Ambition doesn’t always lead us down a direct path. Adam Wright (Environmental Assessment and Restoration 2009), indirectly began his career in environmental planning as a land surveyor for pipeline development throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories for about six years. “I felt the need for more education,” says Adam, “to weave my way and find a path.”
Sustainability, which is the balance between human activity and the needs of the environment for future generations, struck Adam as a key part of the work he wanted to do. During his time at Lethbridge College, Adam continued fieldwork for oil and gas companies, and he witnessed the impact economic development was having on Indigenous communities.
“I was seeing these communities that weren’t really benefitting from resource development,” he says. “It made me think more about how to help infrastructure and resource development be a bit more sustainable, and more strategic.” This realization inspired Adam to explore development strategies that were more in line with the needs of the people most directly affected by it, so he returned to school after graduating from Lethbridge College.
Adam went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts with honours in environmental studies/environmental planning from Trent University, followed by a Master of Science in Planning from the University of Guelph. He credits Lethbridge College with giving him the confidence to pursue further studies. As a mature student, the positive experiences and feedback from instructors helped him gain the confidence he needed to stay in academia.
It also paved the way for an enriching and varied professional path. Adam’s career has included employment as a recycling ambassador with the Recycling Council of Alberta; a sustainability coordinator at Trent University; an environmental planner with AECOM; a special project officer with the Ontario Ministry of Environment; and an adjunct faculty member in Rural Planning and Development at Guelph University.
A father of two, Adam has also kept an active volunteer profile, and he currently serves as a director for the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, and chairs a task force that works to better engage Indigenous people in planning and land development processes. While he currently works as an environmental planner with Dillon Consulting in Kitchener, Ont., he will soon be transitioning within the company to a position in Calgary.
Adam is an optimistic force within the consulting world. He notes the advances that have been made through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. “There seems to be a strong recognition of how we can be better as a society, and I think we’re making those changes. I want to continue moving things towards a positive trajectory.”