Meet our Members!

We feature a short Q&A with a CWRA member in our biweekly e-newsletter. This page is a compilation of those features.

If you would like to subscribe to our e-newsletter, you can sign up here.

momgregs

Everyone say hello to Greg Schellenberg, the new President of the Manitoba Branch. Greg is a perfect example of the value of our SYP. He joined early in his undergraduate studies, stuck around to take advantage of networking and professional support, and has now taken on a leadership role in CWRA. Thanks Greg, we’re looking forward to working with you!

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I work for Hatch (a multidisciplinary engineering and professional services firm) as a Hydrotechnical Engineer. I like the variety that comes with my job – I work on a wide range of projects for clients all over the world, so I’m always learning something new. My hydrotechnical colleagues in the Winnipeg office are also pretty great!2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I first joined CWRA back in 2011 when I was a student at the University of Manitoba. It was great to be a part of an enthusiastic community of water resources students, and I eventually became the president of the local CWRA-SYP (Students and Young Professionals) chapter. My involvement with CWRA continued through my studies and into my professional life, and I still enjoy being part of the fantastic water resources community here in Manitoba and across Canada!

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
I like being able to connect and collaborate with people with a range of backgrounds, professions, and experiences, all of whom are united by one seemingly simple thing: water. I like that CWRA presents opportunities to expand my perspective on water and to learn how we can collaborate to manage this precious resource more effectively.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
I am most excited to enjoy a live concert or sporting event – in particular, a Winnipeg Jets game!

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
My wife and I bought our first house during the pandemic, so I’ve learned a lot about my home renovation/upkeep abilities (or lack thereof?).

mommaggier

Ok, it’s my turn to introduce myself! Maggie here – CWRA Executive Director and slightly irreverent creator of the eblasts.

There’s a meme out there about moms never being in photos. And it’s true. When you’re the one with the camera (and anyone who knows me knows I NEVER go anywhere without one) there’s a real danger of not ever appearing in a picture. So here’s one of the last ones of me that I could find. Me at age three. Thanks Mom.

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
Well, I’m a professional biologist with an interest in rivers, particularly riparian ecology, but here I am – the Executive Director of CWRA. What do I like about it? Pretty much everything – I get to work with bright, talented, engaged, and committed water people every day. Good for the mind; good for the soul.

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I joined the Alberta Branch of CWRA in 2005 when I returned to university for a second graduate degree. I spent a number of years on the executive as the Project WET rep – a perfect fit for me.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
In my role at CWRA I get to discuss (and enthusiastically debate) the best ways to strengthen and support  the water resource community in Canada and then try to turn those discussions into action. I get to use my science (and science communication) background to engage with a broad range of stakeholders and CWRA members. And while I’m pretty keen, I’m pragmatic. A good combo for this position, I think.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
I desperately want to get on a plane. Any plane. Any destination. I used to write a blog called “The World Outside Your Window” and anyone who has ever travelled with me knows I ALWAYS get the window seat. After literally decades of taking and teaching university-level physical geography and geomorphology, I miss putting those air photo interpretation skills to use! (And yes, I know no one calls it “air photo interpretation” anymore – sheesh.)

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
I’ve always thrived with an equal balance between high-energy people-powered chaos and quiet alone time. Last year taught me that perhaps I’m inching towards 65-35 in favour of solitude.

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To most of us at CWRA, Lizabeth Nicholls is the face of (and the force behind) Project WET. Many of us have had to pivot this year to do things differently, but Project WET managed to navigate a full shift to online delivery of this valuable CWRA program. FYI: As of December 2020, Project WET has trained 13,097 educators in 769 workshops, who potentially reach well over a quarter of a million school-aged youth each year, in both English and French.

Thanks for your leadership and dedication Lizabeth!

