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Hamilton Health Sciences Home
September 29, 2016

Introducing… a millwright

Ed McCartan is a millwright in the Engineering Department. He has worked at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for ten years.

Ed McCartan was the 2015 recipient of the Pat Mandy Diversity Award, which is given to an HHS staff member who embraces understanding and demonstrates respect for the dignity of others. Nine years ago he founded a Narcotics Anonymous (NA)  group that meets weekly at McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC).

Faces of HHS: Ed McCartan

Favourite colour: sunshine/ vacation spot: Algonquin Park and Bay of Fundy/ music: Indie/ animal: lion/ food: ice cream

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Every day is different for me. When I arrive at work, I find out what needs my attention first, and get to work fixing that. It’s going to include food wagon carts, dish machines, belts and bearings. I also address breakdowns in the powerhouse, which include multistage pumps and various other equipment failures throughout the site.

Tell us about your first day at HHS.
It wasn’t quite my first day. I was hired at the McMaster University Medical Centre site. On day three of my new employment, I was being trained on the inner workings of the cogeneration plant by Dan Pearce. During the training, I was bored to death (as he would explain it). I dozed off during the afternoon session and when I woke up he thought it might be a good idea for me to attend the Employee Health Office.

After spending a few minutes at Employee Health, I went to go tell my site manager where I was. When I got back to Employee Health, they walked me upstairs to the emergency department to get things checked out. The doctor came to see me and started asking a bunch of questions. About four questions in, my heart stopped.

I woke up that night with a new pacemaker installed and I was on the road to recovery. I like to think of it as divine intervention. If I hadn’t already been there, who knows what would have happened.


What do you love most about your job?
I love the flexibility of it. Knowing I could be involved in repairing items that I’ve never been exposed to is exciting. I love the learning curve during that process.

What was it like to be recognized with the Pat Mandy Diversity Award?
At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to accept the award because, even in name, the group I founded is anonymous. I talked to my family though, and they encouraged me to do it.

Accepting the award was quite emotional because it made me think of all the things I’ve done over the years and where I’ve come from. It was really nice to be recognized and to give some attention to the issue of addiction.

What are your short and long term career goals?
Many of my goals for this year have been achieved and so I’m thinking of something new for next year. I want to stay healthy, be a grandfather, and lose weight.

I am looking into the possibility of starting lunch-time meetings for NA at the Hamilton General Hospital site. Because of the area, it’s a good place to meet the needs of people who struggle with drug abuse. I’d like to replicate what we have at MUMC at HGH.

I would also like to see Hamilton Health Sciences take a leadership role in assisting the less fortunate. I’d like to be involved in spearheading a pilot project where different community partners come together to support families in need.




HHS staff, volunteers and physicians can submit nominations for the Pat Mandy Diversity Award to starting October 1st. Visit for more information.