Jun 21, 2010 - 9 years ago
By Supply Post
Ross Somerville, former Sales and Marketing Director at Cummins Western Canada, is receiving this year’s Outstanding Service Award from Vancouver Island University.
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“A delightful surprise.”
That’s how Ross Somerville describes his feelings about receiving this year’s Outstanding Service Award from Vancouver Island University.
Somerville 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.
Somerville 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.
Somerville 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.”
Somerville 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.
After 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 program 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 said.
“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.
He’s rekindled his love of marine life by launching a second career driving the ‘pickle boats’ between Newcastle Island and Maffeo Sutton Park.
“There’s nothing better than being on the water,” he said. “It soothes the system.”