Happy 10th Anniversary to Senior Sustainability Analyst Nathan Ayer
Reasons to celebrate are always welcome, and never more so than in these times. So we’re happy to be able to honor our senior sustainability analyst Nathan Ayer, who recently marked his 10th anniversary with our organization. We caught up with Nathan at his home outside Halifax, Nova Scotia, and got some of his perspectives on this mutual milestone.
How Did You First Connect with EarthShift Global?
When I was learning to do Life Cycle Assessments as a master’s student at Dalhousie University in 2005-6, we used LCA software from the company that was then just called EarthShift. And when I would call for technical support, I found myself talking to Lise Laurin, the founder! Lise and I spent quite a bit of time on the phone over the course of a couple of weeks as she helped resolve a technical issue for my team and me; we had a great rapport, and I was impressed with how hard she tried to help me.
In the fall of 2006, I won an award for a presentation at the ACLCA conference in Washington, DC. Lise knew about the award and a bit about my research, and a couple of years later she reached out to me about working together. It took a little while, but by November 2009 I was ready to make the move and I joined the company.
So, there was a certain amount of happenstance, but the real key was the connection that Lise built with me on those tech support calls, as well as our shared approach to LCA and to research and work in general.
What are Some Favorite Projects You’ve Worked On?
One is the LCA of copper-alloy aquaculture nets that we did for the International Copper Association - it had so many of the elements that make a project great.
I had used LCA to study salmon aquaculture systems during my master’s research, and this project let me leverage and extend that knowledge in new directions. I got to travel and to know our client really well, and we ended up publishing a journal article together and presenting at multiple conferences. The work we did was of great benefit to the ICA and several of their member companies, and it’s also turned into a lasting friendship with our client.
There’s also our current work developing LCA data and models to support the Canadian Clean Fuel Standard for the Environment and Climate Change Canada agency. It’s our first big Canadian project, and a real contribution to sustainability efforts here. Most LCA practitioners feel motivated by the opportunity to help inform environmental policy development, and this work will directly inform and influence a major initiative. You can’t ask for much more in this business!
What Else Stands Out from the Past Decade?
My favorite experiences have involved travelling to conferences and site visits with our clients. It’s allowed me to meet brilliant people who are often doing fascinating and creative things in their fields, visit their facilities, and learn first-hand about their work.
Also, we mostly work remotely, which has allowed me to spend a lot more time with my sons Sam and Theo as they grow up, and with my wife Louise, than I could have in a more-classic office environment. I’m thankful for that, and also for the EarthShift Global annual meetings when we all get to spend time together in-person.
I also have to note that EarthShift Global has been very supportive of my working on my PhD, which has been one of the great experiences of my life. I’ve been chipping away at it for 9 of my 10 years here, and the company’s support of my efforts (which are targeted for completion this year) has meant the world to me.
Going Forward, How Do You See Things Evolving?
As a company we are really starting to take off, so I see great things on the horizon. Sustainability has become increasingly important across just about every sector and at every level of government, so our opportunities to help in these efforts are continuing to grow.
I’m especially excited about EarthShift Global now being officially registered in Nova Scotia, and the prospect of contributing to the growth of a new economy in Atlantic Canada. There are a lot of creative people and new ventures here, and the region is reinventing itself with a focus on clean technology.
I could have left this area on multiple occasions to pursue career opportunities, but I always wanted to stay and build a business helping companies in this part of the world. EarthShift Global is giving me the chance to connect and find ways to contribute, and I am very grateful for that.
Pete Dunn, EarthShift Global’s marketing consultant is an entrepreneurial marketing and communications strategist and writer, serving clients in academia, technology and B-to-B marketing. His journalism background includes eight years as founder, editor and publisher of WaferNews, the leading news publication for the international semiconductor manufacturing community. He specializes in creative collaboration and translating complex subjects into clear messages that inform and inspire.