CUPE Member Profile – Graham Galway

Having completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemistry right here at Carleton, Graham Galway went on to accept a professional position in the very department he was academically trained.

Ten years since taking the job, Graham continues to put his highly honed skillset to work as Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator in Carleton’s Chemistry Department.  Recently, he took on another vital role – Chair of Health and Safety for CUPE2424.

Graham was generous enough to share his experience at Carleton as both a student and professional staff, his aspirations as Chair of Health and Safety for 2424, and his off-campus talent as a Master Carpenter for the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society.

Read on for his interview with Communications Committee member, Nick Ward.

Graham, as the Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator, could you explain to us your role here at Carleton University?

As a Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator, I run undergraduate teaching labs where students learn the techniques and instruments that are used in Analytical chemistry to determine the concentration of analytes in many things.  An example would be determining the amount of Fluoride present in a water sample.  I also supervise and work with the Teaching Assistants to provide the student with the learning they require to move on and become chemists.

Wow.  Awesome stuff. I understand you’re just about to celebrate your 10th anniversary in the job. Congrats! You also completed both your undergrad and Master’s here. Could you reflect on your time as a member of the Carleton community?

I started my Undergraduate here like many students because not having to move out of Ottawa saved me a ton of resources.  I stayed for a masters because I found the research being done in the Chemistry Department to be very interesting.  In a way, I fell into my job.  As I was finishing my Masters, I had applied to U Ottawa for a B.Ed and was waiting to hear back, when the previous Lab Coordinator told me he had decided to retire. He thought I would be a good fit for the position, so I applied, and here I am with almost ten years under my belt.  I have enjoyed my time here and found Carleton to be a great place to work.  My fellow members of CUPE 2424 are amazing people, who along with the Graduate, Undergraduate, Faculty, Administrators make Carleton a great place.

Why did you choose to become the new Chair of Health and Safety for 2424 and also a member of the Joint Health and Safety Committee?

I became a worker member of the Joint Health and Safety Committee because there was a vacancy that needed to be filled. The Committee wanted someone with a science background to help ensure the safety of the research and teaching labs found on campus.  After sitting on the JHSC for a year, the Worker Co-Chair position came up for election. People had mentioned to me that they thought I would make a good candidate for the job, but I felt that a years’ worth of experience with Carleton JHSC was not enough for me to take it on. Also, the Chair of the CUPE 2424 H & S Committee was vacant. Then, in conversation with another CUPE 2424 member, and my friend who was also on the JHSC, we discovered that we all believed that taking on both positions for one person was too much considering our regular duties.  So, we agreed that my friend would take on the Co-Chair of the JHSC, and I would take on the CUPE 2424 H&S Committee Chair.  These two positions are similar in that they deal with maintaining and improving the healthy, safe workplace that is Carleton University.

Why is engagement with 2424 and its membership meaningful?

CUPE 2424 represents one of the most substantial communities of Carleton U, so engaging with the union and its membership is essential.  Union members touch just about every department, building, and area of the University, so they are a crucial link to not only keeping CU running but in keeping the workplace safe and healthy for all employees.

Graham, I hear you’re also interested in the creative arts.  Can you tell us about your work with the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society?

I began with Orpheus in the late ’90s, where I volunteered in the workshop to help build sets and volunteered backstage as stage crew.  I progressed in set building by acting as apprentice to the Master Carpenter for the 1998 production of Li’l Abner and served as Co-master Carpenter on the 1998 Signin’ in the Rain production. I moved up in the backstage crew by acting as the Assistant Stage Manager on the 1998 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I then apprenticed to the Stage Manager on the 1999 production of Fiddler on the Roof.

From there, I began my post-secondary education and could not continue to donate the time required to continue working on productions.

However, I got back to working with Orpheus by acting as Master Carpenter and Technical Director on the 2017 production of Shrek: The Musical.  As the MC and TD, I am responsible for the set design from the Set Designer to make working drawings for builders to work from.  I am also depended upon to get the set built. As the TD, I am in charge of moving and installing the set at the performance venue, Meridian Theatre at Centrepointe.  The TD is also relied on for special effects during the run of the show.

I have continued with Orpheus since my return on Shrek, and I volunteered as set construction and stagehand on Grease in March 2018 and as set construction for Mamma Mia in June of 2018.  I took on the roles of Co-Set Designer, Master Carpenter, and Technical Director for the production of The Last Five Years in September 2018.  I took on the positions of Master Carpenter and Technical Director for November 2018 production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  I volunteered to build sets for Sister Act in March 2019.  I am currently volunteering on the Orpheus current production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as set builder and stagehand. For the coming season, I will be the Stage Manager for Matilda and the Master Carpenter and Technical Director for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

Coming up at The Orpheus:

  • Rock of Ages, March 6 – 15, 2020, Meridian Theaters, Centrepointe
  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder May 29— June 7, 2020, Meridian Theaters, Centrepointe

A big thank-you to Graham for sharing his insights and experience at Carleton, CUPE 2424, and beyond.