Willis, Douglas Theodore

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Willis, Douglas Theodore

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  • D.T. Willis

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Douglas Theodore Willis (D.T. Willis) was born in Dauphin, Manitoba in 1911. He graduated from high school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1929 and enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon that same year. In 1934, he graduated with a B.Sc. Engineering (Civil) from the University of Saskatchewan.

After graduation, Willis worked with several companies in both Manitoba, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. This involved geological surveys and roadwork projects (Canadian Mining & Smelting Co. 1934-1936), road and airfield construction (Routly Construction Co. 1936-1939), and site supervision for roads and airfields (Routly and Storm’s Construction Co. 1939-1942).

In 1941, he was employed in an Extra-Regimental position as a Royal Canadian Engineer; from 1942-1946 he was an Officer in the Royal Canadian Engineers in the Overseas Canadian Army. In this role he was responsible for the construction of military roads and routes, forward advancing landing strips, bridges, and allied work. He directed several pavement plant operations for the repair of military and civilian roads.

Upon returning to Canada in 1946, he took on the role of Chief Surfacing Engineer with the Department of Highways (Ministry of Public Works) for the Province of British Columbia. He acted as supervising surfacing engineer for the major highways and bridges in the BC Interior. He was involved in several projects, including the Fraser Canyon reconstruction (Hope to Cache Creek), Hope-Princeton connection to the Okanagan Valley (Allison Pass) onto Calgary, AB, road approaches to new Hagwilget Canyon Bridge (Bulkley River), Salmo-Creston skyway (Kootenay Pass) and the Kinnaird Bridge (Columbia River near Castlegar).

Willis was a founding member, and served as President of the Canadian Technical Asphalt Association (CTAA). He maintained his involvement with the CTAA from 1955-1986. During this time he established Willis, Cunliffe, Tait & Co. Ltd., an engineering consulting firm, while continuing to work as a consulting engineer for the BC Ministry of Public Works.

Douglas T. Willis began an international career in 1964, serving as a United Nations Technical Expert in Kuwait (1964-1966), Indonesia (1967) and Saudi Arabia (1968-1970) where he worked on road construction, paving and stabilization projects. He continued his work into the 1980s, senior engineer, Norconsult AS (global); transportation infrastructure oversight and water control management in The Philippines and East Africa (1970-1980); consulting engineer for Norconsult AS in Cyprus and Hoff & Overgaard, in Saudi Arabia (1981-1982). Repatriated to Canada and resident in Kaslo, BC, he died in 1986.


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