Canada, Environment, People Spotlight, Sustainable Legacies

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a senior social scientist from our Environment business line in our London, Ontario office, and providing insight into their consulting inspiration and work.

Brady Romanson leads the Social Performance & Human Rights technical practice group for Canada, which is part of AECOM’s global technical practice network. He is also an ESG advisory leader focused on improving social outcomes on project design and delivery. Brady holds a master’s degree in Environmental Studies (Planning Program Certificate) from York University and an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Carleton University. He is also a registered professional planner and Envision Sustainability Professional.

Tell us about what inspired you to join the industry.

The short answer is that I joined the consulting industry somewhat by chance. The longer answer goes back to the beginning of my post-secondary education. Not knowing what I wanted to do professionally when I was 18, I applied to a variety of universities to study either geography, kinesiology or criminology. I ultimately landed on studying physical geography, which introduced me to environmental assessment and renewable energy – and inspired many interesting conversations about climate change.

Quickly concluding that most of the earth’s physical systems were rapidly changing due to human activities, I eventually went on to complete a master’s degree in Environmental Studies, gaining a better grasp of how humans interact with our planet. This experience led me to pursue additional studies in environmental planning and renewable energy development, as well as the opportunity to intern at a consulting company. The rest, as they say, is history.

What is your favorite AECOM project that you’ve worked on and why?

For the past couple of years, I have been working on the High Frequency Rail project – a project led by the Government of Canada – to investigate a new, modern passenger rail service between Toronto and Quebec City, which will be the largest rail transportation infrastructure project undertaken in Canada in decades. What I have enjoyed the most about this project is the ability to connect with communities and learn from so many different technical experts in the railway, environmental, planning and communication fields. Not to mention, I’m becoming a bit of an amateur railway buff!

Tell us a story of how your work positively impacted the community.

One of the best parts of my job is often the most challenging aspect of my work. Throughout my career, I have had the good fortune to travel across Canada – and, while meeting and working with new people is what I truly enjoy, it is sometimes being that ‘new’ face in the room that can initially be the biggest hurdle to overcome.

That said, I complete my work through a lens of cultural humility, actively trying to look, listen, and learn about the people and the community to help break down any biases. I strive to take a listen-first approach and remember that everyone is an expert in their own way, and that inclusion of local knowledge and viewpoints is integral to building a successful project outcome for everyone. My goal for each new project is to create positive community relationships built on trust through inclusive and transparent engagement processes where people feel heard and included, which makes a lasting impact.

Share a piece of career advice.

One thing that I always say to students or people who are starting their careers and looking for advice is to jump at every opportunity to get involved or volunteer – even if you think it’s a long shot or outside your area of interest or comfort zone because you never know where those opportunities could lead.

Originally published Sep 28, 2022

Author: Brady Romanson