Brian Wilson Baetz was raised in the small town of Walkerton, Ontario and grew up with the daily and seasonal rhythms of the majestic Saugeen River. He’s worked as a landscaper, construction worker, farm hand, KFC line cook, LCBO shelf stocker, highway and amusement park surveyor, consulting engineer and a university professor.   His bachelors and masters degrees in Civil Engineering are from the University of Toronto, and his PhD in Environmental Engineering is from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. 

Brian has spent over thirty years as a faculty member in the Department of Civil Engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.   He has taught engineering and inquiry concepts to thousands of undergraduate and graduate students across the Faculty of Engineering and in the Arts and Science Program.  Brian encourages his students to develop into integrated individuals through  deep skills development and with individual mentoring.  His excellence in teaching has been recognized through eight university teaching awards, including the President’s Teaching Award for Excellence in Instruction and the McMaster Student Union Lifetime Teaching Achievement Award. Brian’s research interests include sustainable and resilient communities, and hydrological and environmental systems analysis. His scholarly work has been published in over one hundred peer-reviewed journal papers, and has led to an expanding network of eighty five engineering professors from his graduate students (and their graduate students) across universities in Canada, USA, UK, China, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.  During Brian’s university career he was Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at McMaster University, Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana and  Director of McMaster’s Engineering and Society Program.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Brian has been actively engaged in open space conservation in Hamilton, through twenty five years of involvement with the birthing of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, Canada’s largest urban park and Canada’s most biologically diverse area for native plant species.  He also led a McMaster-based student club called Infinite Potential for ten years, with its focus on teaching meditation and related mindfulness practices for raising global consciousness. Brian lives with his family in Dundas, Ontario, where he balances his professional life with a daily meditation and Reiki self-treatment practice, as well as regular running and cycling at Hamilton’s waterfront.  He is also a creative writer, illustrator and a dabbler in many other creative pursuits.

Brian’s passion is to help and support young people to reach their fullest potential.  Brian can be reached at

Brian standing in the spray of the McCoy Foundry Fountain in Gore Park, in downtown Hamilton
Brian with University of Toronto survey party members, Mark Warbrick and Vito Cosentino, at Survey Camp near Dorset, ON