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Our History

Our History

C.W. Carry Chair

C.W. (Bill) Carry

The C. W. Carry Chair in Steel Structures, established in February 1994, is the result of a generous gift from the Carry Family in honour of Mr. C. W. (Bill) Carry, in recognition of his significant achievements in steel structural engineering.

Bill Carry is recognized in Western Canada as a pioneer in the steel construction business, and his construction skills in steel structure engineering are responsible for a number of Alberta’s landmarks. The downtown Edmonton skyline reflects the design work of Bill Carry in the Milner Building and Oxford Tower in Edmonton Centre. Manulife Place, a distinctive building of its size, is the result of an innovative structural steel framing system carried out by the Carry firm. Other testaments to Bill Carry’s construction skills are the defense-related work at Namao, Greisbach, and Cold Lake, Syncrude and the Great Canadian Oil Sands plants at Fort McMurray, the Scotford oil refinery and Redwater petrochemical plants in the Edmonton area, and the Daishowa and Alpac forest product plants in northern Alberta.

Born in Winnipeg, Bill Carry first attended St. John’s College and then the University of Manitoba, where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1926 and an MSc degree in 1929. Bill Carry worked his way through all the plant engineering jobs at Dominion Bridge, and then moved to Calgary in 1936, where he worked as a sales engineer with a subsidiary of Dominion Bridge – Riverside Iron Works, until 1945.

At this time, Bill Carry and his wife, Muriel, formed CW Carry Ltd., a company that started out cleaning used oil drums for Imperial Oil. The discovery of oil in the province along with the healthy post-war economy resulted in the firm rapidly establishing itself as a supplier and fabricator of structured steel and a major business enterprise in the Province of Alberta, which flourishes to this day. In 1958, the firm was sold to Canadian Iron Foundries (now Canron), with Bill Carry being retained as Regional Vice-President and a Director of the company. In 1967, Bill Carry and his son, Roger, established CW Carry (1967) Ltd., and in 1971 they purchased the assets of CW Carry Ltd. from Canron. They constructed the existing Carry plant in 1974, designing it to accommodate the medium structural steel market as well as to recognize the savings to be made in the efficient handling and movement of steel inventories. It was also in 1974 that Bill Carry sold the balance of his interest in the firm to Roger, retaining his position as President until his death in 1992.


The objectives of the Chair are to advance, enhance, and promote the use of steel in buildings, bridges, and other structures. This is done by continuing and strengthening the strong research program that already existed in this area in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and by a strong commitment to education.

Chairholder of the C.W. Carry Chair in Steel Structures

The first person to hold the Chair is Prof. G.L. Kulak, P.Eng., a long-time staff member at the University of Alberta and a person known for his national and international contributions to steel research. Dr. Kulak held the Chair position from the establishment of the Chair to June 30, 1997, one year after his retirement from the University of Alberta.

In February 1998, Dr. J.J. Roger Cheng accepted the C.W. Carry Chair from Prof. G.L. Kulak. Dr. Cheng joined the University of Alberta in July 1984 and has been actively involved in teaching and research in the area of steel structures. Under the new chair of Dr. Cheng, the University of Alberta continues to strengthen the internationally recognized research activities in steel structures established by Dr. Kulak and others in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.