• 2019 In Retrospective

  • As another AESAC training course season ends, I would like to thank and acknowledge all the participants and contributors who ensure the continued success of AESAC's training courses.  In 2019, AESAC had close to a hundred attendees for our Phase One and Two Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and Upstream Oil and Gas ESA training and certification courses conducted in Calgary, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario.  This broke down to 67% of all 2019 attendance occurring in Alberta (which includes the Alberta-specific Oil & Gas course) and 36% in Ontario. Of this year's attendees we experienced a wide and fairly representative geographic distribution, including, about 15% from British Columbia, 28% from Alberta, 13% from Saskatchewan, 29% from Ontario, 6% from Quebec, 3% from Prince Edward Island, and 6% from the Northwest Territories.  We also saw a wide range of professional disciplines and accreditations, comprised of Professional Geoscientists/Engineers/Agrologists/Foresters, Geologists, Hydrogeologists, and Applied Science & Engineering Technicians/Technologists.  The environmental industry as a whole was well represented with a good mix of environmental consultants, contractors, real estate and development professionals, government agencies, First Nations representatives, as well as students and recent graduates.  In addition to sharing knowledge it was a great forum for these diverse stakeholder groups to network, gain new contacts, and discuss potential opportunities.
    This year we had another great group of presenters and guest speakers from a variety of environmental sectors. These individuals provided excellent insight and up-to-date expertise that was well received by all who attended.  Environmental databases were explained to the Phase One course by several representatives from ERIS; including Carolyn Inglis, Mike Chester and Brayden Ford - thanks for your input into these valuable services for ESA practitioners. The Toronto Phase One attendees also enjoyed a very informative talk from Jacquie Stevens of Willms & Shier about some of the common legal and liability pitfalls for consultants, and how to avoid them. For those who haven't seen or experienced some of these complex legal issues first hand it was a real eye-opener.
    Justin Clarke of Maxim Environmental and Safety brought a variety of environmental sampling and monitoring equipment, free swag, and his hands-on knowledge to assist our Phase Two students.   Sheryl Sambrano from AGAT Laboratories in Calgary, and Dan Spasic from ALS Environmental in Calgary brought their expertise in analytical testing to the Phase Two sessions.   Thanks Dan for the prizes and your unique presentation approach in asking questions for the attendees to answer. The Upstream Oil and Gas course was again presented by Rani Wiedemann of McElhaney Consulting who always brings her expert knowledge and real-world expertise to the course. 
    Gary Jones is settling in well as AESAC's new Administrator, and I was happy to see Gary attending both the Phase 1 and 2 ESA courses this year to learn more about the professional activities and expertise of AESAC members.  I know Gary looks forward to assisting with the Certification process for his (now) fellow course attendees.  As always, AESAC's Training Director Erik Luzak provided amazing organization, and always keeps my extended out-of-town trips interesting and enjoyable.  AESAC would also like to acknowledge the staff at the Hotel Blackfoot in Calgary and the Monte Carlo Inn in Toronto for hosting us, feeding us, and permitting us to conduct our mock-up ESA site inspections at your respective facilities. 
    I am looking forward to meeting all the 2020 AESAC course attendees starting next May in Calgary and Toronto.  
    By Bill Leedham, P. Geo., CESA