Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Two families give $10 million to SAIT

October 22, 2010
By Mary Del

SAIT Polytechnic’s Trades and Technology Complex recently received a huge boost when the families of two SAIT alumni – David Johnson and Murray Cobbe – announced that they will each contribute $5 million to the school’s Promising Futures Campaign.

During a celebration with hundreds of students and staff, SAIT president and CEO Irene Lewis called the gifts inspiring.

“We are so very thankful for the generosity of the Johnson and Cobbe families,” says Lewis. “David and Murray are fine examples of what can be achieved through the power of inspiration, a lot of hard work and the knowledge gained through a polytechnic education. Their generosity will have significant impact on thousands of students each and every year, inspiring them to fulfill their own personal goals and achieve great results for Alberta’s economy.”

The funds will be put towards construction of the three buildings that will comprise SAIT’s Trades and Technology Complex. When completed in 2012, they will provide the campus with more than 740,000 square feet of new training space to accommodate up to 8,100 more apprenticeship and full-time students every year. Areas of study benefitting most from the new space will be energy, construction and manufacturing.


In recognition of the donations, the West Wing of the new Trades and Technology Complex will be named the “Johnson – Cobbe Energy Centre.” The facility will be more than 273,000 square feet and located near the centre of SAIT’s campus, completing the revitalization of the 14th Avenue entry from 14th Street to Heritage Hall. 

Johnson and Cobbe have more than 70 years of combined experience in the energy industry.

Johnson graduated from SAIT in 1976 from Petroleum Engineering Technology. He is the executive chairman of Progress Energy Resources Corp. and his experience includes production, reservoir evaluation and operations.

”We are impressed that SAIT is run like a business. SAIT’s board and management are accountable, responsible and effective. We truly believe that giving to education is the right thing to do and we, like other donors before us, know our contribution will be used purposefully,” says Johnson. 

Cobbe graduated from SAIT’s Petroleum Engineering (Reservoir) program in 1970 and has worked primarily in the well services business. 

"We have a real connection to SAIT as it represents the start of our careers. Our education provided us and many others with the basis to succeed,” says Cobbe, the executive chairman of Trican Well Service. “Providing this gift and giving others the opportunity to build a career is one of the most meaningful things I’ve been able to do. It will leave a lasting legacy."

For more information on the Trades and Technology Complex, visit

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