Outstanding Service Award recognizes heavy duty support for VIU

May 31, 2010 - 3:18am


delightful surprise.”

That’s how

Ross Somerville describes his feelings about receiving this year’s Outstanding

Service Award from Vancouver Island University.


will receive the special honour at VIU’s Faculty of Trades and Applied

Technology graduation ceremony June 25.. The award recognizes

Somerville’s outstanding service to VIU over many years.

“This is

completely unexpected and I am deeply humbled,” he said.


retired in January 2009 as Sales and Marketing Director at Cummins Western

Canada after 30-plus years of service. During his career, he supported VIU

Trades and Applied Technology Department by arranging donations to the Heavy

Duty mechanic program from Cummins Western Canada. The total value of these

donations is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The list of

donated items range from software to a 700-horsepower diesel engine with

computer-controlled engine systems. The donations were mainly focused on the

Heavy Duty /Commercial Transport program, but the Power Sports and Marine

Technician program also recently received a complete new diesel engine/stern

drive package valued at $35,000.


also developed and taught two courses in Leadership and Supervisory Skills in

the Trades program for two separate cohorts, in addition to his regular job

with Cummins Western Canada.

“Ross not

only did an amazing job in the development and instruction of these courses but

he took the salary he had earned from VIU and put it back to VIU students

through a bursary,” said Fred MacDonald, Dean of Trades and Applied Technology

at VIU. “He is a person who has demonstrated in word and action his dedication

to student learning and to VIU.”


started his career as a marine engineer on the Great Lakes. After a few years,

he thought it would be more fun on land and became an apprentice mechanic.


earning his Red Seal certification, he started working for Cummins Engine

Company in eastern Canada as regional service manager. He was promoted to Sales

Manager at the company’s western Canada office.

Years ago,

Somerville met Dan Lines, former Associate Dean of VIU’s Trades and Technology

and Heavy Duty Mechanics Instructor Paul Mottershead.

 “Paul was always very

helpful to us at Cummins and, like Dan, was one of the reasons we choose VIU

for most of our contributions,”he


“I had a

soft spot in my heart for VIU, so they got bulk of the donated goodies,” said

Somerville. “They had the deepest roots in the industry that we earned our

living in. VIU truly teaches young people the diesel business. So I thought

they should have the latest equipment on which to train students.”

“It was a

great opportunity to give back to the industry that had been so good to us.”


Somerville is enjoying retirement at his home on Protection Island with his

wife Joan. They have two children.


rekindled his love of marine life by launching a second career driving the ‘pickle

boats’ between Newcastle Island and Maffeo Sutton Park.


nothing better than being on the water,” he said. “It soothes the system.”


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