If you follow ECO Canada, you’re more than likely aware that this year marks 20 years of EP Certification, and what better way to celebrate than to honour our first-ever EP Certified member – John Smythe.
John was sold on a career in the environmental sector when he came across an advertisement in a trade magazine for a new professional designation. He was instantly captivated by the idea of being among the first to hold a professional designation and he wanted in. Once he set his sights on his goal, he did what was needed to achieve it. In January 2001, John Smythe became the first EP Designated member.
His impressive and well-rounded experience in the sector began in the mid-1980s when he took on a Research and Development Technician role at Zenon Environmental. John soon went from testing new products on the Ultra Filtration Department to working a short stint with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment as an Outdoor Air Quality Technician. His tenacity, hard work and dedication to the field landed him a role as a Drinking Water Quality Supervisor with the County of Brant, where he has spent the last 18 years of his career.
John’s passion spans beyond the work he does to include the future development of junior environmental professionals and the industry as a whole. While he attributes his success to hard work, focus and truly enjoying the work he does, he also acknowledges that the support of his family and friends played an instrumental part in keeping grounded.
When asked what advice he would give to job-seeking environmental professionals and people just starting their careers, John shares:
“You can seldom go wrong by continuing to educate yourself. Always strive to stay on the cutting edge of information connected to your field. And when you’ve been granted an interview with someone, send a thank you note via snail mail. Sure, it might be old school, but it makes a huge difference o the person receiving it and you will be remembered.”
With such a colourful work history, it was shocking to learn that John often considers how his journey might have differed if he pursued a degree in geography and became a professional geologist. While he has always enjoyed the hands-on nature of his work, being in the field working on disinfection projects, whether treatment plants, new water mains or elevated storage tanks, he would have loved to work in mines across Northern Canada.
With a career spanning over 20 years, John has acquired a wealth of knowledge and never shies away from taking advantage of his EP Membership benefits, especially the Errors and Omissions and General Liability insurance discounts, to propel him on his path of career success.
We’ve loved having John as a part of our ECO Canada EP family, watching him grow and evolve over the years, both professionally and personally, into the leader that he is today
His passion for Canada’s environmental workforce is evident in the way he gives back to the industry when he’s on the clock and off. Over the last 15 years, John has been the President and CAO of NOVA Training and Development Inc., providing training to Drinking Water Operators and Systems across Ontario. We are eager to see what he does next.