EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. in Business for 25 years
September 2019 marks the 25th year that EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. has been in business. What does it take to reach a corporate milestone like that? “Preparation, patience, trust and seizing opportunities. That’s what has kept us going and growing over the years,” explains Bob Redden, CEO at EDI. “We hire skilled professionals, empower them to do good work, support them, and recognize that building a business doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and focused effort.”
In 1994, biologist Dwight Hickey moved to Prince George, started EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. and, in doing so, founded one of the first environmental consulting firms in northern British Columbia. “Dwight truly was a visionary,” says Bob. “He saw an opportunity, evaluated the risk, and decided it was worth taking. That’s what we do every time we grow in a new location.”
Expansion at EDI has been strategic over the 25 years, evolving organically with the establishment of new offices when the time was right: Whitehorse in 2000; Grande Prairie in 2002; Vancouver in 2006; Nanaimo in 2011; Calgary in 2014; Saskatoon in 2015; and Victoria in 2016. “We grow by leveraging our core strengths to expand and diversify toward new opportunities,” explains Bob. “That involves listening to our clients’ needs and responding accordingly.”
The key to EDI’s success and longevity is built from the relationships it has with clients, staff, and the communities in which it works. "EDI’s corporate philosophy from our ﬁrst day in business has been to elevate the standards by which environmental issues are addressed. This means we deliver practical, high quality environmental products and services. Our clients come to us with challenges because they know we will help them find the right solution. We are a down-to-earth team that is always focused on what matters," explains Bob.
In terms of relationships among EDI staff, the positive culture at EDI fosters a strong team mentality that is realized across all EDI offices in western and northern Canada. Rahul Ray, EDI’s Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, states, “EDI is a place where people want to work. Everyone is approachable, collaborative, and you find a remarkably similar positive energy at all EDI offices. That comes from the quality of our team members and their commitment to our whole team’s success.”
Local knowledge and community involvement are also key to EDI’s ongoing success. Pat Tobler, Principal and Territories Regional Director explains, “EDI clients appreciate our knowledge of local issues and the environment The people in the communities where we live and work appreciate our contributions, as a company and as individuals who volunteer. Here at EDI, we strive to be woven into the fabric of the communities where we live and work.”
Former and current EDI staff have reached out to help us celebrate this 25th anniversary milestone by describing some fond memories and what they like best about working at EDI:
Erik Luiker, Aquatic Biologist at EDI in 1995 - “When I first started, the company consisted of Dwight Hickey and Bob Redden. I think I was the third employee. What I liked about the company first and foremost was the enthusiasm and friendliness of Dwight. He was passionate about this new initiative, and he treated me with complete respect and dignity. I knew this company was going to do well right from the start, and I enjoyed being involved in its first year of growth.
My favourite memory of working at EDI is strategizing about the growth of the company with Bob and Dwight in Dwight’s kitchen – there was no office at that time.”
Photo: CEO Bob Redden's 1981 Dodge - Along with Dwight's 1984 Chevy S10, this was the crown of the fleet in 1995 and was instrumental in the success of EDI's first field season.
Mark Sloat, Natural Resource Specialist / Environmental Planner, at EDI in 1996-1997 (co-op terms), 1998-2003 and 2006-2008 - “I loved the work that we did – providing professional expertise in natural resources management to clients throughout northern British Columbia. It was a great mix of field and office work. I was a recent graduate of UNBC (B.Sc., 1998) and, for someone who was searching for a career, it was so exciting to be applying the knowledge from my degree and to meet like-minded people working in the same field. I also got to see some amazing places that I never would have visited otherwise – I’m thinking of Takla Lake and the Middle River, the Torpy River and the Bowron watershed, and how can I forget the Chundoo Motel and the Classic!
I have fond memories of the summers of 1996 to 1998 working in the field doing stream inventories north of Fort St. James, BC, and working alongside some really great people. A favourite memory is after a long day of work, the whole group of us left Leo Creek Camp to go fishing at the mouth of some streams entering Takla Lake. I remember a calm lake, clear skies and a setting sun, the company of good friends and I remember that the fish were biting!”
Photo: Mark Sloat and Dwight Hickey are all smiles after pushing to complete a riparian restoration project on Crocker Creek, north of Prince George, BC in 1998 just prior to winter setting in.
Cathy Mackay, Chief Operating Officer - Prince George Office, started at EDI in 2006 - “Christmas parties and curling are my favourite memories at EDI — hanging out with people because we like each other not just because we work together. I’ve seen the company more than double in size since I started working here and I’m proud to be part of it. The thing I like best about working at EDI is the energy.… good vibes. I enjoy coming to work. There is always a new challenge.”
Adam Compton, Senior Biologist/Project Manager - Nanaimo Office, started at EDI in 2000 - “What I like best about working at EDI is the opportunity to travel and explore the many incredible and diverse natural environments of Western Canada while working on equally diverse and interesting projects.
In 2001, my first job as a Project Manager was full of interesting and rewarding challenges, conducting stream and lake classification for the Ministry of Forests in McBride, BC. I worked in some incredibly beautiful, remote and rugged locations in the Robson Valley, Upper Fraser Watershed and around Kinbasket Lake. We accessed locations by ATV, 4x4 and helicopter. At times I wondered how I could be so lucky to get paid to go on these adventures, but then the forests of devil’s club infested blowdown reminded us that it wasn’t a walk in the park...”
Photo: EDI Senior Biologist, Adam Compton taking notes on stream characteristics on the Pine River, British Columbia in 2001.
Ben Schonewille, Fish and Wildlife Biologist - Whitehorse Office, started at EDI in 2004 - “The best thing about working at EDI is having the opportunity to work on new and exciting projects that are both challenging and rewarding while also getting to spend time in some of our country's most amazing places.
There have been so many great memories at EDI.....I would have to say my favourite would be the first time we had success with our instream incubation Chinook salmon projects here in the Yukon. Seeing those little salmon fry in a stream where they haven't been for many years was extremely rewarding. To actually see the little fry that we 'made' and put there was amazing and, I will admit, almost a bit emotional!”
Photo: EDI Senior Biologist, Ben Schonewille and crew inserting fertilized Chinook salmon eggs into incubation sites in 2019.
Evelyn Bih Neba, Biologist - Grande Prairie Office, started at EDI in 2019 - “I like the team spirit and safety consciousness of the workers at EDI. My favourite memory is when we went out for a stream assessment. It was rainy and difficult to input data using the iPad, so we tried to bend over each other to prevent rain from touching the iPad just to get the data entered".
Cameron Jackson, Senior Biologist/Project Manager - Saskatoon Office, started at EDI in 2017 - “What I like the best about working at EDI is the support from all staff, regardless of seniority or role, and the fact that my opinions are heard and valued. I feel like what I do matters. One of my favourite memories is expanding our office in Saskatoon and assembling an amazing group of biologists.”
Photo: EDI Senior biologist and Lead in Saskatoon, Cameron Jackson.