If you're interested in being featured as a BCIA agrologist of the month, please take a few minutes to answer the following questions about yourself and your career along with a photo of yourself to BCIA's Communication Specialist: comms@bcia.com

BCIA will be share this information to help the public and aspiring agrologists understand who agrologists are and what their work entails. Excerpts may be included on social media, the BCIA website, and monthly email updates and utilized in marketing materials.

  • What are your areas of practice? What is your expertise?   
  • Why did you choose the career in which you are currently?
  • What do you do in a typical work day or week?
  • Describe a challenge encountered in your career and how you resolved it. 
  • A bonus "perks" and/or experiences from your career.

December 2022, Featured Agrologist: Besire E. Culhaoglu, MSc, PAg, CSP, CSM (she/her)

Why did you choose the career in which you are currently?

Currently, I am a Project Manager with the Crown Land Transformation Initiative (CLTI), a collaboration with the B.C. Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship (LWRS) and the Ministry of Forests. The Initiative focuses on the delivery of projects designed to streamline, standardize, and modernize the way the Crown land program is administered under the Land Act in B.C. The goal is to ensure strategies are established to implement changes to support effective long-term resource management, increased human and financial resource efficiency, and improved service delivery.

My current status enables me to lead data-driven solutions with attention to end-user requirements. I focus on the following:

  • Balancing sustainable management of B.C.'s natural resources in alignment with the other two provincial mandates of economic development and reconciliation with B.C.'s Indigenous Peoples. 
  • Accountability for building relationships and balancing partnerships per the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2019 provincial Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.  
  • Applying learnings to operational practices of the LWRS.
  • Conducting my work with professionalism, integrity, and respect for the betterment of the lives of the citizens of B.C.

November 2022, Katarina Duke, AAg, Victoria and Islands Branch (District 3)

Katarina (Kat)'s expertise is in developing community-based monitoring programs, Indigenous-led ecological restoration and food sovereignty initiatives, and rural water resource management. 

"I chose to pursue a career with an Indigenous community as it provides the opportunity for continuous learning, contributes to a range of projects, and have a blended work environment (i.e., office and field work). Most importantly, it is the personal growth from being immersed within an Indigenous culture and learning from its wealth of knowledge." ~ Kat

October 2022, Xavier Sandoval, PAg, Vancouver-District 3

Xavier Sandoval's areas of practice and expertise are contaminated land assessment, remediation and decommissioning, soil and land conservation, reclamation planning and management, and regulatory support and consultation.

"I have always been passionate about protecting our natural resources and the environment in general. Being an environmental consultant allows me the opportunity to use my knowledge and skills to make a difference by ensuring that environmental and human health protection obligations are met when it comes to development, resource extraction, and other activities that require disturbance of natural ecosystems." ~ Xavier

September 2022, Chris Wall, PAg, Victoria & Islands Branch (District 3)

Chris is an Engineering Technologist at a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm on Vancouver Island.

"I became a Registrant of the BCIA because it was a good fit for my educational background and professional interests. Being a Registrant of the BCIA has encouraged me to be proactive about and reflective upon my professional development, and overall, it has facilitated my progression as a self-reliant and technically-proficient environmental professional."  ~ Chris

July 2022, Susanna Acheampong, PAg, Okanagan Branch (District 2)

Susanna is an entomologist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

"I have had the pleasure of working with some of the nicest people in the tree fruit and grape industries as well as federal, provincial, and industry colleagues. I have partnered with federal, provincial and industry partners on dealing with some of the most challenging insect pest outbreaks during the past fourteen years and we have been able to find solutions for some of the insect pest issues. I have had excellent mentors and immense support from the tree fruit and grape industries and that has helped me a lot in my career."  ~  Susanna Acheampong, PAg

June 2022, Kristen Cockburn, PAg, Okanagan Branch (District 2)

As an environmental scientist who specializes in Contaminated Sites Investigation and Remediation, Kristen enjoys deciphering the melange of History and Science through her projects that have ranged from Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for commercial real estate to large-scale oil and gas remediation projects.  Kristen also volunteers her time on the BCIA Credentials Committee since 2021. 

May 2022, Geoff Hughes-Games, PAg, Fraser Valley Branch (District 2)

Geoff is featured as he has been awarded Mentor of the Year 2021.  He will be highlighted at the virtual BCIA AGM on June 1, 2022.  

March 2022, Varinder (Bob) Brar, PAg, Fraser Valley Branch (District 2)

"When I began taking a management role on our farm, I met with my local Sales/Field Rep from Terralink Horticulture Inc. He would help me with any questions I had and provided recommendations on crop inputs that would help grow my crops and protect them from pest/disease damage. I quickly realized I wanted to do what he did; work in the Agricultural field and try to help growers. To achieve this, I completed my B.Sc in Production Horticulture and in 2008 I joined Terralink Horticulture Inc." ~ Bob Brar, PAg

February 2022, Sonja Leverkus, PAg, Peace River Branch (District 1)

"One of the best parts of my work is that every day is different, and the only typical thing is to expect the unexpected! In the winter, my team and I do wildlife work, including aerial surveying for northern mountain caribou and mortality investigations, along with supporting our oil and gas clients by building access to sites with our chainsaw crew to assisting manage the environmental, health, and safety programs of large projects." ~ Sonja Leverkus, PAg

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