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Sandra Machan and Bonnie Neglia
Civil and Environmental Engineering

For Sandra Machan and Bonnie Neglia coming to work every day could become a hard habit to break – after a combined 63 years of employment at the University of Waterloo (45 of those in civil and environmental engineering) both are retiring from the civil and environmental engineering department. The last day of work for Machan, the chair’s secretary, and Neglia, the department’s administrative assistant, is December 23, although their official retirement dates are March 1.

Machan says what attracted her to the department 22 years ago was that it seemed like an interesting place to work. She still feels the same way today.

“Until you start working here I don’t think you realize how diversified engineering is – there are so many different aspects to it. Civil and environmental engineering is a good example of this with water, solid mechanics and construction, transportation and geological engineering.”

Words Machan and Neglia use to describe their years in engineering include rewarding, memorable and growth . . . lots of growth. Neglia says it has been the biggest change she’s experienced since she began working in the department in 1988.  “The ever-growing number of research programs added a new dimension to my administrative and financial accountability. This has made my job more challenging and more interesting as well.”

Neil Thomson, chair of civil and environmental engineering, says Machan and Neglia have been “an extreme pleasure to work with” and will be missed by him and the rest of the department.

“They have been essential to the functioning of the department and have always ensured that all activities run smoothly,” he says. “I thank them for their commitment, attention to detail and sense of humour.”

For Machan, retirement will mean more time for “grandparenting” one day a week, or when her daughter calls in a panic, gardening, travelling, camping and possibly volunteering in the community.  Neglia’s plans also include travelling as well as flying excursions in her husband’s plane, helping out at her dad’s retirement home and “a bit of running.” 
The reason Machan and Neglia have worked for the department for as long as they have is also what they’ll miss most about their jobs – the people.

“We’re not only co-workers, we’re like family. We are always there to help each other.” Neglia says. “I have enjoyed coming to work every single day.”