Chemist Connector: Jay Toews

Jay Toews, President and Senior Limnologist, Toews Environmental Ltd.

Why did you join the ACPO?

As a limnologist, my work spans all aspects of freshwaters, with particular focus on ecology and chemistry. Already registered as a professional biologist, I realized that I should be accountable to the ACPO for the chemical aspects. Self-regulated professional bodies are increasingly recognized and important in professional practice nationally.

What Chemical Industry do you work in? What do you love about your Industry?

Environmental, as an independent consultant. Freshwaters have always been a passion of mine. They are increasingly challenged by chemical threats including toxins and nutrients, which create myriads of ecological effects. Working in a crossover field with deep understanding of chemical processes connects me intimately with the environments I love.

Why would you encourage a student to major in the Chemistry field?

Advanced training in chemistry seems rare in the environmental consulting profession, such that most chemical data are collected and interpreted by biologists or others with little training in chemistry. That is problematic, given the growing and complex problems in water quality. Ultimately, right-to-practice legislation will be appropriate.

If you could have coffee with any chemist in history, who would that be and why?

My first boss and mentor in a chemistry lab at Fisheries and Oceans’ Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg. I wonder how he’s doing. I’ll have to look him up.