John Thompson, B.A.Sc., P.Eng., CMM III IP, PMP
How long have you been on the board and what position do you currently hold?
Joined the Board of Directors of the OMWA in 2015
Currently a Director representing the management sector.
What municipality or organization do you represent?
Currently employed (since 2010) by the City of Barrie and serve as the Director of Environmental Services responsible for water, wastewater, solid waste and environmental investigations & response operations.
What is your educational and professional background?
A 1978 graduate of the University of Waterloo in the Honours Applied Science, Civil Engineering Program.
The OMWA is a not-for-profit organization and all Board positions, including yours, are all volunteer, what inspired you to become an OMWA board member?
Having been involved in the design, construction and operations of municipal water and wastewater infrastructure since the mid 1970s, I feel through my considerable experiences I have something to contribute to the betterment of the industry in Ontario.
What do you hope to see in the future for OMWA?
It would be gratifying to see the current OMWA strategic plan fully implemented with the organization recognized as a key provincial resource with respect to policy and governance of the full spectrum of municipal water infrastructure – drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.
What would you say to a 16-year-old student considering a career path, in water?
“Should you truly wish to contribute to the well being of society by protecting public and environmental health, the municipal water industry holds a wide spectrum of rewarding opportunities that have little to no chance of becoming obsolete.”
What advice would you give to a new graduate considering a position in the water industry?
“Ensure you secure a solid educational foundation and seek opportunities to gain experience in a wide variety of water-related positions to gain a wholesome understanding and appreciation for the industry while obtaining any and all available training and certifications within your grasp before settling in on any singular area in which to specialize.”
What’s your hometown?
Born in Sudbury and experiencing family moves (due to my Father being a Bell Canada Engineer) to London, Mississauga, Windsor, and Barrie. Then following graduation: Chatham, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Whitby and Stayner (where my family has called home since 1989).
What brought you to Ontario?
My entire life has been spent living and working throughout Ontario (from Windsor to Ottawa to North Bay to Thunder Bay and most places in between –with a few projects beyond Ontario; including California, New Jersey and Kamloops, B.C.)Always being employed in the municipal utility field.
What was your first job?
Not counting high school jobs: picking tobacco, delivering pizzas and working on appliance assembly lines, my first position in the municipal infrastructure field was as a student working with the City of Barrie on their survey crew assisting with road allowance reconstructions – including all subsurface utility rebuilds.
What challenges have you had to overcome in your career?
The only challenges I have experienced have been managing to balance simultaneous careers (engineering consulting and serving as a local municipal elected official) while contributing to local service organizations and benevolent groups and raising a family. The rewards have far outweighed any challenges.
What are some of your hobbies or how do you spend your free time?
In winter I enjoy snowshoeing and skiing with my wife, Arlene and friends while in summer my free time is spent on our tandem bicycle, our “paddle-less” kayak, jet boat, golfing or simply relaxing while tending the yard. Besides these activities we enjoy travel (especially Europe) and as time and circumstance permits I try to increase my knowledge and appreciation for wines and scotch. Also, I am proud of my considerable association with various bodies of Canadian Freemasonry.
What is something quirky about you?
I have nothing to report here – but I do notice that everyone else have lots to report.
What was your most prized toy as a child, and why?
A primitive set of Walkie-talkies and a “Duncan” spin top – but I should not forget my 10-speed bicycle.
If you could have a t-shirt printed with a message, what would it be?
“Life’s treasures are memorable experiences – not things”