Richard Hearn

Richard Lankaster Hearn, civil engineer, administrator, nuclear power pioneer (b at Toronto 18 May 1890; d there 24 May 1987).

Hearn, Richard Lankaster

Richard Lankaster Hearn, civil engineer, administrator, nuclear power pioneer (b at Toronto 18 May 1890; d there 24 May 1987). On graduating from the University of Toronto in civil engineering (1913), he was one of the earliest engineers to join the staff of the fledgling ONTARIO HYDRO, becoming assistant engineer of construction in 1918. From 1921 to 1930 he gained further experience as assistant chief engineer of the Washington Water Power Co, Spokane, but he returned to Canada to join Dr H.G. Acres as chief engineer of his newly formed consultancy. From 1934 to 1942 he carried out notable works as chief engineer of the Dominion Construction Co.

Returning to Ontario Hydro in 1942, he was almost immediately loaned to be chief engineer for the building of the Polymer synthetic rubber plant at Sarnia, Ont. In operation in less than 12 months, this was one of Canada's greatest construction achievements. Hearn's work with Ontario Hydro continued until his retirement in 1956, successively as chief engineer (1945), general manager and chief engineer (1947) and chairman (1955). He thus guided Ontario Hydro through its most dramatic expansion, directed the complex conversion of its whole system to 60 cycles and fostered its first venture into the development of nuclear power.