Daryl Wilson: Shaping a sustainable future

Daryl WilsonDaryl Wilson, a distinguished 1982 alumnus from the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry (ChemE) at U of T, has emerged as a visionary international business leader at the forefront of the hydrogen revolution. With a remarkable background in spearheading successful organizations and championing environmental and sustainability initiatives, Daryl has achieved significant milestones and left an indelible mark in various sectors.

Daryl’s journey began with a deep-rooted connection to environmental stewardship. His father’s bust stands on “Wilson Way” in the center of one of Canada’s largest sewage plants, serving as a humbling reminder of the impact he had on Daryl’s early calling to be a “pollution fighter.” This experience fueled Daryl’s passion for making a difference in the world.

After graduating from ChemE, Daryl embarked on a career that showcased his leadership and commitment to environmental excellence. He started his professional journey at DOFASO in Hamilton, where he was mentored by Norm Lockington, a renowned leader in the field of Health Safety and Environment. There, Daryl gained valuable insights and laid the foundation for his future endeavors.

Daryl’s talent and dedication soon caught the attention of industry giants, leading him to join TOYOTA Motor Manufacturing in Cambridge as the VP of Manufacturing. It was during this time that Daryl and his team achieved remarkable success, receiving top North American honours with a Gold Plant Award and leading the automotive industry in productivity and safety. The plant also became a recognized leader in environmental practice, pioneering the first 100% water recycle process in automotive operations. Daryl’s experience at TOYOTA exposed him to the world-class operating discipline of the TOYOTA production system, shaping his leadership style and approach to efficiency.

With a thirst for innovation and a desire to make a broader impact, Daryl ventured into the entrepreneurial part of his career by joining ZENON Environmental. His leadership and operational expertise played a pivotal role in scaling up the business, driving down costs, and resolving early product issues, ultimately ensuring the company’s profitability. After his time at ZENON Environmental, Daryl’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to excellence continued to thrive. He embarked on new endeavors that further showcased his leadership and dedication to making a difference in the world.

Daryl’s career took an extraordinary turn when he had the opportunity to work with another great leader, Larry Blanford, on the turnaround and sale of Royal Group Technologies. This experience further enriched Daryl’s skill set and sharpened his strategic vision.

However, the great culmination of Daryl’s career came when he assumed the role of CEO at Hydrogenics, a leading provider of fuel cell and electrolysis technologies. Leading a talented team, Daryl played a pivotal role in delivering some of the world’s most outstanding hydrogen projects. This included the world’s first power-to-gas project with E.ON in Germany, fuel cell power modules for buses in China, and the world’s first fuel cell trains in public service. One of the team’s greatest achievements was the recent delivery of the world’s largest PEM electrolysis project for Air Liquide in Quebec. This groundbreaking work solidified Daryl’s status as a thought leader and innovator in the hydrogen industry.

Today, Daryl serves as the Executive Director of the Hydrogen Council, an esteemed position he assumed in October 2020. Collaborating closely with the Council’s Board and Co-chairs, he has been instrumental in building the foundation of a dynamic industry marketplace, positioning hydrogen as a key player in the world’s energy transition. Daryl’s exceptional leadership drives global advocacy efforts, representing the Hydrogen Council among prestigious international organizations, national and regional hydrogen associations, and influential investment-focused forums. His influential presence and expertise shape the very future of hydrogen, enabling it to become a cornerstone of sustainable energy solutions worldwide.

Throughout his remarkable journey, Daryl has maintained a deep connection to ChemE. He actively contributed to shaping ChemE’s strategic direction, fostering excellence, and inspiring future engineers as a member of the department’s Board of Advisors from 2013-2020. His outstanding career accomplishments were recognized with induction into the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering’s Hall of Distinction in 2022.

Based in Ontario, Canada, Daryl stands as a driving force behind the hydrogen revolution, propelling the industry forward and shaping the global landscape of sustainable energy. His enduring commitment to innovation, coupled with his profound expertise in the field, solidifies his status as a groundbreaker and thought leader in the transition to a more sustainable future.

Daryl’s remarkable journey exemplifies the transformative power of engineering and serves as an inspiration for engineers worldwide. For new graduates, Daryl’s accomplishments stand as a powerful testament to what can be achieved with dedication and passion. His journey serves as a reminder that success is not solely defined by accomplishments but also by the positive influence one has on the world. As Daryl shares, “Stay true to your values, embrace challenges, and never underestimate your ability to make a difference.”