Attila Keszei

Attila Keszei

Award of Excellence 2010 recipient

Chancellor's Award – Influential Leader Category

Attila Keszei joined the University of Toronto in 1978 and, in the course of his long career, has served as a mechanical design engineer, a resources management engineer and a manager of building mechanical systems. A compassionate and committed individual, he has helped to keep U of T running as efficiently as possible for 31 years.

Mr. Keszei is widely respected for his environmental consciousness. In fact, his high standards for energy efficiency have made U of T a Canadian leader in energy innovation. Initiatives such as the construction of the cogeneration plant, major lighting retrofits and more efficient water use have translated into very large cost savings for U of T—gains made without impairing the institution's ability to provide the energy required to fuel the rapid growth of research activity, the student population and building construction. Thanks to his efforts, greenhouse gas emissions on the St. George campus have been reduced by approximately 23 per cent, resulting in savings of $183 million.

Since 2008, Mr. Keszei has been the University's Manager of Sustainability Initiatives. In this expanded role, he is pioneering conservation projects in transportation, procurement and recycling, as well as energy management. His leadership and wealth of experience are helping to ensure that U of T makes further progress in the use of green materials, products, systems and construction methods. His most recent contribution is the completion of the solar thermal array heat recovery system at the Warren Stevens Athletic Centre.

In his new role, Mr. Keszei is also expanding his mentorship of students and young people. Mentoring is not part of his official job description but it is a task that he deeply cares about. Working with the University's Sustainability Office, he is passing on his knowledge to future leaders in the new and rapidly growing discipline of sustainable building management. Whether by meeting with a student to provide advice and feedback on a project proposal or working directly with students and young staff members on approved projects, he likes to challenge them to achieve all they can. As one of his recent charges writes, “He constantly encourages me to take a larger role in projects, to ask questions, to learn more and ultimately to push myself to be a better engineer and to better serve the mission of my office and community around me.”

His colleagues conclude: “The University of Toronto would be considerably poorer, less beautiful and less inspired had Attila not been here to lead the way to a more sustainable, comfortable and highly efficient campus.”