NHC Principal Herb Wiebe, PEng, is the recipient of an alumni award from the University of Manitoba in biosystems engineering. This award celebrates an impressive 46-year career, during which Herb solved agricultural and water resource engineering challenges in diverse and developing regions across the world.
After graduating from the University of Manitoba in 1976, Herb moved to Bangladesh with the Mennonite Central Committee, where for 3 years he focused his training and experience on helping communities in Bangladesh develop irrigation systems using groundwater extracted with diesel-powered pumps. He worked with a multi-disciplinary national team to organize user groups to plan, install, operate, and maintain these systems. The national team also helped user groups establish relationships with commercial banks, government extension services, and private-sector repair services. These systems and associated infrastructure represented the beginning of the modernization and expansion of irrigation in Bangladesh. Over the next two decades, farmers were able to add an irrigated dry-season crop to what had historically been a two-crop rotation fed by rainwater, which contributed substantially to Bangladesh becoming self sufficient in food grains during the early twenty-first century.
In 1981, Herb joined the water resources engineering and geosciences services consulting firm Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd. (NHC). From 1981 to 2003, he continued to work extensively in Bangladesh and throughout Asia on water sector-related challenges, which ranged from managing projects and investment planning to assessments of policies and institutions. In 2003, Herb returned to Canada and became the branch manager of NHC’s Edmonton office, although he continued to accept assignments in Asia. His role expanded in 2007, when he became the Canadian President of NHC, a position he held until 2022. In this leadership role, Herb adeptly guided this independent, employee-owned firm through a challenging period of consolidation in the engineering consulting sector, enabling NHC to remain the same strong employee-owned consultancy that it is today.
Throughout his career, Herb has mentored and supported young engineers to achieve their own career success in engineering. In his leadership role at NHC, he has fostered the career development of young engineers, providing graduates with unique and challenging opportunities that he identified throughout the course of his project work. Herb’s mentorship of young engineers provided emerging professionals with unique opportunities to build on his success, and today, they continue to solve increasingly complex water resource challenges in diverse geographies across North America, Asia, and South America.