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I am an educator. I have been interested in the environment since I was very young and took walks in “the woods” (a square mile of virgin Carolinian forest) with my parents. Our home was in the countryside, in the Thames River Valley, near London, Ontario, so I spent a lot of time in the out of doors exploring.Currently, I am the National Education Coordinator for Project WET Canada and have held this position for the past nine years. Previously, I was the Saskatchewan Project WET Coordinator since 1996 when I assisted Russell Boals and Ed Dean in fundraising and in bringing Project WET to Canada through the CWRA Saskatchewan Branch.What I love about the work is the people, the CWRA members who participate, the provincial and territorial Coordinators, and the Senior Facilitator Leaders throughout Canada. They are dedicated individuals who are working to keep water resources sustainable and to see good water quality available for all Canadians, through the Project WET Water Education Program.

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I joined in 2012.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
It is intellectually challenging and energizing to work with professionals who are so passionate about their volunteer work through the CWRA programming. Also, being a charitable, non-profit ENGO, through CWRA we can take positive action for education and the environment that is otherwise difficult to achieve through government or other big organizations.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
All the Coordinators and Facilitators are looking forward to high energy, high engagement in-person Project WET workshops!

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
Since the Pandemic began, I learned that I am a problem solver. Collaborating with our Assistant Education Coordinator, Maxine Koskie, and our other Project WET Coordinators and Facilitators, we have found ways to re-invent Project WET activities to be able to deliver them virtually, while still maintaining the hands-on aspect of those learning activities. While not normally confident learning new computer skills, I have now learned how to use Zoom for meetings and presentations and to feel comfortable in that environment.

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Everyone say hi to Jason Chiang. Jason is a member of the BC Branch and National SYP and he is a dynamo! He hasn’t been with us long, but he’s certainly made up for lost time by launching himself full speed into our activities. Jason had a “professional” photo we could have used for his profile, but this is the Jason we know; big ol’ smile and in front of a keyboard (probably mixing music!)

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I’m currently working as a Water Resource Technologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development, which I started recently. I wouldn’t say I have much of a career right now, as I only finished my undergraduate degree a few months ago, but I’ve done work in the past involving research, wastewater safety, and environmental testing during my studies. Water is my passion, so I’ll continue focusing my career towards water resources and wastewater in the future — I’m hoping to contribute to solving global water issues as a long-term career goal!

Other than lining up with my interests, I like my current position because there’s a great balance between field work and office work. I like to go outdoors, get some sunshine, and get hands-on, but I also enjoy using software and digging into the data indoors. I believe having a good balance between field and office work creates a stronger bridge between the data collection and data analysis, and is useful to see the big picture of a project. Another aspect I enjoy with my work is the objective-based nature of it (versus being prescriptive). Instead of having specific tasks to get done, there is a complex objective to meet with many possible pathways to get there. Exploring the different options to get to the objective is always super interesting.

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I joined in March 2020, so relatively recently. I got involved with the BC Water and Waste Association from a school professor, and I branched out to find the CWRA through some collaborative events and googling. Since then, I’ve been helping out with the SYP (Students and Young Professionals) group, the BC Branch, as well as with other miscellaneous tasks within the CWRA.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
One of the most important aspects to me is meeting like-minded, diverse, and passionate individuals within the organization. As someone who is pretty inexperienced, it is great to be around all these professionals, to get to know them, and to learn from them. I’m hoping to create an easier pathway for students to join the organization in the future so they can also meet all the amazing people here.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
I would love to be able to attend a CWRA conference in person! The virtual conference was great, but there is something about walking around and meeting people that you just can’t get virtually. Plus, I’ll be able to try the different food across Canada.

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
One thing I learned about myself is how small my bubble is and that there are so many more people out there to meet. As we transitioned to virtual events and I met people outside BC, it was honestly amazing to see how vast the network of water professionals is across Canada. Learning about how the students and professionals in other provinces operate and their slight nuances was very eye-opening. I don’t think I would have had that opportunity to meet so many other people without the pandemic and shift to online events.

mom_jeffh

Say hello to Jeff Hirvonen. He’s not new to CWRA, but he IS our new President-elect and we couldn’t be happier. Jeff’s a busy guy these days, and undoubtedly happy to be back in the field, but we managed to pin him down for a few minutes so we could all get to know him better. *Editor’s note: I anticipate lots of great conversations with Jeff. Two of my favourite words? Fluvial geomorphology 🙂

