Hear about the benefits of EP Certification from Kyle Paddon, Environmental Manager with Golder Associates.
What interested you in the environmental field when you started out in your education/career?
My exposure to and interest in the environmental field started while I was a junior geotechnical technician. I graduated college with a 2-year Geological diploma from Sir Sandford Fleming College located in Lindsay, Ontario.
My first career opportunity led me to Chicago, Illinois, where I worked my first summer developing a new 4-acre cell within an existing and operating landfill in nearby Rochester, Indiana. This experience was an incredible challenge. I worked 12 hours, 6 days a week in an active landfill, and had several responsibilities as the onsite geotechnical engineering technician.
I honed my surveys skills that I learned in College, conducted daily compaction testing, and completed lift maps related to the imported material hauled onto the site from large articulating Volvo A40D haul trucks and loaded by a Hitachi EX750 (very large equipment!), including geotechnical laboratory analysis.
This experience led me to find an opportunity with Golder Associates Ltd. (Golder) in 2003 in their Abbotsford office as a geotechnical technician. While working in a relatively small office, you learn to wear many hats, and I started to be involved in more and more environmental-related work, particularly in the fields of environmental monitoring and management that drew on my construction and engineering background. I have always been eager to learn new skills and further my earth sciences knowledge, which has been my passion for several years.
Why did you choose to become an EP?
My top reason for becoming an EP was that my environmental management, monitoring, and auditing experience was outpacing my geotechnical opportunities and interests. I became an Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC) Civil Technician (C.Tech) in 2006.
Since my background was focused on earth sciences and not biology I could not seek an RPBio designation, I was looking for other professional designations where my earth sciences education and my expanding environmental work experience would be reflected, and that would provide me with a means to communicate my expertise and advance my career.
Has being an EP been valuable for your career? If so, how?
Becoming an EP has promoted my credibility to my client base, as well as to my fellow colleagues, by demonstrating my knowledge and experience. It also has been a great way to showcase and promote to ECO Canada my passion as an EP.
Last year I became one of 21 nationally approved trainers with ECO Canada, developing and delivering training courses with a focus on environmental legislation, auditing, and monitoring. I had the pleasure of being a keynote speaker at an engagement with ECO Canada sponsored by Simon Fraser University (SFU) in February 2016.
I have also been a co-guest lecturer at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Civil Engineering graduating classes in 2012 and 2013 speaking to the implementation phases of projects subject to Environmental Assessment Certificates.
Where do you see the most value in being EP certified? What are the benefits for you personally?
Personally, being EP certified validates my passion for environmental awareness in my own life as well as my career. I also see a tremendous value in connecting environmental practitioners through ECO Canada.
I continue to meet and collaborate with fellow EPs, and without ECO Canada providing a national membership, I would not be able to connect with so many other colleagues so efficiently.
From a business perspective, what value does EP bring as a certification/qualification?
As a consultant, our clients’ value reliance on professionals that are qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable in their discipline. ECO Canada’s 14 environmental designations for certification provide a knowledge base that reflects several environmental disciplines nationally. To me, this is its greatest value and strength.
Has your EP certification (or EP in general) benefitted your company? If so, how?
EP certification benefits my company by retaining staff that are affiliated with professional designations. Not all staff are able to qualify for other designations, and EP certification provides designations that are particularly tailored to the work we do in environmental assessments, management, monitoring, and auditing.
This is more of an industry-driven designation than other applicable environmental designations.
Building, maintaining, and growing a consulting company such as Golder requires a depth of expertise and recognized professionals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds. This is one of many successful attributes that makes Golder a leader in the global market.
Would you recommend EP to a colleague? If so, what would you say that would convince them of its value?
I would recommend environmental practitioners seek the EP designation for several reasons. To my knowledge, there is no other national environmental professional membership. It is unique, has a broad membership base, and has several discipline areas.
ECO Canada also provides ongoing training, support, and career searching tools for those seeking employment in the environmental sector. Whether you are an experienced practitioner or are a graduate seeking employment opportunities, ECO Canada can help.
Are there any areas of development or opportunities you would like to see from EP?
ECO Canada continues to develop and provide ongoing training and options for continued learning. It also provides links to certification, jobs, and research. These areas of focus are ever-changing and I am eager to see ECO Canada continue to develop and promote environmental resources.
ECO Canada should strive to continue to increase its national and provincial exposure and recognition as recognized qualified environmental professionals.