The AIA Council and the AIA Awards Committee

Are Pleased to Announce the 2017 AIA Awards

Council may present an A.I.A. “Distinguished Agrologist” Award to a member of the Institute for professional distinction associated with an outstanding accomplishment in Agrology, which is recognized provincially or regionally within the province of Alberta.

For 2017, the AIA Council presents the Distinguished Agrologist Award to:

Dr Alan Kennedy
Dr. Alan Kennedy, PAg
As an environmental scientist with over 35 years of experience in environmental management in the energy sector, Dr. Alan Kennedy has crafted, guided and evolved the development of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) extensively though out Canada and internationally. Notably, as the Environmental Manager for Imperial Oil on the MacKenzie Gas Pipeline Project, he helped shepherd a decades long process to a project approval. In his dealings with First Nations and Inuvialuit, Alan brought the term “Social Impact Assessment” into EIAs. That achievement led to his leadership in EIAs and land reclamation practices in Canada’s and Russia’s North, Africa and the USA.

Dr. Kennedy continues to contribute to the education of environmental professionals. He is a professor in the Sustainable Energy Development program at the University of Calgary He chairs the Advisory Committee, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Mount Royal University. He is a member of the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board, an environmental regulatory agency. He has taught EIA workshops at AIA conferences. Read More

Len Knapik
Leonard (Len) Knapik, PAg

  Len Knapik is one of the pioneers in the transition of soils assessment and land reclamation to private industry in Alberta. As an initial member of Pedology Consultants and then his own firm Pedocan Land Evaluation Ltd., Len trained two generations of soil scientists in soil classification and land reclamation. Len’s comprehensive understanding of soil processes (pedology) made him an effective collaborator with professionals in other disciplines. His professional accountability set the standard for PAgs working in reclamation and led to the recognition of the core role agrologists play in land reclamation.

Len Knapik and the term “bible” go hand in hand. Len “basically created the “bible” in the reclamation planning manual for all the soil series in Alberta. He is also the author of the “bible” for reclamation practices for quarry and gravel pit surface disturbances in Alberta. The agriculture side of agrology also benefited from his work on the Alberta Soil Information project (AGRASID). Read More

Paul Thiel
Paul Thiel, PAg
Paul Thiel is Vice-President, Product Development & Regulatory Science with Bayer (Crop Science Division). He made important contributions to crop breeding research particularly hybrid canola (InVigor) and winter wheat varieties. But his most notable contribution is his ability to identify emerging issues, engage in collaborative, thoughtful discussions to develop innovative policy based on sound science for Canada’s agricultural industry. His thoughtful, active listening makes his mentorship and leadership highly valued across agricultural industry associations in Canada and internationally. 

Paul served on industry associations such as the Canola Council of Canada, Grain Growers of Canada and the Canada Grains Council. He identified honey bee health when it was an emergent issue and has worked tirelessly for the past four years with the Canadian Honey Council, CropLife Canada and the Grain Farmers of Ontario to promote research collaboration into bee colony health. Read More


Council may present an A.I.A. “Professional Recognition” Award to a member of the Institute who is being recognized for their special service or has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the AIA.

For 2017, the AIA Council presents the Professional Recognition Award to:

Sandra Landsburg
Sandra Landsburg, PAg
Sandra Landsburg’s career sets high standards for land reclamation specialists and agrologists. In service to her peers, she has authored numerous papers to share her knowledge, volunteered with the Alberta Soil Science Workshop, Canadian Land Reclamation Association, the Alberta Institute of Agrologists and numerous other organizations nationally and in her community. But her greatest contribution to her fellow agrologists is her passion for the field of soil science and her professionalism and ethical practice as a consulting agrologist.

Sandra started her career with Alberta Environment’s Soil Protection Branch, moved onto Nova to do pioneering work in pipeline reclamation and set up her own company, Frickie Creek Consulting with her husband, Dan Axelsson, in 1996. Her recent work has involved a long-term, large scale pipeline reclamation project where the task was not just reclamation “but involved the in-depth assessment of … sampling, field design, field techniques, equipment types and testing methods in the lab and field”. Sandra’s “oversight and contributions were essential to the program’s success”. Read More

Elise Faryna
Elise Faryna, RT(Ag)
Elise Faryna is a land reclamation professional with a reputation for handling large, complex, potentially litigious reclamation and remediation projects with success. She gives back to her profession; she serves on the board of directors for the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association. Her hands-on ability in soils and vegetation assessment helps gain the trust of landowners and the respect of clients, fellow agrologist and non-agrology professionals.

