Fin MacDonald

Information on me and my current projects

Category Archives: Volunteer Work

Adapting to Climate Change: A EGB Lecture Event

On Wednesday November 6th the Ottawa Emerging Green Builders held a fall lecture event themed around Climate Change and what is being done to reduce mankind’s impact.  The event was held at Carleton University and was free for the general public.  The lineup of speakers included:

Geoff Green – Adventurer, Educator, and Environmentalist
Dr. Elena Kreuzberg - Conservation Biologist
Fin MacDonald (me!) – Sustainability Analyst at Morrison Hershfield
Craig Goodman – Principal Architect at CS&P Architects Inc.

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This is me speaking at our recent climate change event

I gave a lecture on greenhouse gas accounting as the corporate solution to climate change.

Speaker Panel Poster

Green Jobs 101: An EGB Job Skills Event

On Thursday April 4th the Ottawa Emerging Green Builders held what will become the first annual Green Jobs 101 job skills event.  The event was organized by myself and Imran Hamdad of our committee.  12 industry professionals presented on job skills and career paths to a sold out crowd of 65 attendees.  Companies in attendance included:

Morrison Hershfield
Canada Green Building Council
Arborus Consulting
InAIR Environmental
Vert Design
ANF Energy Solutions

The format to this event was very unique.  The event ran for two hours and the event schedule was as follows:

Part 1: Job presentations by each of the 11 companies in attendance (5 mins each).  Presentations included information about the presenters, their companies, they types of jobs people do at their companies, and the types of skills that they value most.  Each presenter took a different approach to this and the result was a diverse offering that even some of the industry professionals learned from.

Part 2: Skills session – How to develop a portfolio (10 minutes).  Portfolios are a physical representation of your skills, interests, and attitudes.  They are often overlooked but can give you real edge in an interview because they support the claims on your resume with hard evidence.  I presented on what can be included in a portfolio as well as the benefits they bring.

Part 3: Speed dating – This consisted of 1-on-1 sessions between the industry professionals presenting in part 1 and 2 which lasted 3 minutes each.

After the event was over we issued an online survey to those who attended to find out how we did and get some feedback for next year.  70% of those who responded said that they were very satisfied with the event overall, and the remaining 30% were satisfied.  Some tips we received to make the event better next year included:

  • Increase the time for 1-on-1 sessions from 3 minutes to 5 minutes
  • Have a bigger projection screen
  • Have all speakers use a microphone
  • Make the event longer
  • Have more industry participants representing more career paths

We fully intend to follow this advice and I can’t wait to make Green Jobs 101 even better in 2014!

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Ottawa Region Chapter of the CaGBC: Volunteer of the Year

I was recently honored with the award for 2012 Volunteer of the Year by the Ottawa Region Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council.  The Ottawa chapter is successful because of the hard work of a great group of volunteers.  I was very surprised to receive the award at the annual general meeting.  Thank you to everyone.


CaGBC Ottawa Region Emerging Green Builders

I have been volunteering for the past year with the Canada Green Building Council’s Emerging Green Builders (EGB).  The EGB work with their local CaGBC chapters to put on events for students and new professionals.  The main goal is to attract young and new professionals to the green industry.  Another benefit of the EGB committee is that it allows new professionals to take on group leadership roles earlier in their careers, and is training the CaGBC leaders of tomorrow.  I am currently the Vice-Chair of the Ottawa Region EGB, and in the past I held the role of Finance Director.

In Ottawa we have had one successful year already and we have an ambitious plan for another great year ahead.  In the past we have held events like:

  • Holiday Party
  • Residential Panel Discussion for Green Homes
  • Green Building Bike Tour

We also assisted the Ottawa CaGBC Chapter with the Eco-Logical student design competition.

We will be running similar events again this year. We also have plans to host a Green Jobs 101 event which will showcase different green career options and give attendees the chance to discuss required skills and job opportunities 1-on-1 with industry leaders.

If you are interested attending events or joining your local EGB group, contact your local CaGBC chapter (

Evolve Music & Awareness Festival

This time of year I am swamped with preparation work for the Evolve Music and Awareness Festival. Evolve was conceived over 12 years ago by my close friend Joe MacEachern, and the Evolve team is now lead by Jonas Colter. Jonas has transformed the festival into a world class event in recent years, and it has recently been voted the #1 music festival in Canada by the listeners of CBC Radio 3. I have been volunteering with the Evolve Festival for 7 years now, and it has been a very satisfying experience. Evolve has strived since the beginning to be as environmentally friendly as possible. This was not as mainstream 12 years ago as it is today.

My work with the Evolve Festival traditionally involves making sure that all the Artists, VIP, Vendors, Medics, and of course Staff have their passes and security clearance, and working the gate to greet them on Friday. Preparing the backstage passes alone takes over 2 weeks of work in the evenings leading up to the show. I am also always available to help others with whatever they need leading up to the show. This year I plan to take it a step further and use some of my new skills to conduct a full energy assessment of the Evolve Festival. This will be a particularly interesting task for me because it is so different than any other energy audit I have done. Using energy sustainably fits excellently with Evolve’s environmental philosophy.

The festival won’t be all work and no fun of course, and there are over 120 different acts performing this year. For more information on the Evolve Festival vist

Junior Achievement Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame

Last night I attended the annual Junior Achievement Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame gala. As a volunteer with Junior Achievement I am invited to this prestigious event every year. Once a year they get together to induct three new laureates into the hall of fame. The event included a reception and networking period, three course meal, and an awards ceremony.

This years laureates were:

1) Robert (Bob) Kelly, chairman and CEO of the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation

2) Sharon and Richard Calder, founders and owners of Charm Diamond Centres

3) The late Rose Schwartz, co-founder and owner of Schwartz Clothing

The event was hosted by students who took part in the junior achievement program this year, who will likely be the business leaders of tomorrow. Lynn Coveyduck who is the head of JA Nova Scotia presented some interesting research data from the Boston Consulting Group. It turns out that JA students are far more likely to get a college education, earn higher wages, and be successful than those who don’t take the program. We have always known this but thanks to the Boston Consulting Group it is now quantifiable.

I would like to thank all the sponsors of the evening, especially Cox & Palmer who was my sponsor for the evening. All together the event raised over $200,000 for JA Nova Scotia.


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