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2017 Alumni Awards Recipients

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Faculty of Environment is proud of its many ambitious and successful alumni. With more than 14,000 Environment alumni helping make a more sustainable future and spreading their knowledge and expertise worldwide, this is our chance to recognize a handful of grads who have made exceptional contributions to creating more resilient communities. 

This year’s nominees included outstanding community leaders, industry experts, and entrepreneurs. Join us in congratulating our 2017 Faculty of Environment Alumni Award winners!

Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient Tania Cheng

tania chengTania Cheng (BES ’10), has channeled her passion for making the world a better place into a list of achievements that would be exceptional for someone twice her age. Having crafted a career in the non-profit world, this recent grad has changed lives for the better across the country and around the world.

Having worked her way up from program coordinator, Tania is currently the associate director of Ontario EcoSchools, an organization working with the public school system to foster environmental awareness in the classroom and engage the next generation of sustainability leaders. In her role, Tania is spearheading the incorporation and building of a new nonprofit called EcoSchools Canada. Thanks to her, the organization’s mission is being brought to a national platform. Her strategic vision, along with juggling day to day duties like IT, HR and million dollar budgets is making the project a massive success.

"The Environment and Resource Studies program instilled the interdisciplinary and systems thinking that is needed to lead social change, and my co-op experience solidified my desire to work within the nonprofit sector," said Tania. "To be recognized by such a distinguished institution and alongside such accomplished alumni is truly an honour. To me, this award is a recognition of the important work and contributions of the people and organizations around me, of all those who are working in the space of fostering youth environmental leadership, and of those who are committed to use their privilege to make the world a better place."   

Alumni Achievement Award co-recipient Scott Thompson

scot thompsonWhen Scott Thompson leaves his home in the morning, nearly everyone he meets has been touched by the work he does every day. Currently Deputy Minister of Finance for the Province of Ontario, the 1982 Urban and Regional Planning grad leads an organization of 2000-plus staff working to craft the Province's fiscal plan, tax system and pension policies, while overseeing key government business enterprises. Under his leadership, the Ministry of Finance has developed and successfully delivered three provincial budgets and for 2017-18, presented a balanced fiscal plan with revenues and expenses of over $140 billion. As part of his current role, he also chairs the board of both the Ontario Financing Authority and the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation.

"It is extremely gratifying to receive an award like this from one’s alma mater," said Thompson. "Considering the high quality of the University of Waterloo education, I consider myself very fortunate indeed to have been recognized from the thousands of graduates, and feel that it represents an appreciation for a career-long dedication to public service."

As Executive Lead for the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services (the Drummond Commission), Scott reviewed the breadth of provincial public services and made recommendations on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their delivery. Previously, as the Director of Municipal Affairs, Scott led significant municipal reform initiatives, including restructuring of regional government and the first comprehensive overhaul of the Municipal Act in over one hundred years.

With more than 30 years of public sector policy experience, Scott endeavors to help the next generation of public service leaders by mentoring a number of early and mid-career public servants and as an Executive Sponsor of the Tomorrow's Ontario Public Service initiative.  AsDeputy Minister of Policy at Cabinet Office, he led Policy Innovation and Leadership, a cross-government initiative aimed at developing and supporting policy professionals and processes. 

"Students in the Faculty of Environment at Waterloo should remember that there will be a wide range of ways that they can use their education to contribute to environmental sustainability, healthy communities and strong public services," said Thompson. "Those that do not end up in careers that directly involve environmental protection in a hands-on way, can absolutely embed the environmental conscience acquired at Waterloo into the way they approach their jobs and their day-to-day lives."

Alumni Achievement Award co-recipient Bryan Tuckey

bryan tuckeyFive years ago, Bryan Tuckey (BES '78) decided to transfer his 33 years of public service experience to a business environment and became the president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the largest local home building association in Canada. Since then, BILD has doubled its revenue and staff. Not bad for an Environment grad.

"I am extremely proud to be recognized by being a recipient of this award," said Tuckey. "I have found the University of Waterloo provides an incredibly solid academic base for a professional planner, I am humbled to think my contribution to planning in Ontario makes me a worthy recipient. I never imagined I would receive this prestigious alumni award. There are many incredibly successful graduates from Waterloo who have made positive impacts in their chosen profession. All deserve recognition." 

BILD’s success is largely attributed to Bryan’s roll-up-the-sleeves-and-get-things-done attitude. He is known amongst his peers for his unique ability to look after the public interest and serve the community while carrying out his responsibilities with a sense of purpose, dignity and respect for others.

"It is important to remember that sustainability is all about balance. One must look at the three pillars of sustainability equally," added Tuckey. "When challenges are evaluated in that way, better decisions will be made." 

The Faculty of Environment Alumni Awards were established in 2008 to honour and recognize the professional achievements, contributions to society and environmental impacts of exemplary graduates shaping our sustainable future.

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