In describing the way she works, her references say: “Elise embodies the qualities that are important to a Registered Technologist in Agrology. She is hard working, ethical, honest, competent and committed to protecting the public while conducting work with an appropriate standard of care”. “She is quiet, confident and very conscientious”. And her ability to handle large, potentially litigious projects come from Elise’s previous background as a project manager and her focus on first hearing the concerns of the landowner before starting land reclamation planning. Read More

 
Council may present an A.I.A. “Outstanding Young Agrologist” Award to a member who is under the age of 35 at the time the award presentation and is being recognized for the outstanding achievement(s) in and service to Agrology within the Province of Alberta. The nominee must have been a member of the AIA for at least five years.

For 2017, the AIA Council presents the Outstanding Young Agrologist Award to:

Esther Vonkeman-Roset
Esther Vonkeman-Roset, PAg
Esther Vonkeman-Roset is notable as a young agrologist, whose field experience is respected by her peers and her past Lethbridge College instructors -who have put her back in the classroom as a guest lecturer. She also served on the Environmental Science Advisory Committee at Lethbridge College. She is active with the AIA Lethbridge Branch, and is a former executive member. She is an accomplished oboe player, and performs with a number of groups throughout Lethbridge.

Esther Vonkeman-Roset has a six-year career as an Environmental Scientist with Trace Associates Inc. In that time, she has mastered the full suite of field assessment processes and tools for environmental site assessments, remediation, and reclamation. In addition to her abilities to plan and do the on-site detail work, her professionalism and communication skills with stakeholders stand out. ” Read More

Council may present an A.I.A. “Outstanding Young Technologist in Agrology” Award to a member who is under the age of 35 at the time the award presentation and is being recognized for the outstanding achievement(s) in and service to Agrology within the Province of Alberta. The nominee must have been a member of the AIA for at least five years.

For 2017, the AIA Council presents the Outstanding Young Technologist in Agrology Award to:

Kirk Elliott
Kirk Elliott, RT(Ag)
Kirk Elliott is a partner at Trace Associates working in land remediation, reclamation and spill response. Kirk Elliott hews close to his south-west Saskatchewan ranch roots. He has the reputation of being a quiet, hardworking, willing co-worker. But his fellow land reclamation professionals and clients have discovered that Kirk is a “great listener, quick learner, great collaborator” who strives for excellence. His professionalism and quiet leadership led to Kirk becoming the youngest Partner at Trace Associates. 

In his ten-year career in land reclamation, fresh out of Lethbridge College, he started as a labourer in the field. But his thoroughness in work and learning led to project management. His farm background and listening skills led to respectful relationships with stakeholders. From fresh graduate to Environmental Scientist, Kirk’s professionalism and development has become a benchmark for fellow agrologists. Read More

Council may present an A.I.A. “Honorary Member” Award to an individual who would not be eligible for membership in the Institute and who has achieved recognition of distinction associated with outstanding accomplishment or contributions to any field of Agrology in Alberta.

For 2017, the AIA Council presents the Honorary Member Award to:

Dr David Chalack
Dr. David Chalack, DVM
Dr. David Chalack is a veterinarian, a judge of dairy cattle, breeder of award-winning Holstein cattle and a driving force in attracting investment and scientists to Alberta in cattle genomics. But his consistent contribution though his career has been as a leader and catalyst to advance Alberta’s and Canada’s agricultural industry. Currently Dr. Chalack is the International Sales Manager for Alta Genetics, Alberta’s international cattle genetics company.

Recently, he was the chair and driving force behind the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, stimulating over $220 million to fund over 1400 projects with a total value of $946 million. He was the President of the Calgary Stampede in 2009-2010 and a strong factor in the Stampede’s adoption and communication of its leading-edge animal care practices. And he was an advocate to Stampede stakeholders that agriculture remain at the forefront of the Calgary Stampede. He has worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as chair of its Ministerial Advisory Board. In 2011, he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. Read More

A “Lifetime Member” Award shall be awarded no more than once every three years. The award shall be chosen by the AIA Council and nominated only by the Council members.

For 2017, the AIA Council presents the Lifetime Member Award to:

Don Hoover
Don Hoover, PAg
Don Hoover became a PAg in 1967. Fifty years later, Don Hoover’s career as a PAg opened private industry consulting to agricultural economists, agricultural land appraisers and farm management advisors. The Canadian consulting agrology sector owes a significant debt to Don’s trail blazing and leadership. To the larger agrology community, his performance as an expert witness dealing with land value and farm management issues established respect for the knowledge and integrity of agrologists with other professions. His leadership and volunteer work in AIA set personal and professional standards for agrologists as he worked in AIA to develop a Code of Ethics and then a Code of Conduct for its members.

Don Hoover’s lasting accomplishment in private business is Serecon. Formed in 1991, Serecon serves as “Specialists in the Business of Agriculture” in Canada and internationally. An inventory of Serecon’s projects over the years shows Don Hoover’s fingerprints on virtually every agricultural and land development issue in Alberta and Canada over the years. Don’s support for students is exemplified by Serecon’s two scholarships for students studying agriculture at the University of Alberta. Read More