Given the chance to work for Triton Environmental Consultants again, Sierra Despot, a UNBC student who worked in the Kamloops office this summer, said she wouldn’t hesitate.
“One hundred percent. Definitely. I would love to come back to work for Triton,” said the 21-year-old. “Working for Triton doesn’t feel like work because I’ve enjoyed it so much.”
Despot, who is a Kamloops native, is entering her third year of a Bachelor of Natural Science Degree at UNBC in Prince George this fall, majoring in fisheries and wildlife. In previous summers, she mainly worked manual labour jobs, which left her mostly unfulfilled and unhappy. Determined to make the most of this summer with a field-related job, she turned to Triton.
Despot was familiar with the company because of its presence each year at UNBC’s career fair. A lifelong friend of hers also works in the Terrace office.
The company had a positive reputation for its mandate of environmental protection, she said.
It’s natural to be nervous in a new job, especially as a summer student. But Despot said she felt at ease in her role because Triton’s work culture was very supportive.
While she split her work schedule roughly 50/50 between the office and the field, it’s evident Despot was drawn to the part of the job that got her outdoors.
“I just enjoy being outside in general,” she said. “It’s my happy place. I’m calm out in the bush. I love animals too, and seeing wildlife up close makes the job that much more exciting.”
Hiking in the bush is part and parcel of field work, and Despot said she appreciated that physical aspect of the job. When pressed though, she admitted the bugs can be a bit unnerving.
Despot’s work also brought her to new places in BC. She worked on monitoring for construction projects north of Kamloops. She helped conduct vegetation surveys in Vernon, to the southeast. And, she did fish salvaging for construction projects in Merritt, just southwest of her community.
“People in this work have to do stints outside of town,” she said. “I enjoyed getting to see different parts of the province.”
Despot said she felt proud of working for Triton because of what she perceived as a strong reputation within industry circles. People at Triton are good at talking with contractors and assuring them Triton’s mandate isn’t to make the work harder but to protect the environment, she said. For nature-loving Despot, that fit her principles perfectly.
“I feel working for Triton, it’s about protecting the environment — protecting what we still have,” she said.
Fraser Windsor’s first week as an Environmental Technician for Triton Environmental Consultants wasn’t the easiest.
“It was a bit of shock,” he said. “I was out of shape, and I had to travel back and forth by boat, then walk all over the place for water quality testing.”
Seven years later with Triton, Windsor is confident, comfortable, and happy.
“It grew on me. Now I like doing what I’m doing,” he said. “I like working outdoors and you meet a lot of nice people.”
While Windsor performs a lot of different duties in his role, most of his work centres around fish. That makes a lot of sense to Windsor, who is Haisla and lives in Kitimaat Village, right on the ocean.
“I’m in the fish clan in our village, and there I am salvaging fish,” he said, laughing.
Before Windsor, now 51 years old, worked at Triton, he had different jobs in the forestry industry. But work was inconsistent. And due to tough circumstances, Windsor never finished high school when he was young.
“When I was growing up, I struggled. A lot of my friends had unfortunate and accidental deaths. It was hard times,” he said.
Windsor chose to complete his Dogwood in 2002, and that’s when, through class assignments, he discovered his love of poetry. “I realized I was pretty good at writing comical short poetry,” he said.
Windsor is also a painter – combining traditional native forms with modern techniques such as spray brush art – and a photographer.
“I bring my own camera out when I’m working in the bush. You can get some really great photos,” he said, bringing up an image on his phone of two baby eaglets in a nest.
A couple of years ago, Windsor asked Triton for the winter off so he could focus on his art. The company granted his wish.
“They are very reasonable,” he said. “If you ever have an issue, with your house or family, for example, they let you deal with it right away.”
Windsor lives with his father, who is 82, as well as his sister and her fiancée.
“Working at Triton helped me pay off my house and help my family out as well,” he said.
Another plus to Windsor’s work is that he’s always close to home, working around Kitimaat Village or down the road in Kitimat.
“There’s work, it’s local, and I’m happy where I am, so I plan to keep on going,” he said.
Fraser Windsor was hired by Triton Environmental Consultants as part of the Haisla_Triton Limited Partnership. Triton has a record of working with First Nations. Recognizing the value of the local knowledge of First Nation team members, the company consistently provides employment and training opportunities.
October 1, 2018, the day LNG Canada announced a positive final investment decision, was momentous for many. LNG Canada, Haisla First Nation, and industry groups around the world celebrated, excited about the future.
Vicky Shaw, a Haisla member, was part of that celebration – and for her, it was very personal.
