GDC Fellow

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Paul-Michael Brunelle, FGDC

Paul is a man of passion, vision and devotion. An unshakable idealist with strongly held views, he is one of those rare individuals who can marry ideals with actions. Remarkably tenacious, he was instrumental in the consolidation of many of the standards and aspects the Society enjoys and often takes for granted today. As the chapter president in Atlantic Canada in the 1980’s, he developed and instituted model bylaws, painless portfolio review guidelines, job descriptions for all chapter chairs and roles, etc. These formed our basis when we started the Manitoba chapter in 1989, and which we further amended to apply to new chapters in Victoria and Saskatchewan as seeding documents later on.

A favorite dictum of his would read: Create once, use often. He is infamous for the disciplined implementation of standards to which the members of the GDC Atlantic responded years ago by buying him vanity plates reading “Benito.” To this day he is the only person I know that can turn his socks into art.

As National President he was instrumental in the implementation of the Penumbra study, which took an outside look at the GDC and what it’s potentials and recurring challenges were. He drove the O’Conner meeting, which was a four-day windowless meeting in Ottawa, which lead to the Elgin O’Conner Report, the results of which include initiatives such as: annual national planning meetings (we used to only have a meeting every two years, and it was really hard to get anything done); standardised stationery; coordinated terms of office in all Chapters; the exchange of information by the use of an early version of “the web” (he was instrumental in getting many of us modems for the first time, and to start real-time communication across the country). It also led to a national presence via a staffed secretariat in Ottawa (and we have continued to benefit from that today), the coordinated national collection of professional dues, a national Journal on graphic design, and the bulk of standards for the GDC User’s Manual.

Paul excells in several diverse areas as well as design, he is a biologist with a passion for dragonflies. He has a degree and background in fisheries biology, he has done a lot of research in both South and North America, and his extensive research in dragonflies has lead to his discovery of a new genus, which is now named after his son. Paul is also an author and working on (I believe) a comprehensive guide to dragonflies of North America.

Paul is also a very well-regarded designer, with a recent set of Canadian postage stamps to his credit and a long history of design excellence in Atlantic Canada. So, he is certainly a remarkable individual with a legacy of achievements for the GDC within the Atlantic Chapter and on the national level.


— Remarks by Robert L. Peters