October 2020 Agrologist of the Month is Travis Deeter, PAg

October 2020's Featured Agrologist is Travis Deeter, PAg, Vancouver Branch/District 3

What are your areas of practice? What is your expertise?        

My formal area of practice is contaminated land assessment, remediation and decommissioning within the Environmental Sector. As a numerical standards specialist with the Society of Contaminated Sites Approved Professionals, my area of expertise is investigating and remediating contaminated sites utilising the guidance, protocols and procedures associated with the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation.

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

In addition to my desire to work in a field involving the improvement and protection of the environment, I was drawn to the versatility that a career in environmental consulting offers. I could satisfy my scientific curiosity through conducting fieldwork, analyzing data and writing technical reports, while also learning about new techniques and technologies for cleaning up the subsurface environment. I have also been able to develop complimentary skills that provide some variety to my daily work, such as managing complex projects with large budgets and many stakeholders, proposal development and estimating, directing and mentoring junior scientists, while also dealing with clients and securing new work for my firm. I think being able to participate in such a wide array of activities provides me with a more robust view of how my work can impact a project beyond simply cleaning up a site.

Why did you become a member of BCIA?

When I first started in the industry, one of my mentors was a Professional Agrologist who introduced me to the Institute. I was impressed with the support for professional development and the mentoring program that BCIA provided. But most importantly, the Institute shared my own priorities in the areas of environmental protection and restoration. 

What do you do in a typical work day or week?

Well, that probably depends on the week! But being in a senior management role, I would usually start with a meeting with my team to go over any fieldwork happening that week, deliverables that clients were expecting, and generally just make sure everyone has work to do and understands their assignments. As the week moves ahead, I would respond to requests for proposals or project updates from clients; provide senior support to field staff during investigations; potentially visit sites for training purposes or simply get a first-hand look at how an investigation was proceeding; write technical letters/reports as needed; review reports written by junior staff and provide feedback; review investigation data with colleagues and discuss any implications to future work programs; attend professional development seminars/conferences (virtually, these days!). 

Share some interesting "perks" and experiences from your employment history.

I think the biggest perk I’ve had from my career is being able to travel around this beautiful province of ours. Vancouver Island, Kootenay, the Okanagan, the Peace, Cariboo Chilcotin, Skeena, the South Coast…I feel blessed to have been able to visit so many amazing towns and cities from all regions of BC with my job. I’ve also had the opportunity to work in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. 

Some other fun perks are being able to attend interesting conferences and workshops, some out-of-town, to learn more about what’s happening in the wider world of contaminated sites, as well as attending some business development opportunities such as industry mixers and trade shows.