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Terry’s career path to becoming a consultant for Sustainability Solutions Consulting is an enlightening one. After completing his bachelor’s degree in commerce and finance at the University of Northern British Columbia, Terry graduated unresolved. His passion for commerce dissipated, and he travelled to the Global South. When he returned from his soul-searching travels, he brought back a new perspective on environmentalism and sustainability, which led to his eventual pursuit of his Master’s degree in Urban Studies (MURB).
“Sustainability is more holistic than applying technologies. It can be defined as a community that is able to provide for itself, while also considering future generations. It is equitable in how it allots money, technologies and policy initiatives so that all income and socioeconomic groups can participate,” explains Terry.
The Master of Urban Studies Program allowed Terry to delve into research in housing affordability. Terry says, “Back in 2013, there was less knowledge on housing affordability. I was interested in both municipal housing policy and sustainability. I chose to explore the methodologies by which a municipality can take action within their own jurisdiction on affordable housing initiatives. My thesis was essentially a toolkit as to what a municipality could do to create long-term affordable housing.”
Living in Vancouver, the Harbour Centre campus was very convenient for Terry. It enabled him to work on a narrow and specific thesis all within his own city. Terry is also appreciative of his cohort and Urban Studies professors for their support and professional connections, which provided significant inspiration for his career path. After completing his MURB, Terry worked in several roles including as a planning assistant, planning technician and as a Planner 1.
“I remember when I was working on my Master’s in Urban Studies, we visited Portland on a field trip and we got to immerse ourselves in the municipal workings of a different country. I was quite inspired by their practices and I wanted to make change,” Terry recalls.
With time, Terry reflected on his experiences as a graduate student and working in the field. He knew that he wanted to be more empowered and creative. Through the Urban Studies program and his work, he was able to connect with practicing planners, which eventually led him to his current role as a consultant.
“I really enjoy working in a cooperative business model, where everyone is able to feel autonomous and provide input and decisions are consensus-based. Everyone can feel like they’re in charge of their initiatives and projects,” explains Terry. Currently, Terry is responsible for policy-planning and long-term planning for cities to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050.