I was born/grew up in: I was born and raised in Newfoundland. I grew up in a small town in Eastern Newfoundland called Hillview, near Clarenville.
I now live in: I currently live in Grand Falls-Windsor, NL
I completed my training/education at: I completed a B.Sc, with Honours in Marine Biology at Memorial University. I then completed an Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Aquaculture, Post Graduate program from the Marine Institute of Memorial University. Following this, I completed a Master of Technology Management (Aquaculture) at the Marine Institute of Memorial University.
What I do at work
I am a Senior Marine Environmental Biologist with SIMCorp. SIMCorp is an environmental consulting company for the aquaculture industry. I coordinate and manage the operations of the company in Newfoundland. I am responsible for coordinating, overseeing and conducting different projects. These projects could include environmental assessments or environmental monitoring. Projects could also include helping our aquaculture clients with their site applications in Newfoundland.
I oversee, coordinate and manage SIMCorp’s regional operations and ongoing projects involving aquaculture developments within Newfoundland. This includes the planning and execution of environmental monitoring, marine surveys and other data collection fieldwork. It also includes the processing, interpretation and reporting of collected data. I also manage and supervise staff and develop fieldwork schedules.
On any given day, I could be working in an office, processing data or writing reports on my computer. On other days, I might be working in an open boat enjoying the scenery while collecting data. Or I could be sitting in a meeting with clients or government. Sometimes I get to give presentations at national conferences.
We use specialized equipment to collect environmental data. We use such things as underwater camera systems, ROVs, current meters, and side scan profilers. We also use tools that take samples of the bottom sediment, water, temperature and oxygen levels.
Working in the marine environment can be challenging. As a result, decision-making and problem solving happens all the time. The weather may affect our fieldwork schedule. This creates the need to be adaptable and flexible. Our boat could be kilometers from a wharf and a piece of scientific equipment could break down. We have to either figure out how to repair the equipment or make a decision to return to shore and cancel the field day. Decisions are made based on safety as well as making sure the work can be completed in a timely manner.
My job involves both teamwork and independent work. Working in the field involves working with the field crew as a team. It is important that everyone works together and understands their roles and responsibilities. This helps make sure we complete the fieldwork safely, quickly and that it is of high quality. Office work is more independent.
My career path is
I grew up living near the ocean and spent countless hours playing on the beach. I loved examining the critters that washed ashore. I also enjoyed spending time in boats. I always had in interest in the marine environment. When I was in high school, I was interested in sciences, and always wanted to work with animals. While I didn’t follow a career as a veterinarian, I did follow my interest and love for the ocean!
I completed a Bachelor of Science degree with honours in Marine Biology. During this time, I had some interesting summer jobs. I worked in a Marine Interpretation Centre at a National Park. I led guided hikes in forests. I also did research projects and in freshwater and marine environments.
After completing my BSc, I completed an Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Aquaculture. At this time, the aquaculture industry was growing and I wanted to be involved. I got a job with SIMcorp as a work term student and have been with the company ever since. I worked in New Brunswick for two years. After this, I returned to Newfoundland to run the SIMCorp operations here at home. I oversaw the operations on the South Coast of NL. This included managing an office and project team in Harbour Breton. Our office had since moved to central NL, located in Grand Fall-Windsor, but our field presence is still on the south coast of the province. To further my skills in management and aquaculture, I completed a Master of Technology Management (Aquaculture), while working full time and raising a young family.
I am motivated by
My job is exciting every day and no two days are alike! I could be admiring the view from a boat while working in the field, working from my computer in an office, or meeting people at a national conference. Many times, while working on the water, I have counted my blessings that I get to call this a job!
Monitoring the environmental conditions at aquaculture farms is rewarding and important. Making sure aquaculture operations are not having negative effects on the marine environment is an important job and a top priority for the aquaculture industry.
Working for a small company, and the flexibility it offers, has been personally rewarding. It has allowed me to work while dealing with the challenges of raising a young family. This allows me to remain focused and committed to the company I work for, the projects I am involved in, and my career. It has and continues to be a rewarding career.
How I affect peoples’ lives
The aquaculture industry is a growing and important industry. It helps meet global food production demands. I work for a third-party service supplier for the aquaculture industry. We carry out environmental monitoring for new and existing aquaculture operations. My career is fulfilling because we are often engaged from the start of an aquaculture operation. This means I am part of finding the right area for farm placement. It also means that I get to be involved right up to the operation and production phases. It is rewarding to see a fish farm go from its beginning to full operation, producing tons of delicious and sustainable seafood. Our work ensures that the industry is operating in an environmentally sustainable and sound manner. We also make sure the industry is following government regulations and policies.
Outside of work I
I enjoy spending time with my family. I have two young children who are quite active in extracurricular activities such as hockey, karate, gymnastics, dance and swimming. This keeps me quite busy outside of work! As a family, we enjoy camping, travelling, snowshoeing, skiing, and time outdoors.
My advice to others
Advice I would give a young person interested in working in the aquaculture industry, is to look for what piques your interests, and not be intimidated. It is a rewarding career with many opportunities and adventures. There are many career opportunities in the industry for all interests. Don’t be intimidated by the negative media. There is much more to the aquaculture industry than what the media sometimes portrays. Do your research and educate yourself about the benefits of the industry.