering; and Doctor of Sacred Letters – Wycliffe College, Toronto.
He served in numerous professional engineer organization positions, including: President of The Hamilton Engineering Institute; President of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering; President of the Engineering Institute of Canada; Chairman of the Hamilton Area Association of Consulting Engineers, Chairman of the Hamilton Chapter of Professional Engineers, along with membership on several professional organization committees. He is ‘Chief Warden’ of Camp 13 at McMaster University and supervises the Iron Ring process for many McMaster graduating engineers, including his own son David.
To his community he gave time and enthusiasm, and the following is only a partial list of those activities. He served on LACAC in Ancaster and Flamborough, Canadian Bible Society Director, St. Peter’s Hospital Director, Wycliffe College Trustee, President of the Canadian Club of Hamilton, President of the Royal Hamilton College of Music, and participated on the City of Hamilton Urban Renewal Committee. Bill is a Past President of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce (1992) and remains a member of the Rotary Club of Hamilton.
While President of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, aware that the organization was about to initiate the Canadian Civil Engineering Historic Site Designation Program and also aware of a Chinese delegation visiting Canada, Bill arranged on very short notice for the inaugural historic designation to be the Hamilton Pumping Station and to have the celebration occur here with the delegation present. So taken was the Chinese delegation, that Bill and wife Pat were invited to visit China the following year. He was privileged to be the sole Canadian delegate to the World Federation of Engineering Organizations in Prague (1989), followed immediately by attending as the sole Canadian delegate at the Commonwealth Engineering Conference in Cyprus.
One might wonder if there was time to do much else, and indeed for Bill Filer there was. His work providing structural engineering services included these important projects: McMaster Nuclear Reactor, YMCA Hamilton, Hamilton Place, McMaster Burke Science Building, Mohawk Hospital Services original project and recent energy project, RCA Midland, Corfe Pontiac Buick, GO Transit Terminal, Royal Botanical Gardens Bridge, Hamilton Public Library, Sheraton Foxhead Hotel (Niagara Falls), Dundas Town Hall Historic Renovation, Ancaster Aquatic Centre, and many, many more.
Filer Consultants Ltd. has existed since 1971 as a full service design company, providing prime consultant services for projects at Proctor and Gamble, RCA, and the Salvation Army Headquarters South Ontario Division. Bill Filer has been a leader since his earliest days, heading up or partnering with other engineering interests to lead Hamilton-based offices for Wagner, McCargar & Filer Ltd. (1956), McCarger Filer & Hachborn Ltd. (1961), SNC Filer Ltd. (1965) and finally with his present firm.
In both professional pursuits, either working or providing volunteer assistance to the profession of engineering, and in his community work, Bill Filer has developed a network of friends, colleagues and supporters. He is respected and admired for his energy and lasting contributions. We welcome William Alfred Hallam Filer into the Construction Hall of Fame for his excellent contribution as an engineer in the field of construction.