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
My day job has me working in the field of river corridor restoration. My company GeoProcess Research Associates works on river rehabilitation and restoration projects big and small. Our work includes field assessments (one of my favourite parts of the job), hydraulic/geomorphic analyses and, finally, design and implementation plans. I love seeing and comparing different river settings across Canada. While each is unique in its physiography, ecology and cultural heritage properties, it’s interesting to see signs of common river processes reflected time and time again in the shape of the river and its floodplain. 2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I first joined CWRA as a volunteer on the Ontario Branch Board of Directors in 2012.3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
It’s a combination (in order of priority) of: A) the great people that make up our CWRA volunteer base, spanning all roles from president to SYP members to event participants; and B) the opportunity to learn from such a diverse group of members, having multidisciplinary backgrounds that are extremely wide ranging. To the latter point, I often find myself engaged in fascinating conversations with CWRA members who are employed in facets of the water industry about which I am completely unaware. 4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
CWRA is great at bringing together members (and non-members) in knowledge sharing and professional networking events. While online and virtual events have their place and have been a critical resource over the past 18 months, I believe there is no substitution for in-person events that bring together like-minded professionals for the promotion of sound water management ideals (one of CWRA’s core tenets). I look forward to resuming planning and attending these types of events.5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
 Notwithstanding the comment above, I have learned the value of using online tools to continue the great work of CWRA, and believe that there is a ‘sweet spot’ to be found that balances online and face-to-face interactions. I hope that a new way of doing things emerges from these lessons learned, increasing opportunities to learn and interact with one another, while decreasing environmental footprints, costs, issues of accessibility, and other drawbacks to in-person events.
mom_nicoleob

Say hello to Nicole O’Brien. Nicole took on the task of steering the creation of our new Maritimes Branch, and for that we are eternally grateful. We’re looking forward to big things from our friends on the east coast, including their hosting of the national conference in a few years (we’ll let them settle in a bit first!).

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I work for Environment and Climate Change Canada as a water resources engineer in the Boundary Water Issues Unit. I previously worked in engineering consulting and my graduate work focused on stochastic hydrology. My engineering background has been relatively eclectic and I enjoy that: I love working on complex problems and finding solutions.

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I first joined CWRA in 2014 when I presented at my first conference. I became more involved last year when I helped establish the CWRA Maritime Branch.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
I love being part of the CWRA community. I have made a lot of connections, but really more friends. When I was first approached about helping to get the ball rolling with the Maritime Branch, I did not know how fulfilling the experience would be. I am now looking forward to volunteering with the organization for years to come!

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
I really miss attending concerts, although, I imagine my first concert will be The Wiggles (but I’ll take it!). I’m also looking forward to travelling. I particularly love visiting new places in Canada and seeing all the sights.

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
I really don’t mind working from home. It gives me more time with my family and I’ve enjoyed that.

mom_robc

Say hello to Rob Chlumsky. Rob has been involved with CWRA affiliate Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences (CSHS) for a few years, but he recently became the Vice-President of the CWRA Ontario Branch. Thanks Rob, and welcome aboard!

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I am a PhD student at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. James Craig and Dr. Bryan Tolson, studying hydrologic modelling and exploring ways to improve how we select model structure and parameters in calibration. I spend a lot of time calibrating Raven hydrologic models in high performance computing environments, and working in R to setup scripts and analyze the results. I am a nerd at heart and love the gratification of seeing my scripts actually work as expected (sometimes).

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I first became actively involved with the CWRA in 2017 around the time of the National Conference in Lethbridge, where I presented research from Master’s research and became involved in the CSHS hydRology project after discussions with Kevin Shook and Paul Whitfield.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
I enjoy the connection to engaged and dedicated water people, both locally and nationally.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
I can’t wait to spend less time on GoToMeeting and Zoom, and instead meet with people at the campus Grad House over a beer.

