ECE alumnus among those who receive 2024 Ontario Professional Engineers Awards

Headshots of the winners
Top row, left to right: Inga Hipsz (MechE 9T4, MIE MASc 9T6), David Poirier (IndE 8T1) and Michael Kropp (ElecE 8T6); bottom row, left to right: Paul Acchione (MechE 7T1, MIE MEng 7T6), Serena Mandla (EngSci 1T7, BME MASc 1T9) and Professor Giovanni Grasselli (CivMin).

MAY 16, 2024 • By Carolyn Farrell

Six members of the U of T Engineering community have been honoured by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and Professional Engineers Ontario with Ontario Professional Engineers Awards.  

These awards recognize engineers in Ontario who have made exceptional contributions to the profession and to society.   

Professor Giovanni Grasselli (CivMin) has been awarded the Entrepreneurship Medal for applying new technologies or innovative approaches that have enabled new companies to get started.  

Paul Acchione (MechE 7T1, MIE MEng 7T6) garnered the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing the engineering profession through long-standing service to OSPE.  

Michael Kropp (ElecE 8T6) received the Engineering Excellence in Industry Medalrecognizing overall excellence in the practice of engineering in industry.  

Inga Hipsz (MechE 9T4, MIE MASc 9T6) and David Poirier (IndE 8T1) both were awarded the Management Medal for innovative management practices contributing significantly to an engineering achievement.  

Serena Mandla (EngSci 1T7, BME MASc 1T9) received the Young Engineer Award for an engineer no older than 35 years old who has demonstrated excellence in their career, community and professional service. 

“These outstanding engineers demonstrate the range of contributions that our faculty and alumni are making across multiple fields, from founding new companies and managing significant Canadian organizations, to serving in leadership roles in the profession and in the community,” says U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip 

“On behalf of the faculty, my heartfelt congratulations on these well-deserved recognitions.”  

ECE alumnus Mike Kropp wins the Engineering Excellence in Industry Medal

Mike Kropp

Kroppis co-founder, president and CEO of PEER Group, a leading supplier of factory automation software for the semiconductor industry. Kropp has led the company’s 30-year transformation from a niche provider of custom manufacturing software solutions to a global market leader in factory automation software and services. Focused on technical proficiency, he has overseen several key innovations in semiconductor factory and tool automation by applying engineering principles to the software development life cycle.  

Under Kropp’s leadership, PEER Group has matured into a 250-person operation with offices in Toronto, Kitchener, Ont., and Dresden, Germany. Today, PEER Group software is used to automate more than 130 semiconductor tool platforms, powering more than 90,000 pieces of equipment in virtually every chip factory in the world. In 2023, Kropp became the first Canadian member of the SEMI North American Advisory Board and was inducted into the U of T Engineering Hall of Distinction 

Most recently, he was named a 2024 Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Laureate. Beyond his professional achievements, Kropp supports STEM-focused youth programs and implemented a comprehensive student co-op program at PEER Group to help inspire and nurture the next generation of engineers. He also drives corporate fundraising efforts for local charities dedicated to improving health, well-being and opportunities for disadvantaged families and youth. These initiatives have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, making a lasting positive impact on the lives of residents. 

“It’s so nice to see alumnus Mike Kropp recognized for his innovations in the semiconductor industry,” says ECE Chair Professor Deepa Kundur. “His remarkable global success along with his generous local initiatives make him a shining example of ECE alumni who strive to make the world a better place.”

See original story at U of T Engineering News for write-ups on all winners. With files from Matthew Tierney