BSc, Biochemistry, SFU 1971
MSc, Biological Sciences, SFU 1972
Founder, ASL Analytical Laboratories
Allan Maynard was a Charter student of Simon Fraser University. He received a BSc in Biochemistry in 1971 followed by his Master of Science degree (Biological Sciences) in 1972. He then developed his career in the emerging field of environmental science first working as a consultant and later as an analytical chemist.
In 1982 he co-founded a successful and award winning international environmental laboratory business – ASL Analytical Laboratories (now known as ALS Global). It was known as one of Canada’s largest and most widely respected laboratories in Canada and also had branches in South America and SE Asia. His company specialized in carrying out environmental analytical chemistry in support of projects such as environmental impact studies, contaminated sites projects, food safety and drinking water programs.
ALS Global acquired this successful company in 2001 and Mr. Maynard retired from this business in 2004. He then became the executive director of CCIL (Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories) for the next 8 years.
Allan has had a long association with SFU. His firm was one of the first to bring on co-op students – just as this innovative program was being developed. He received the Simon Fraser University Outstanding Alumni Award for Professional Achievement in 1995. Allan also was on the SFU Alumni Association Board of Directors for several years, including serving as its President. He also served on the President's Search committee in 2009.
Allan lives in North Vancouver with his wife Margrit who is a retired teacher and also an SFU graduate. They travel extensively and take great delight in their six grandchildren. His son and daughter work in the field of education. The importance of education is a passion for the entire family.
Why did you choose to go to SFU?
Firstly – for very practical reasons. It was a much easier commute from my home in North Vancouver. But also I was attracted to the fact that it was a brand new campus with exciting prospects. A delegation came to our small high school and made a presentation that greatly impressed me.
Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus?
I was a science student taking 5 or 6 courses per semester. As a result, most of my time was spent in labs, at the library or in the lecture halls. That must sound boring but I didn’t mind that much. Now, in retrospect, I wish I could have taken more time to participate in other campus activities. But it was just too difficult especially in the first two ‘make or break’ years.
As I became a bit more secure in my marks and progress, I did manage to attend some events that eventually resulted in my passion for environmental issues.
What is your favorite memory from your time at SFU?
Living on campus with my new wife while I was doing my Masters program. We lived in what was initially called the ‘Married Residence’ but was promptly renamed Louis Reil House. It was wonderful being part of the Biological Sciences faculty. They were a great group who knew how to have fun whilst still working hard. It was a great experience.
Who was your favorite SFU professor and why?
I would have to say Dr. Brahm Van Overbeek who supervised my Masters research. He taught me how to properly approach problems, analyze research results and most importantly how to write. He became a close friend who we since visited a number of times in Holland.
How has your SFU degree impacted your career?
At the time of my graduation in 1972, Environment Canada was newly formed (and the EPA in the US). There was a high demand for people with chemistry and biology degrees. This fit well with a passion I had developed for the need to work on and solve environmental issues. I wanted to be a part of it.
What is your favorite SFU snow story?
Being glad we lived on campus and didn’t have to go anywhere when it snowed.
If you could give advice to students today, what would you tell them?
I would say that it is very wise to take a diverse set of courses. My regret was that my course load in sciences was so onerous, that I was unable to take advantage of so many other wonderful programs available. When students have access to some of the best minds in the country, it is wise to take advantage and broaden one's learning.
What is the one thing about SFU that must not change?
Being creative and innovative.