AMEC Support for Selkirk Brings Special Touch

Alumnus Eric MacFarlane Finding Ways to Give Back


Eric MacFarlane understands how Selkirk College can change lives because he’s reminded every day he goes to work at AMEC’s West Kootenay office in downtown Trail.

When MacFarlane was in his mid-20s, life was going along according to plan. A good job as an auto mechanic, a young family and a promising future in the West Kootenay. Then an injury made the daily rigours of shop life too difficult and he was faced with the daunting prospect of changing careers.

AMEC donation to Selkirk

AMEC Trail Operations Manager Eric MacFarlane presents Selkirk College Director of Human Resources and Community Relations Gary Leier with a cheque for $1,000. The annual donation from the AMEC goes towards an endowment that provides a yearly scholarship to a Selkirk College science student.

Determined to make the best of a challenging situation, MacFarlane enrolled at Selkirk College. First he completed academic upgrading at Nelson’s Silver King Campus and then it was off to the Business Administration Program on the Castlegar Campus.

Today MacFarlane is the operations manager at Trail’s AMEC office and life has never been better.

“It turned out very well for me,” MacFarlane says. “You get out what you put in, but it made a big difference in my life. I sometimes think of that accident that happened to me as almost a blessing. Even though I have some long term injuries as a result of it, it still really changed my life in terms of my working career.”

Selkirk Provides Solid Start

MacFarlane’s time at Selkirk College was well spent. He chose Business Administration because it provided a broad spectrum of opportunities after graduation. Midway through his first year, he chose to focus on accounting as his speciality.

By the end of the two years MacFarlane was a star student and was chosen as the valedictorian for the Class of 1989.

“I really enjoyed my time at Selkirk, it exceeded my expectations,” he says with a smile.

Settling in with AMEC

MacFarlane was hired on at AMEC in 2000 as the finance and business manager. Early in his first year, an opportunity came up that pointed MacFarlane to his alma mater.

“When I first started we were looking for places to donate and give back to the community where it would have a lasting effect,” says MacFarlane. “I thought about Selkirk College right away and that was 14 years ago.”

Since that time AMEC has contributed $1,000 a year towards the AMEC Americas Limited Endowment which provides a scholarship to a student enrolled in Associate Science or the Applied Science Engineering Program with a high GPA. AMEC also supports other Selkirk College initiatives like contributing to the Support-A-Saint program.

“This kind of support is vital to Selkirk College and its students,” says Gary Leier, Selkirk’s Director of Human Resources and Community Relations. “To have partners like AMEC in our communities really makes a difference. And having an outstanding alumni like Eric continue to spearhead support years after graduation makes what we do here mean that much more.”

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