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Mr. Tom Mitchell

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology strives to turn innovative ideas into practical solutions was delighted to celebrate Tom Mitchell’s achievements and contributions in nuclear engineering, low carbon electricity generation, and innovative industry leadership as an inspiration to all.

Mr. Mitchell has a long and distinguished career in the nuclear industry, which extends from his early work as a nuclear power engineer in the United States Navy, to being President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Power Generation (OPG). Prior to leading OPG, he was the utility's Chief Nuclear Officer responsible for the safe and reliable operation of the Darlington and Pickering nuclear stations. Before joining OPG, he held senior positions at PECO Energy, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the World Association of Nuclear Operators in Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout his career, he has dedicated his life’s work to ensuring the safe, reliable and environmentally responsible production of nuclear energy in North America.

His commitment to safe and clean energy helped advance OPG’s progress in drilling a massive tunnel at Niagara Falls to divert water from the Niagara River to the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station. Using the world’s largest hard rock tunnel boring machine (called Big Becky), and having persevered through numerous technical and physical challenges, OPG – under Mr. Mitchell’s leadership – has succeeded in creating a four-storey high tunnel more than 10 kilometers long beneath the City of Niagara Falls. This extraordinary feat of engineering has strengthened Ontario’s ability to meet its energy needs from clean sources for the next century.

In addition, Mr. Mitchell is committed to working in partnership with First Nation and Métis communities. His unwavering belief in openness, transparency and respect has contributed to a long-term collaborative partnership with the Moose Cree First Nation to generate additional hydroelectric power with minimal impact on the environment. The $2.6-billion project is the largest hydroelectric construction project in northern Ontario in 40 years and is creating hundreds of jobs for the local community. Under his leadership, OPG has worked closely with its First Nation partner to ensure that locations of cultural, heritage or archaeological significance are not disturbed by the project’s work, while supporting sustainable development and strengthening the regional economy.

He has also worked hard to develop a culture of respect and inclusiveness within OPG - a diverse group of about 12,000 employees, from many different trades, professions and skill sets. Mr. Mitchell has continued to ensure the development of programs that inspire and encourage employees to perform their jobs well and to achieve their full potential.

He was named Chair of the Governing Board of the Atlanta Centre for the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), which led a special post-Fukushima commission to make recommendations on the ways in which WANO can improve its programs and structure in the wake of the 2011 accident in Japan. He was named to serve on the Board of Directors of the Electric Power Research Institute in the United States.

Mr. Mitchell is also an ardent proponent of Durham Region in the Greater Toronto Area and a steadfast supporter of OPG’s volunteer contributions to the quality of life within the Oshawa area. He was also named to the Board of Directors of Oshawa’s Parkwood Foundation, one of Canada’s premier National Historic Sites.