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
I became a dad to two wonderful twins this past November, and I’ve become a lot better at balancing the work-life act and appreciating the time spent with family. I’ve also become pretty efficient at changing diapers!

mom_andresh

André St-Hilaire’s passion for the Canadian Water Resources Journal is both palpable and measurable; he’s been on the editorial board of the journal since 2011! If that doesn’t say dedication, nothing does (kind of like standing in a river, not sure you’ll catch anything, but not caring because you’re outside, knee-deep in water, one of your favourite places to be!).

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I am a professor in Hydrology at INRS. INRS is a graduate school of the University of Québec network. I can focus on supervising my students and doing research. I get to do a lot of field work.

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I joined in 2004, when André Carpentier, who was then president of the Québec Branch, knocked on my door.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
CWRA is my water family. Being an involved member of CWRA has opened doors that I never imagined could open in my career. Thanks to our association, I was able to complete great projects in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, B.C., and New Brunswick. I have a solid network of professional friends to rely on.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
I will finally get to go out in the field!!

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
During the pandemic, I took on the duty of Acting Director of my Centre. It was a difficult period, especially for our students. The lesson learned is that good science and good engineering can only be done if your mind is up to it. Our students went through very difficult times. Resilience became a key word. I must say that I was impressed to see how so many of them adapted. I must also say that I was equally impressed with the way my colleagues and all staff members reached out to help.

momseand

Sean Douglas, our soon-to-be past-Past-President, is a man of action. Need something done quickly? Ask Sean. Need some random CWRA fact checked? Ask Sean. Need a back-up techy person? … well, you get the picture, he’s the go-to guy. And though he tries to sound all serious and official, watch out for that twinkle in his eye! It’s never far away, and we have the photos to prove it!

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
My entire career has been with Alberta Environment and Parks – in its various permutations. I started out as a Hydrologist supporting provincial projects and regulatory approvals. Did that for 12 years, then had an opportunity to go more into the actual project side of things. I transitioned into a team that provided engineering support to provincially owned water management infrastructure. I now manage the team and we provide engineering and operational support to $10 billion in water management infrastructure and provincial fish hatcheries throughout Alberta. I like the variety.  One day I am sitting at my desk writing a briefing note (boring…), the next day I can be doing a tunnel inspection in a dam, or helping start up a drum filter in a fish hatchery.

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I joined CWRA Alberta in 1999 – I had no choice – some people showed up at my office and took me to an Alberta Branch board meeting (we did  them in person back then). I was promptly assigned the role of Facility Chair for the upcoming 2000 Alberta Branch conference. I have been on every conference planning committee since then.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
I enjoy CWRA, mainly because of the people I have met through my involvement with the organization. I have made great friends and countless contacts all across the country. Being involved with CWRA at the National level has provided a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. It is one thing to be a member of an organization and go to a conference and get some emails. It is completely different to become deeply involved in the organization and participate fully in day to day operations and drive the organization into the future. There is a great sense of pride (and relief when it is over) in delivering a successful national conference that brings water resources professionals, academics, practitioners, students, industry and equipment suppliers together to discuss and learn about what is new in the world of water.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
Even though we are still in the middle of the Pandemic, I am looking forward to the upcoming Quebec online conference. However, I will miss the banquet entertainment – Quebec branch always has the most amazing after diner entertainment – which has included contortionists and a full-on circus performance… I am looking forward to the 75th annual conference in Canmore, Alberta – IN PERSON, where I will be able to share good conversation and a nice scotch with some of my CWRA friends.

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
As for what I have learned about myself in the pandemic – I need a better chair if it is going to last any longer… and apparently I speak too loudly when I am wearing my headset in meetings – that is what my kids say anyway …

momsteveb

Steve Braun, our illustrious (and industrious) leader, will be passing the baton to President-Elect Stephanie Smith at our AGM this year. But don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere (OK, bad choice of words, NONE of us are going anywhere right now!). Steve will take on the role of Past-President and we fully intend to keep him busy as he hums and hopes for a quick return to crowded arenas and weekend jam sessions with friends. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I work as a water resources engineer at Matrix Solutions, which is a multidisciplinary environment and engineering consulting firm. I work mainly in the areas of flood mitigation, stormwater management, and river engineering. I’m also a part owner of a company, CB Shield Inc., that develops and manufactures urban stormwater treatment devices. Water and more water, all day long. My best days are spent designing things with others; interacting to get to solutions that improve our environment and reduce our risks. It’s great when my job gets me out walking along river banks too.

