Lifetime Achievement Award – Bill Ross

Bill Ross is the recipient of IAIA-WNC's Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions and dedication to the professional practice of environmental assessment in Canada and internationally. The award was presented to Dr. Ross at an event in Calgary on June 6.

Bill Ross is a professor (now emeritus) at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Environmental Design, where he has taught since 1973. He has focused most of his research on the professional practice of environmental assessment and has extensive expertise on cumulative effects assessment. He has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Manitoba and a Ph.D. in quantum physics from Stanford University, and unleashed this scientific rigour on the field of impact assessment.

Dr. Ross has developed training, taught, and advised on many aspects of environmental assessment in Canada and internationally. In addition to teaching grad students, he has delivered training courses to further the practice of environmental assessment around the world. In 1994, he headed the Canadian Mission to the Middle East to determine environmental assessment capabilities and needs as part of the Multilateral Peace Process.

Bill is the founding president of the WNC. He has chaired the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency for the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories for five years and has been a director of that organization for two decades.

Dr. Ross has considerable experience as a member of environmental assessment review panels in Alberta and British Columbia:

  • Federal review panel
    • Oldman River Dam – Chair
    • TransCanada Highway twinning in Banff National Park - member
    • CP Rail Rogers Pass Project - member
  • joint review panels
    • EnCana Shallow Gas Infill Development Project
    • Joslyn North Mine Project
    • Alberta-Pacific Pulp Mill
  • Cheviot Coal Mine Review Panel in Alberta - Advisor on cumulative environmental effects

Selected honours and awards:

  • 2015 Journal of Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal - Best Paper co-author - for which Bill was ceremonially honoured in Nagoya, Japan, in 2016.
  • 2009 winner of the Rose-Hulman Award from the IAIA. This is now called the Lifetime Achievement Award – to recognize past or present members of IAIA for major contributions to the field of impact assessment over a sustained period.

It has taken the WNC almost 10 years to catch-up to the international body in recognizing Bill’s contributions. Sometimes we look elsewhere for greatness, and don’t see it right in our own back yard.