Daniel Saurette


Daniel is a Soil Scientist and Agrologist in Training (AIT) with Stantec Limited where he specializes in Pedology. Daniel has nearly 6 years of practical soil science experience, with 3 years experience in soil survey and mapping. Prior to working at Stantec, he worked for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a Soil Resource Officer.

The majority of Daniels work is focused on soil classification, survey and mapping for a wide variety of projects including soil suitability for irrigation, linear developments (e.g. pipelines) and pre-disturbance environmental assessments.

Dan was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB, with French as a first language. After high school he completed one year of General Sciences at the College Universitaire de St. Boniface in Winnipeg and then took a year off before starting in the Faculty of Forestry at Lakehead University. After completing a Bachelor of Science in Forest Conservation, Daniel enrolled in a Master of Science in Soil Science program at the University of Alberta in 2004 under the supervision of Drs. Scott Chang and Barb Thomas, graduating in 2006. Daniel recently received the President's Award; Jacques Whitford AXYS Ltd. (now Stantec) as well as receiving many graduate awards during his term of study at the University.

Dan remembers coming to Renewable Resources from Lakehead University. He saw a posting for a MSc program on the wall at Lakehead in the forestry department and contacted Dr Scott Chang. Dan had just graduated from the Forest Conservation program in which he specialized in Forest Soils. A deflated forest industry and a desire for more knowledge of soils made the decision easy. The trip to Edmonton was eventful, with trailer axles breaking and car trouble, but eventually he made it.

The route to the university when he first arrived was through Mill Creek Ravine to the North Saskatchewan Valley all the way to campus. The valley eventually became his favorite place in Edmonton. Dan also recalls the culture shock of coming from Lakehead, a university of 6000 students, to the U of A, with its 25,000 or so. What a difference it was!

At the U of A Dan made many new friends, most of which he still talks to on a regular basis. Within a lab group there always seems to be a strong bond as each grad student tends to spend time on each others student projects.

Dan reports that his career has started off pretty well, having had three different jobs since leaving the U of A, two jobs within his first year of leaving, and with Stantec since. He thinks that what he learned from his experience is that flexibility is important, especially when starting out at junior and intermediate positions. Getting established in your desired field of work can be difficult at first. The good thing about moving around from one job to another was the travel. He lived everywhere from Edmonton to Quebec City to Winnipeg in that first year, so it was a great opportunity for Dan to see a large part of the country. Another important aspect of moving around was the variety of people he met working in his field which has enabled Dan to establish many ongoing relationships across the country. This has led to collaborative research opportunities that extend outside his daily job.

Dan's hopes are pretty simple - continue soil survey and mapping. It is what he enjoys the most. A second goal is to continue to find research opportunities and continue to publish research and/or applied research papers.

Outside of work hours Dan likes to spend time outdoors, taking annual snowboard and mountain bike trips, hiking, canoeing and wasting time at the park. In the winter Dan tries to snowshoe as much as possible, and he spends a couple nights a week at the hockey arena in the beer leagues.

Added 28 August 2009