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
I have been attending CWRA events since the 90’s and first became a member twenty years ago at a CWRA national conference in Guelph.

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
The conversations with many interesting people. Learning what other water people do.

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a pre-pandemic normal?
Unhidden smiles, travelling some miles, and concert turnstiles. Family visits too of course, and playing some music.

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
“—- — — ——”  Oops, sorry, I guess I was on mute. This last year I learned it’s OK to be on mute and be made fun of – and more than ever that it’s good to laugh. I also learned that at-home haircuts are a thing I’m not sure I can do without now. I wouldn’t have guessed that.

mom_trishs

Say hello to Tricia Stadnyk. A dynamo by anyone’s standards, she now calls Calgary home and is whipping up SYP and grad school (hint, hint) enthusiasm at the University of Calgary. She’s also a mother to two young girls and her home science lessons during COVID were a thing of beauty. We look forward to seeing what she has up her sleeve!

1. What do you do as a career? What do you like about it?
I am an academic – an Associate Professor of hydrology at the University of Calgary, and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Hydrologic Modelling. I am also a professional engineer (in a Department of Geography!) and own and operate my own engineering consulting firm, HydroS Engineering Ltd. (Editor’s note: Geography departments are the BEST!)

2. When did you first join the CWRA?
About 13 years ago, when I first moved to Winnipeg and was working at the University of Manitoba. I was approached by the local Manitoba branch and asked to join the board. I will forever be grateful to Ute Holweger for inviting me 😊

3. Why do you like being a part of the CWRA?
The CWRA family is tight-knit – especially in Manitoba – and joining CWRA was a great way to get to know everyone in the water resources “industry” and to start networking. It was also a great way to recruit and meet students interested in water resources and to scout out the keen ones considering a career or graduate school in water!

4. What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
Student-professional networking events in person. Zoom is just not the same, and it’s really tough to meet and recruit new members into the CWRA SYP during the pandemic. I miss their energy and enthusiasm!

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
That research doesn’t have nearly as much meaning when you can’t share it in person, particularly with the bright young minds of the next generation. I miss teaching (in person) and the casual interactions that happen on a daily basis that improve the research and foster new inspiration.

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Thanks for keeping us organized John!

While John Van Der Eerden has served in almost every role possible at CWRA (and is coming up on 30 years of service!) right now he has an especially critical job as the National Secretary.

And John’s not exaggerating when he says he likes to get off the grid when he’s not working. This photo? Taken when he was prawning off Desolation Sound. He certainly looks like a happy man enjoying a well-deserved break!

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
When I am not helping out with CWRA, I am the Vice President of Water Resources at Associated Engineering. Although I am located in Vancouver, I am fortunate that my position allows me to work with colleagues located in offices extending from Ontario to BC and in the Northern Territories. I am especially happy that I get to be involved in interesting Water Resources projects across Canada and abroad.

When did you first join the CWRA? 
I hate to say it, but I am starting to feel like one of the old timers of CWRA. In fact, I became involved in the Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences in BC before there was an active BC CWRA Branch. I think that was 1992. However, soon afterwards the BC branch of CWRA was formed and swept up the CSHS and me along with it.

Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
It is very clear to me that if I had not joined and actively participated in CWRA my sphere of Water Resources knowledge and connections would be substantially smaller. While being a member of the BC Branch I transitioned through every position and acted in the role of President in the early 2000’s. While acting as Vice-President and President I also became a member of the National Board which increased my exposure to the rest of the Country. I have been on the National Executive since 2006. Volunteering in this position aligns nicely with my regular job by keeping me up-to-date with National initiatives and activities taking place within each of the Provincial Branches and National Subsidiaries.