“I don’t think anyone realized how much it meant for me to be there,” she said.
Shaw is one of 30 Haisla members who make up the Spirit of the Kitlope Dance group, who performed at the FID announcement ceremony in Vancouver. She is also an Environmental Technician at Triton Environmental Consultants.
Shaw has worked for Triton since 2011, and as part of her work, she has conducted environmental studies for LNG Canada since the very start of the project. Even before most people in Northwest BC knew what liquid natural gas was, Shaw was hiking in and around the forests and streams around her village, doing bird nesting surveys and fish salvaging.
“I was part of the work from the beginning and then part of the celebration,” Shaw said. “It was a full circle, like it was meant to be.”
Shaw, 47, is a single mother of three. She lives on the waterfront in Kitimaat Village, the largest Haisla community in Northwest BC, about 10 kilometres away from the District of Kitimat.
After completing the environmental monitoring program, offered through the Haisla Band, Shaw was immediately hired by Triton Environmental.
While she wasn’t sure what the job would entail, she was excited to try something new.
“That feeling has never stopped,” she said. “My job is always changing. I love the variety. I’m always learning new things, but also falling back on the experience I’ve gained on the job.”
Before working at Triton, Shaw was working on-call for the Haisla Band office. Day-to-day, she wouldn’t know if she’d get called in as a janitor, secretary, to the gas bar, to work a couple jobs in one day, or not at all. “I was all over the place. It was a real struggle,” she said.
Now Triton has stable work year-round. And, she said, she feels understood and respected by her employer.
“Triton is a really good company to work for. They really try to work with me while some other employers might work against you,” she said. “If you do have issues, you talk it through and try to find a solution.”
Having now worked on many of the large industrial projects in Haisla Territory, such as the Kitimat Modernization and Kemano projects, Shaw also appreciates the awareness and knowledge she gains through her job.
“I know and understand all the different projects happening here. I get a better perspective of everything that’s going on in our territory and being done,” she said.
Shaw has lived in Kitimaat Village her whole life and feels proud that she now has a hand in monitoring and protecting the land on which she and her people have always lived.
Outside of work, Shaw spends most of her time with her kids and grandkids. She also volunteers with the Haisla Fire Department and practices regularly with the Spirit of the Kitlope Dance Group.
“I love hearing the drums. I love the feeling of being grounded again,” she said.
Vicky Shaw was hired by Triton Environmental Consultants as part of the Haisla_Triton Limited Partnership. Triton has a record of working with First Nations. Recognizing the value of the local knowledge of First Nation team members, the company consistently provides employment and training opportunities.
When people ask Derrick Robinson what he does for work, he tells them, “I look after Mother Earth. I look after the water, air, and fish.”
Officially, he’s an Environmental Technician.
Robinson, who is from the Haisla First Nation in Northwest BC, works for Triton Environmental Consultants.
“As of March 1, 2019, I’ll have been working for them for eight years. I can’t believe it’s been that long,” he said. “My family is really proud of me. They know I’m a hard worker. It’s amazing…”
Robinson finds his job fulfilling in so many ways.
“It’s a lot of exercise. You’re outdoors, doing a lot of walking and hiking,” he said. “It keeps you in good shape.”
He especially loves taking new employees under his wing.
“The more you work, the more training you get. And the more you know, the more you know what you are doing. You get stronger and stronger,” he said. “I’m teaching myself and I also teach other people. It feels good to look after employees, and your friends and family.”
“Triton feels like a family,” he said.
Robinson has lived in Kitimaat Village most of his life. He moved to Vancouver for a short stint to work as a landscaper, but the city was too expensive. He returned to the Northwest when his grandfather got sick.
At that time, he managed to get a job at Haisla fisheries and worked there for almost three years.
“But at the end of the season, it would be closed down until Spring,” he said.
So when the Haisla offered the Environmental Monitoring course, Robinson applied. He got his certificate and had an interview with Triton.
Since then, he’s worked on almost all of the major projects in Haisla territory such as LNG Canada, Kitimat LNG, and others. The past couple years have been especially busy.
“There’s been lots of changes on the work site. There’s more people and more people getting hired,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”
On his days off, Robinson focuses on resting, relaxing and his family, who also live in the village and in Kitimat and Terrace.
“It’s good to be home, close to family,” he said. “I love my job. It’s good money. It’s good hours. It’s stable. It makes me work harder every day.”
Derrick Robinson was hired by Triton Environmental Consultants as part of the Haisla_Triton Limited Partnership. Triton has a record of working with First Nations. Recognizing the value of the local knowledge of First Nation team members, the company consistently provides employment and training opportunities.