Robert Rehder, professional engineer, enjoyed a stellar 47 year career with General Electric Canada, and retired to consulting work on high voltage switch gears and insulation systems. The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority has observed, “Mr. Rehder’s vision, leadership qualities, community pride, his skills and passion have provided opportunities for youth education in forest ecosystem management, for volunteer involvement in conservation, the restoration of the historic Hope Mill…” and more.
The Hope Mill was originally for carding and fulling but was converted to a sawmill in 1892. The task of restoring the mill was complex, as Rehder’s group fixed the foundations, repaired machinery and built a solar powered kiln for drying lumber, among countless other tasks. It took “time, energy and wisdom” to get this gem running again.
Rehder has won the Centennial Medal of the Institute of Electronic Engineers, the Engineering Excellence Award, and the Citizenship Award of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. The Hope Mill project itself won several heritage accolades in 2003 and 2004, including an award from the Ontario Heritage Foundation.