What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
I feel very fortunate to have access to significant recreational opportunities. Although the pandemic has kept me and my wife Andrea close to home, we have still managed to go off the grid while kayaking Desolation Sound this past summer, and I have managed to sneak away to the slopes of Whistler quite a few times this winter. As a result, I have not felt very constrained and have adjusted to the current restrictions. That said, I can’t wait to let down my guard and enjoy a maskless night out with friends and family.

Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
Before the pandemic I was travelling regularly and that came to a screeching halt last March. I am often asked whether I miss the travelling or appreciate not having to travel. Strangely, my answer is that I hardly notice the difference. Admittedly my commute has improved, but in-person meetings have been replaced by conference calls and the projects have remained just as interesting. The most important thing that I have learned is not about me – it is that my wife is a very patient person.

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Thank you Sophie!

Sophie Duchesne is one of this year’s national conference co-chairs (the other is Marc Barbet). Organizing any CWRA conference (let alone our first virtual one) is a tremendous amount of work for everyone, and we’d like to officially thank Sophie, and the entire Quebec conference planning committee, for all their hard work.

 

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
I am a professor and researcher at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) Centre Eau Terre Environnement, a graduate university. My primary research interests are urban hydrology and hydraulics, in fact, everything related to urban water management, especially from a quantitative perspective. There are two main things that I enjoy about my career: i) being around bright students from diverse backgrounds and contributing to their education, and ii) always being able to learn new things.
Je suis professeure et chercheuse au Centre Eau Terre Environnement de l’INRS, une université de 2e et 3e cycles. Mes principaux intérêts de recherche sont l’hydraulique et l’hydrologie urbaine, en fait tout ce qui touche la gestion de l’eau en milieu urbain, surtout d’un point de vue quantitatif. Il y a deux choses principales que j’apprécie de ma carrière : i) le fait de côtoyer des étudiants brillants, provenant d’horizons divers, et de contribuer à leur formation; et ii) la possibilité de toujours pouvoir apprendre de nouvelles choses.
When did you first join the CWRA? 
In the summer of 2020.
À l’été 2020.
Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
The CWRA allows me to connect and engage with people who share my passion for hydrology and the protection of natural water environments. This gives me an overview of the key issues at the Canadian level and the solutions that have been implemented to address them.
L’association me permet d’entrer en contact et de discuter avec des personnes qui partagent ma passion pour l’hydrologie et la protection des milieux hydriques naturels. Ceci me permet d’avoir un aperçu des principales problématiques à l’échelle canadienne et des solutions qui ont été mises en œuvre pour y remédier.
What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
To be with my family again (my parents, sister, nephews and nieces).
De partager des moments en famille élargie (avec mes parents, ma sœur, mes neveux et nièces).
Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
I learned that I could effectively manage several research projects and a large team of students without even having to set foot in the office!
J’ai appris que je pouvais gérer de façon efficace plusieurs projets de recherche et une grande équipe d’étudiants sans même avoir besoin de mettre les pieds au bureau !
mommego

Welcome back, Meg!

While Meg is not a new face at CWRA, she did take a bit of a break to welcome a new little person into her life. We’re thrilled that she’s back with us and thought you might like to get to know her a bit better … here’s a photo of Meg at the Parc Ornithologique du Pont de Gau, in the Camargue in France, in Sept 2019. (Sigh, remember when we could travel?)

 

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
Right now, my main job is Manager of Operations and Communications for CWRA – I just got back from parental leave this week, and I’m excited to be back. Over my career in water, I’ve worked on flooding and hazard mitigation planning as a graduate student, in engineering consulting on stormwater and water resources engineering projects, and at a Conservation Authority on projects that brought together climate change, flood resiliency, emergency management, and asset management. One common element in my career has been the importance of identifying the different people who need to share their experience and expertise to get good, robust solutions to tricky water problems – all of which turn out to be intersectional problems. I like my job at CWRA because I get to work with people with different perspectives on water to share information, build connections, and broaden networks to help water professionals find what they need to develop stronger solutions.
When did you first join the CWRA? 
I think I submitted my first dues in late 2013, and got active with the Ontario Branch in 2014.
Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
My favorite part is the people – I’ve met friends, mentors and colleagues through CWRA. Since the organization depends heavily on volunteers, it’s nice that the other volunteers have been so supportive and pleasant to work with on events!
What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
Having dinner in a restaurant (right now it’s not just the pandemic stopping me, but it’ll be easier to get a babysitter after the pandemic too!).
Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
I miss going to the gym – that was entirely unexpected. We’ll see how long it lasts after the pandemic!
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Hi Bob!

