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AECOMs Lindsey McDonald focuses on people and the planet

AECOM's Lindsey McDonald focuses on people and the planet

 September 14, 2022

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AECOM's People Spotlight series features Lindsey McDonald, a Senior Socioeconomic Specialist from the company's Environment business line in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Here, Lindsey shares some insight into her inspiration and work.

Meet AECOM's Lindsey McDonald

Lindsey has been working in the socioeconomic arena for over 19 years. She has successfully completed several planning, and impact assessments – evaluating how proposed development impacts the social and economic health, and infrastructure of neighboring communities.

Inspired to join the industry 

"The summer before grad school, I secured a job as a receptionist at an environmental engineering firm. When the Environment Manager heard I had a bachelor’s degree in sociology, he asked if I was interested in joining the human environment team. At that point, I had never heard about socioeconomics, or this line of work, but I was interested in learning more," explains Lindsey.

"Shortly after I transferred into my new role, I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to be doing with my career. It married my passion for community health with growth and sustainable development. I was able to continue with my studies while working and gained an incredible amount of experience on the job."

A favorite project at AECOM

"The Faro Mine Remediation Project has been a career highlight. The Faro Mine, once the largest open pit lead-zinc mine in the world, is now considered one of the most complex abandoned mine remediation projects in Canada. The Indigenous communities in proximity to the site were negatively impacted when the mine was established, however, the remediation project has been an opportunity to right the wrongs," says Lindsey.

"We’ve worked very hard to identify social (including Gender-Based Analysis Plus), economic, and cultural initiatives to maximize Indigenous participation and benefit, while circumventing negative pathways. We are also supporting the development of an Indigenous-led committee which will oversee the planned works and allow for mitigation while promoting self-governance and self-determination."

Positively impacting the community

"When I started my career in northern Alberta, the city of Fort McMurray was struggling to deliver basic community services to their permanent residents because of the large ‘shadow population’, comprised of remote workers. Recognizing this need, I developed mitigation measures for a proponent to conduct their own blood and urine testing at an in-house lab, reducing the demand burden on the local health authority," comments Lindsey.

"I also recommended that the lab infrastructure be eventually donated to the neighboring Indigenous community when the project ended, which would augment the community’s very limited health services. The proponent agreed to all aspects of my recommendation, and the mitigation was considered a success by both the health authority, and the Indigenous community who inherited the lab equipment."

Salient career advice

"Much of socioeconomics is learned on the job. If you have a passion for sustainable and responsible development, and community issues, then this may be the line of work for you! Do not let your lack of experience prevent you from pursuing this unique, interdisciplinary career," adds Lindsey.

Inspired by Lindsey's workplace story at AECOM?

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