Blue Drinks Speaker Profiles

Our Blue Drinks events will feature an speaker at each event, beginning in September! On this page you can find the speaker for the next event as well as profiles for previous speakers.

Current speaker (March 2017)

Beth Anne Fischer standing in a forest setting with waders on.Beth Anne Fischer completed a joint honours degree in Environmental Resource Studies & Indigenous Studies at Trent University. During her studies she was also enrolled in the Con-Ed Teachers Education Program through Queen’s University. Since graduating Beth Anne has worked in environmental education, landowner stewardship, ecosystem monitoring and restoration. She has worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Conservation Authorities and ENGOs. She is currently working as a Watershed Restoration Technician within Conservation Halton’s Landowner Stewardship Program and leading their Brookies in Bronte Forever! program. Beth Anne was recently recognized as one of the City of Guelph’s Top 40 Under 40.

Previous Speakers

September 2016 - Shaun Toner, P. Biol, PMP

Shaun Toner profile pictureShaun is an environmental scientist and project manager with Matrix Solutions. Originally from Ottawa, his interest in nature and adventure brought him to Vancouver, where he completed a B.Sc. in Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of British Columbia. After his degree and spending a year teaching English in South Korea, Shaun moved to Calgary and started his career in consulting with a large engineering firm. He spent most of his time in his early career collecting soil samples in the foothills of Alberta around oil and gas plants. After an opportunity to conduct a limnology study, he realized that his passion and forte revolved around all things water.  

As a water quality specialist and aquatic biologist, Shaun spent several years collecting water and fish samples, then designing environmental baseline and operational effects monitoring programs, and then completing regulatory and technical reports of varying levels of complexity. Today, Shaun manages and provides technical advice on large scale multi-disciplinary environmental projects, such as environmental assessments, spill response projects, and compliance monitoring programs.  

Shaun is a Professional Biologist and he has been actively involved with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists for nearly 10 years. He is currently the past president and a long-standing board member. In his spare time, Shaun enjoys travelling to warm places, cooking, camping, hiking, and lounging around in the pool. 

October 2016 - Cailey McCutcheon, EIT, MASc

Cailey McCutcheon standing with waders in a river holding a fishCailey is a fluvial engineer intern (EIT) at Aquafor Beech Ltd where she collaborates with leading experts to undertake erosion assessments, design river restoration solutions and analyze flood hazards. Cailey has been working with Aquafor for almost 2 years, but has more than 4 years of work experience in environmental consulting. Her previous work experience covered a board range of environmental science, including municipal water and wastewater, groundwater and surface water contamination and solid waste management.

Cailey has recently graduated from her Master’s in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at the University of Waterloo, where she investigated the interaction between groundwater emergence and aquatic habitat selection bias within the Rocky Mountain’s in BC. Cailey has gained an abundance of field experience through her academic and consulting experience including geomorphic surveying, sediment sampling and water quality monitoring. Cailey has a strong interest in implementing new technologies into her practice and has work with other to developed equipment for various field investigations.

Cailey’s field experience and passion for the outdoors have fostered her river passions including fly fishing, canoeing, hiking and camping.

November 2016 - Tony Maas

Tony Maas smiling for a portait photoTony Maas has been working to protect the health of Canada’s fresh water for over 15 years. He divides his time between roles as Director of the Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW) and Manager of Strategy with Freshwater Future, a bi-national Great Lakes organization. In both roles, he provides strategic direction and policy expertise, and builds partnerships among diverse interests to benefit people, the environment and the economy. Prior to his current roles, Tony spent 6 years at WWF-Canada where he developed and managed the organization’s national freshwater program. He chairs the External Advisory Board of the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo and the Steering Committee of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance.

January 2017 - Philip DeWitt

Philip DeWitt profile picture with mountainous backgroundPhilip DeWitt has been monitoring terrestrial ecosystems in a variety of roles for over 16 years. He began his career as a research technician with the Isle Royale Wolf and Moose Study. This early field experience led to several years of technical work for various universities, institutes, and government agencies. He then moved to Alberta where he completed a M.Sc. in ecology focusing on species interactions.

Following school, Phil worked for an environmental consulting firm where he and his team used their combined field and statistical experience to manage, design, and implement wildlife monitoring and research programs in the western boreal forest and Rocky Mountains. Phil recently joined the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry where he is the lead biologist monitoring provincial wildlife monitoring programs over time and space. His current responsibilities include developing and implementing wildlife monitoring programs in collaboration with policy, wildlife, and vegetation specialists.

February 2017 - Steve Usher and Meredith Raddysh

Steve Usher standing in front of a desert backgroundSteve Usher, M.Sc.(Waterloo, 1986) has spent his career in the environmental consulting field through much of the Holocene.  He has worked mainly in Ontario and in Western Canada, but has spent time on other continents examining plate movements and conducting sampling programs in wineries and  breweries.  Steve has an engineering degree from Queens (sorry) where he studied geotechnical engineering.  At Waterloo, he studied groundwater science.  This is no surprise to any of us, as he has been playing with dirt and water since he could crawl, and expects to be doing so until that is all he can do.  None of us really know if dirt and water can actually be a career, but Steve seems to have proved that and has worked mostly as a physical hydrogeologist.  His projects include water supply, waste management, nuclear repositories, mining, groundwater to surface water interaction and how that supports ecologic systems, contaminated sites, radon gas movement, and in source water protection.  Steve has also served as the president of the APGO, and likes to socialize at IAH events, and is looking forward to coming back to Waterloo.

Meredith Raddysh in winter gear on a snowy mountainslopeMeredith Raddysh, B.Sc. (Queens, 2014) has spent her career in the environmental consulting field through the Anthropocene and has made it her job to chide Mr. Usher on his great age. Meredith graduated from Queens University with a degree in Geological Engineering and went straight into working in the environmental consulting sector. In her short career, she has worked across Canada on projects ranging from water supply, to construction supervision of waste facilities, to hydrogeologic studies in high vulnerability aquifers, even to counting the number of minnows that are struggling to make it upstream in a creek. Meredith’s passion for this type of work stems from her childhood and having growing up on a small island in BC where Nature Club and conservation were common words in her Kindergarten class. She has taken what she loved as a child and turned it into a career.

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