CWRA has corporate, student, young professional, regular, and retired members. But don’t let the word retired fool you. Some of our should be / could be “retired” members, like Bob Halliday, President of the Saskatchewan Branch, have been volunteering with CWRA for decades – and don’t plan on quitting anytime soon. And thank goodness! Their experience and knowledge would be impossible to replace: we’re thrilled that they continue to share.

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
I spent much of my career with Environment Canada and its predecessors, the majority of that time in prairie Canada. My last position with the department was as Director of the National Hydrology Research Centre in Saskatoon. Following that I have worked as an engineering consultant.

When did you first join the CWRA? 
That’s a trick question. Years ago Environment Canada had corporate memberships and I was one of the beneficiaries. I didn’t take out a personal membership until I left the department in 1998. The first CWRA conference I attended was in Penticton in the 1980s.

Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
I like the interaction with practitioners from across the country and the Journal. CWRA conferences are excellent.

What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
One of my hobbies is travelling and two overseas trips had to be cancelled on account of the pandemic. I’m anxious to get back on an airplane!

Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic. 

I’ve surprised myself by learning to appreciate video-conference calls. I find them much more productive than telephone conference calls. I suspect business travel will change forever.

momnancy

Saying “welcome” to Nancy!

CWRA activities are driven by volunteers and without their commitment to water in Canada we couldn’t do what we do. We do, however, have a few contract staff who keep the ship upright and heading in the right direction. Our new accountant/bookkeeper, Nancy Mosher, joined us recently after our previous one retired. Nancy has jumped in with both feet, in a challenging year, and we’re pleased to have her as part of the team.

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
I’ve been a certified accountant since 1998 and worked in Calgary’s Oil and Gas industry for over 16 years.  More recently, I have worked various contracts with non-profit organizations.

When did you first join the CWRA? 
Just a few months ago – but I’m making up for lost time!

Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
I love the variety of this job.  I find the different tasks keep it interesting for me as it can range from something simple such as creating invoices to more involved projects, such as analyzing accounts and contracts.

What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
Like a lot of us, travel is the #1 thing I’m looking forward to, but I also can’t wait to get my son back into community hockey and soccer.  I found these activities a great way for my family to exercise and socialize with others.

Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic. 

I’ve become really confident in the kitchen and don’t get intimidated by fancy recipes anymore!

momute

CWRA activities are driven by volunteers and without their commitment to water in Canada we couldn’t do what we do. Ute Holweger is a long-serving member of CWRA (and previous CWRA President!). She graciously took a few minutes out of her well-deserved holiday break to answer our questions.

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
I have worked with the federal government for nearly 25 years on various soil and water issues including working with the former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration for several years. Three years ago, I joined Environment and Climate Change Canada as the Manager of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program. I believe that as a public servant you have a unique opportunity to contribute to and influence policies and programs aimed at effective water management in Canada, including those aimed at protecting and improving the ecological health of our watersheds. One example of this is the federal government’s efforts in establishing a Canada Water Agency, where I have an opportunity to work with colleagues and partners in exploring opportunities and approaches aimed at adding value to how we manage water.

When did you first join the CWRA? 
That is a good question. I began volunteering with the Manitoba Branch following the 1997 Red River Flood. I was recruited by a former manager to assist with planning several Manitoba Branch events including volunteering with the organizing committee for the National Conference which was hosted in Winnipeg in 2002. However, I don’t think I actually became a CWRA member until 2002 or 2003. I have been an active member both at the branch and national level ever since!

Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
I believe that CWRA provides a good network for engaging with a diverse group of individuals from across Canada that are dedicated to effective water management. Although we each bring different perspectives and have different roles and responsibilities, CWRA brings us together to work on common priorities and objectives, as well as promoting best practices and sharing sound knowledge to ensure water managers in Canada have the tools and knowledge they need in making water-management decisions. As such, I’m a proud member of CWRA and have realized many benefits and opportunities over the years as a result of my involvement with the association.

What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
I’m not sure we can actually return to a pre-pandemic normal. I think we need to find a new normal, whatever that may mean for us both in our everyday lives, as well as our professional efforts related to water and the environment. Having said that, the one thing I’m really looking forward to is getting back on the water with my dragon-boat colleagues to train and compete. Although I really enjoyed marathon canoeing with my spouse this past year, it is exhilarating to get in a boat with twenty other athletes and collectively work hard to get to the finish line. My favorite race is the 10 K so I’m really looking forward to doing one of those!

Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic. I really like working from home! I think working from home has introduced a more personalized element to our work environment. It’s great to see my colleagues’ family members and pets join our virtual meetings from time to time – it has brought us more together as a team and as a community!

momjeanluc

CWRA activities are driven by volunteers and without their commitment to water in Canada we couldn’t do what we do. Jean-Luc Martel is the president of CWRA SYP National and a member of numerous committees. We recently pinned him down long enough to ask him a few questions.

This is what he had to say:

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
I started by working for a few years as a project engineer in a consulting firm specialized in water resources and now I work as a research associate at the university. I really love being able to bridge the gap between the world of research and the industry, which I believe is a lack that needs to be fulfilled. Also having the privilege of being a lecturer, I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and trying to make complex concepts clear and easily accessible to all.When did you first join the CWRA? 
I joined as a PhD candidate back in 2015 when I was granted the Ken Thompson Scholarship which came with a free student membership. I have since then renewed my membership and am a proud involved member!Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
Having access to a vast network of water resources professionals provides insight on the different realities and challenges that are faced across our country. I also enjoy taking an active role in organizing events giving the members an opportunity to get together and learn on shared interests.What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
Leaving my house and do simple activities in a different environment such as reading in a café with a good espresso! Obviously, I do miss being able to travel, but it is nothing compared to the little things that really make our days and weeks much more interesting!Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic. Again, I believe that I have learned to fully enjoy the present moment and the small things that really make life worth living. I just hope that once we are back to “normal”, that I will be able to remember this precious wisdom…!
momstephanies

CWRA staff recently had the virtual equivalent of a fireside chat with Stephanie Smith, CWRA’s President-elect.

This is what she had to say:

What do you do as a career? What do you like about it? 
As manager of the Hydrology department at BC Hydro, I have worked in operational hydrometeorological data collection and forecasting for over 25 years. I love the excitement of the real-time aspects of this work – every day is different and you have use your wits and experience to be able to respond quickly as conditions change.  I also work with the most brilliant and engaged group of people.

When did you first join the CWRA? 
I first joined CWRA sometime in the mid-1990s (1995?) at the encouragement of my manager and co-workers.

Why do you like being a part of the CWRA? 
For me it is the opportunity to interact with such a diverse community of people from a broad range of disciplines, regions, and backgrounds which gives me new perspectives on water management.

What are you most excited for once we return to a  pre-pandemic normal?
Travelling! One can only take so much of the majesty and splendour of the BC Coast. 😃 Especially now that we are in the rainy season.

5. Tell us something new you have learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic.
I think I’ve learned a lot about what is at the heart of the experiences I enjoy and that has helped me adapt to still have fulfilling experiences, just in a different way.  I can’t travel, but I can still explore this world through books and other media, and explore new places in my local area.  I miss going out for dinner with friends, but still have been able to grab some takeout and meet up in local parks, or online. And of course I can still get my learning and connections with the CWRA community through the many webinars, reading the journal, committee meetings, and just dropping a note or tweet to colleagues to stay in touch.