Councillor Candidate

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B.K. (Brent) Lyon, P.Eng. | North Vancouver, BC

This candidate has been nominated by the Nominating Committee.

Engineers and Geoscientists BC was founded to uphold and protect the public interest and safety. Delivering on this not only requires enforcement and standards, but also advocacy. Strong ethics and quality of work alone do not guarantee success.

I support initiatives and alliances that allow us to do good work, plain and simple. I support efforts to implement bidding practices like QBS, as it allows engineers and geoscientists to focus on doing quality, efficient work, rather than simply undercutting rates. I support diversity initiatives such as 30-by-30 because it brings a greater talent base and fresh perspectives into our ranks. I support CPD requirements as they align with our position as a self-governing association of professionals trusted to provide up-to-date technical advice. Where the need for an engineer or geoscientist is being marginalized, I support efforts to ensure public safety comes first. So, if a non-engineer/geoscientist feels they can probably design a retaining wall, I’m going to push back. Hard.

In my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to have candid discussions with thousands of engineers and geoscientists, typically talking about both the work they enjoy as well as their frustrations. More often than not, the “ask” takes the form of getting to quality work. I view this as not only reasonable, it is also admirable. We have allies in industry, government and the general public that support us in this endeavour – let’s make that happen.

Education

B.A.Sc. (Chemical Engineering), University of British Columbia, 1996

Professional History

Principal, Lyon Consulting, 2015–present
Partner / National Practice Leader (Engineering) / Senior Consultant, David Aplin Group, 2006–2015

Engineers and Geoscientists BC Activities

Executive Member, Sea to Sky Branch, 2007–present (Vice Chair, 2016–2017, Chair, 2017–present)
Guest Speaker, University Industry Nights / ITEG / Career Development Events, 2009–present
Member, Employer Advisory Committee, 2017
Event Chair, Popsicle Bridge Competition, 2007–2014

Related Professional Activities

Panelist Speaker (Audience – International Professionals), IEBCA / NSMS / Training Innovations, 2015–present
Presenter / Volunteer Interviewer (Audience – Mature Jobseekers), LoganHR / Minerva, 2011–present
Keynote / Panelist Speaker (Audience – Students & New Graduates), UBC / SFU / WEC / GSA, 1999–present


Q&A with Candidates

Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the regulatory authority charged with protecting the public interest with respect to the practice of engineering and geoscience in the province of BC. What is the key challenge facing Engineers and Geoscientists BC?

The erosion of trusted and respected professional status of engineers and geoscientists in BC, at the expense of public safety and efficient projects. This pressure comes in many forms. It can be tender documents that focus almost entirely on price. There is also the practice of offshoring engineering and geoscience services, then having a local professional approve designs with which he/she had little oversight. There are some groups lobbying for certain engineering and geoscience services to no longer require the stamp of a Professional Engineer or Geoscientist (e.g. Phase 1 environmental assessments, retaining walls, etc.). In every case, the initial project cost is marginally reduced while the public is exposed to increased safety risks, greater life-cycle costs and project overruns.

What are the key issues facing the engineering and/or geoscience professions?

  1. Maintaining the privilege of self-governance by continuing to earn the public’s trust.
  2. Keeping pace with technology and industry so that engineering and geoscience oversight isn’t left behind.
  3. Inclusivity – eradicating any systemic prejudices that prevent talent from being brought into our ranks.
  4. The “silver tsunami” – ensuring the next generation of engineers and geoscientists are well prepared and mentored so they can take on increased responsibilities as boomers retire.

Looking five years ahead, what is your vision for Engineers and Geoscientists BC as a professional regulatory body in BC?

I see increased advocacy to ensure that the public sees us as a trusted entity founded and focused on the protection of the public interest. This helps both businesses and companies recognize the value that engineers and geoscientists deliver, and also supports our interest in continuing to be a self-governing association. I also see closer collaboration with industry associations (ACEC-BC, CIM, etc.) and all three levels of government. There’s no need for Engineers and Geoscientists BC to go-it-alone on many of our initiatives, especially when they are in pursuit of improved public safety, diversity, and economically viable projects.

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