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Pyara S Lotay
Academic Field:
Civil Engineering
Years at RTC:
Town of origin:
Recent Residence:
British Columbia, Canada
Life after RTC:
A postal clerk in the Uganda Post Office, who opted to be a shop receptionist with Cooper Motor Corporation was overjoyed to learn he had been accepted to study engineering at the Royal Technical College in Nairobi.

I had no idea what engineering meant or for that matter any of the branches not unlike many others at that time. When I arrived at the College, I met my first and dear friend Rajnikant Patel and to us simpletons everybody who wore a tie had to be a professor. Hence, the first evening when we ran into Harpal Pawa and Noor Ali, both Rajni Patel and I greeted them with ?Good evening Sir?, only to learn the next morning that they were also first year students like us. This for me was the start of a life time of education and learning.

The first three years all of us studied the same subjects and in the final two years the programme split into Electrical, Mechanical and Civil groups. I am not sure how or why, but I kept passing all exams and in 1961 I was among that first batch of engineering graduates with a Diploma in Civil Engineering from the now Royal college, which was to become a university one year later.

I joined the Ministry of works at the Road Research Center in Kampala in the materials testing laboratory doing everything from Soils, Aggregates to Asphalt and Concrete, in fact all road building materials.

In September a scholarship to Britain sent me to work as a pupil engineer and progress towards membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers. I worked in Cardiff, South Wales and also studied advanced structures at the Welsh College of Advanced Technology. For site experience, Mowlem Construction hired me to work on the Wellesley Park Complex development in Croydon, Surrey.

Having passed the professional Interview I was back in Uganda in 1964 and at the Ministry of Works. I was amazed at the progress, from Site Engineer, to District Engineer, to Provincial Engineer and Chief Design and Documentation Engineer and then Chief Planning Engineer all in a span of 7 years. I moved to work for the World Bank from 1970 and left Uganda in 1976 after we felt that our children required us to move to stability.

How can I talk about children, I forgot to mention that I married Rajinder in 1968 and we had two children, Harpreet born in 1969 and Harinder born in 1974.

We decided to move to British Columbia, Canada. To my horror, I found myself overqualified and no one would hire me. I could not apply for a government job because I was not a citizen. Membership of Provincial Association of Engineers was also an obstacle in my efforts towards gainful employment.

In July Kaiser Engineers offered me a job in mining, a coal mine in South East BC, in a place called Sparwood. I had no options, so I started all over again as a Project Engineer. In four years I was Chief Engineer of the engineering group and my staff included some in Vancouver, some in Colorado and some in India.

In 1987, I changed employers and joined Teck Corporation in Logan Lake, in South Central BC. In 2002 retired as Chief Engineer and set up a small consulting practice specializing in hydraulic transportation. I play golf two days a week.

Rajinder provides settlement Counseling to new immigrants, we have four grand children, Raajin(7), Giann(5), Jeevyn(3) and Haarjun(2) My daughter Harpreet (Malvinder) is a Physician in Kelowna, BC and my son Harinder (Marlene) is an Oral Surgeon in the White Rock area in BC.

Life after RTC has been good, and friends from the good old days have made it richer.

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