Councillor Candidate

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B.C. (Brent) Ward, P.Geo., FGC, FEC (Hon.) | Coquitlam, BC

I am honoured to be nominated to serve on Council; with my experience I feel I can make a significant, positive contribution. Since registration, I have always been involved in the Association. My time as Department chair is ending, so I can now dedicate sufficient time to this; I know the time commitment can be daunting. It is a critical time for the Association, with the new government regulation coming into force, we need to be diligent to not lose control of our profession.

I have extensive leadership skills and experience and knowledge of developing strategy, financial literacy, and human resources which will serve me well as a council member. I have held leadership roles in Association committee’s, other professional bodies and the University; I have been Chair of the Earth Sciences Department at SFU for 5 years. My leadership style is by consensus building, which although difficult, is important for achieving goals and aids in helping formulate strategies and implementing them. I am involved in departmental finances and also carry out research programs with large budgets.

I practice geoscience at a high level and train highly qualified professionals at both the undergraduate and graduate level. My extensive experience with EGBC means I have a good relationship with our excellent, hardworking staff. I feel that I can make a positive contribution to the stewardship of the association and hope you will support me.

Education

Ph.D. (Quaternary Geology), University of Alberta, 1993
B.Sc. (Geology), University of Alberta, 1986

Professional History

Professor, Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 1997–present (Chair, 2014–present)
Research Geomorphologist, Prince George Forest Region, Ministry of Forests, 1995–1997
Post-Doc/Research Scientist, Terrain Science Division, Geological Survey of Canada, 1992–1995

Engineers and Geoscientists BC Activities

Member, Site Characterization for Dam Foundation Guidelines, 2015–2016
Chair, Geoscience Academic Affairs Subcommittee, 2003–2016
Member, Geoscience Committee, 2000–2016
Member, Nominating Committee, 2006–2008      
Member, Division of Engineers and Geoscientists in the Forest Sector, 1997–2000 (Chair, 1997–1998)

RELATED PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

Associate Editor, Journal of Maps, 2012–present
Engineering and Geoscientists BC Representative Canadian Geoscience Standards Council, Geoscience Canada, 2004–present (Vice-Chair, 2010–present)
Councillor, Canadian Quaternary Association (CANQUA), 1998–2019 (Chair, 2007–2009)
Associate Editor, Journal of Sedimentary Research, 2012–2017  
Co-Chair, Fieldtrip Committee, Geological Society of America, 2013–2014           
Councillor (Geohistory), American Quaternary Association, 2010–2012    

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Various parent advisory council positions, Porter Elementary, Millard Middle School and Inquiry HUB secondary, 2000–2017  

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 the association?

The largest current issue facing the association is the government bringing in the Professional Governance Act. Although small, there is a chance we could lose control of the association, similar to what happened to the teachers a few years ago. It means we must be proactive to implement some changes ourselves rather than having rules imposed on us. Some of these changes may be difficult, but it is vital we provide leadership on this issue. It does provide the Association with an opportunity to modernize the act. Hopefully I can assist the association in navigating this difficult time.

The other issue facing the association is long term and relates to the balance between acting as a promoter for the members as well as holding members to account. This is always a difficult balance, and requires diligence. Although raising the profile of Geoscience and Engineering is very important, I do consider that it is vital that the association continue ensure members practice in a competent and ethical manner. I will encourage the association to continue and hopefully increase practice reviews.

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

Key issues for our profession are staying up to date and relevant in a rapidly changing world. New technologies, changing regulations and climate change all require life-long learning to provide our clients and stake holders with accurate, relevant information so they can make informed decisions. CPD is more relevant now than ever in our profession.

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

I envision a strong vibrant association that continues to balance ensuring qualified, competent, and innovative professional practice while raising the profile of the profession.

For Council to achieve its goals and meet its fiduciary responsibilities, Council has identified the need for diverse voices on Council, with a blend of the following skills and competences: leadership, financial literacy, risk management, human resources, strategy, regulatory understanding, governance and technical proficiency. Please highlight the areas of strength you bring to the role.

I have capability in all these competencies. I have displayed leadership in my current position at the university as well as with EGBC and other professional bodies. In these positions I have helped formulate and implement strategy on numerous issues such as, increasing enrolments and raising the profile of the Department, standardizing national entrance requirements for Professional Geoscientists, and recommendations for dam siting. Although not an accountant, I am familiar with finances and help run a department and large research projects. Risk management is a part of everything we do now. The Department is constantly weighting risks students are exposed to on fieldtrips and fieldschools against the learning outcomes we desire. Risk is also a part of choosing the correct person for faculty appointments and new graduate students; the costs of choosing poorly are large. To insure a fair selection process, diversity training is required before we are allowed to see any faculty applications to insure there is no hidden biases. Proper governance and human resources is integral to being chair. On a daily basis I have to deal with university rules and regulations in the form of collective agreements for the Faculty Association, the Teaching Support Staff Union, CUPE and APSA, plus policy and procedures from the University. Humane resources is involved in any complaint issues involving faculty, staff or students. I practice Geoscience at a high level, publishing my results in peer reviewed scientific journals, and train highly qualified professionals at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

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