Top 10 Under 40: Justin Clarke
By Colleen Cross
It’s hard not to feel good about the future of the ground water industry after talking with 10 young people who work hard and love what they do.
Ground Water Canada put out a call to readers to tell us about outstanding young professionals who exhibit outstanding leadership, skill and dedication to the industry. Readers came through with an impressive sampling of the industry’s best – including Justin Clarke. Read on to learn more about this young sales manager!
FROM FIELD TECH TO TROUBLESHOOTER
Justin Clarke, Maxim Environmental & Safety Inc., Mississauga, Ont.
Justin Clarke has been around the ground water industry all of his life. Now 36, the sales manager at Maxim Environmental & Safety Inc., in Mississauga, Ont., cut his teeth doing field work and gaining hands-on experience that would serve him well in helping customers through challenging situations.
Clarke started at the age of 10 working as a field assistant on weekends and professional development days for his father, hydrogeologist Bill Clarke, at Waterloo Geoscience Consultants Ltd., a consulting firm. He was hired full time with in 2004 and remained in the consulting business until 2012.
Following his field work, he joined Heron Instruments’ team for one year before going to work at Maxim, a company that sells, rents and services environmental monitoring and sampling equipment.
These days, Clarke may be found not in the field but in a bustling office, headset donned, handling orders in the early morning, followed by a steady stream of calls and emails from consulting firms and small businesses in the field. He works with a team of about 10 staff solving equipment and situation problems. “All troubleshooting is done over the phone, and that’s good because clients can send us a photo,” he says. “So I have a visual of what’s going on but I also have all service manuals and all online tools at my disposal to solve the problem.”
He remembers vividly one noon hour he was asked by a client in Thunder Bay – a 14-hour drive away – to deliver equipment the same day. With the situation urgent due to a spill that threatened the environment, the team put the equipment on the next flight from nearby Pearson airport and had the equipment in Thunder Bay around suppertime. “Situations like that are the best way to develop trust with clients. You realize you can do anything!”
Clarke likes the close-knit nature of the industry. He recently served as a representative of suppliers for the Ontario Ground Water Association and encouraged his company to join as a member for networking opportunities and to help build awareness of the organization.
“The OGWA has the best intentions for the industry,” he says.
Clarke can’t say enough about this industry as a career path. “There aren’t a lot of careers with the pay and the benefits that let you be outdoors and benefit from being outside and experiencing your town or city or province,” he says. “So much of the industry is driven by cleaning up the province because real estate values really drive the economy. You’re turning land that was originally an industrial property into land that is safe and usable again. Knowing that I’m assisting the environmental effort is a really big deal for me. There’s that larger picture to it – it’s not just a paycheque, it’s not just my career.”
“As a result of his extensive field experience, Justin takes particular satisfaction from troubleshooting with young field technicians who work for one of several consulting firms who represent Maxim’s growing clientele. Justin’s technical knowledge is broad and varied, as he attends technical manufacturers’ workshops so that he can be adept with the newest environmental monitoring equipment,” said father Bill Clarke, who nominated him.
When home in Smithville, Ont., in the Niagara region, Clarke savours time with wife Tracy and daughters Emmalynn, 4, and Aubrey, 1.
“Right now I am just embracing being a dad,” he says. “I’m doing something I’m really proud of and I get to come home happy every day.”
Read about others who made our Top 10 Under 40 list of top young industry professionals.