Research project manager proactive on environmental issues


While Gregor MacLean’s career has followed a twisting path for several years, the experience he has gained has most recently led him to a project manager’s role with Niagara Research.

Working at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus with responsibility for the Agriculture and Environment portfolio, Gregor oversees projects in the areas of horticulture, precision agriculture and environment.

While completing a degree in sport management from Brock University, Gregor took on a co-op at Niagara Region, which gave him the first detour from the path.

“It was the right place at the right time,” he recalls, since the experience – helping promote the re-launch of the curbside collection of organics – gave him a practical grounding in something he was already interested in: environmental issues.

After graduation and the co-op experience MacLean completed the post-graduate certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Niagara College. With this combined education and experience, he headed into the private sector, working as an environmental consultant for hazardous materials and property assessments, and later as a program manager focused on program design and delivery in energy conservation and consumer engagement. From there he went to work for a company in Toronto that co-ordinated provincial energy conservation programs to inform and engage consumers regarding energy conservation.

“Everything I was doing I was interested in, but I was always looking for a way to be more proactive,” he says, noting that provincial programs and laws are positive steps in Ontario, but that provincial legislation can sometimes lag behind the possibilities.

So when the opportunity arose to take on project management in the research sector here at Niagara College, MacLean found a way again to make his experience and his interests match his professional goals.

“I’m learning that there are so many technical aspects to this portfolio, especially in areas like precision agriculture, but everyone has been so welcoming, and willing to teach, or explain everything,” he says. “Really, there is so much positive work going on in these areas, and the majority of what is being done comes down to sustainable growing.

“More than that, it’s also about a sustainable food environment.”

The Hamilton resident has come on board at a time when several projects are already in the works, so he’s looking forward to seeing projects through from concept to completion.

In his spare time, you might find MacLean spinning the turntable at a bar, club, wedding, or a charity event. With talented musical friends playing various instruments, he decided he needed his own musical outlet. So a few years ago he bought turntables, and DJ MacLean was born.

For more information on the projects in his portfolio, click here.