IDEA Williams

Creating space for new thinking

“Dad always felt strongly about innovation and finding ways to encourage engineers to think creatively,” says Peter Williams (BA’77, LLB’81), Managing Partner and CEO of Calgary-based Annapolis Capital.

That’s why he and his father, former TransAlta chairman Marshall Williams (BEng’47, MEng’49, DEng’78, LLD’07) , are jointly funding one of three large student workshops for the new Emera ideaHUB.

Educating a new generation of engineers for a globally competitive Canada


“In the oil and gas sector, you see the need for engineering every day.  It’s so critical. We have to keep pace globally – and fresh thinking is the key to our competitiveness.”

“We hope spaces like the M.M.Williams workshop will promote the kind of collaborative problem-solving that generates new ideas.”

From rural Nova Scotia to the Canadian Establishment

Widely acknowledged as a leader in Canadian engineering, the now 92-year-old Marshall MacKenzie Williams began his storied career right here, in Nova Scotia.

pull-quote-williams4The son of a station master, Marshall Williams was born in Londonderry, NS. After three years of pre-engineering at Acadia, he completed his studies at Nova Scotia Technical College (NSTC), then earned the first-ever Masters of Civil Engineering from Dalhousie University, awarded jointly with NSTC.

From there, Marshall headed west, joining Calgary Power in 1954. Twenty years later, as President and CEO, he guided the company through its transition into Trans-Alta, retiring as its Chairman in 1984. Besides serving as a director of a number of large Canadian corporations, Marshall also lent his drive and talent to a range of community initiatives, including as chair of the Banff Centre for many years.

For his contributions to both the engineering profession and Canadian business, Dalhousie recognized Marshall Williams with not one, but two, honorary degrees.

Giving back, in gratitude

“My father credits his success in life and business to the education he received here,” says Peter, who’s also spent his career as an executive in the oil patch and holds both a BA in Economics and an LLB from Dalhousie.

“Even though my father and I built our careers in the West, we have not forgotten the opportunities Dalhousie created for us.”

“Now we want to help create these opportunities for others.”