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Blending biology and business: Cathy Mackay EDI's next CEO

After 18 years with the company, Environmental Dynamics’ current COO will become CEO in April. She is one of BIV's 2024 Influential Women in Business Award winners
Cathy Mackay, who joined EDI in 2006, will become the firm’s CEO in April

When Bob Redden steps down as CEO of environmental consulting firm Environmental Dynamics Inc. (EDI) in April, he will be replaced by Cathy Mackay, the company’s current chief operating officer.

“She was an obvious choice, for me,” said Redden, who will continue to sit on the company’s board of directors. “She’s been with the business for the last 18 years, and she’s been my business partner for the last 14.”

“When I started in 2006, this company had 32 staff in Prince George and Whitehorse – two offices,” said Mackay, who, in addition to being a senior executive at EDI, is also president of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce.

“And today we have 150 staff and nine locations. When I look back, I think, well, that’s something being part of that, and I’m just looking forward to growing the company in a sustainable manner.”

EDI is an employee-owned environmental services company headquartered in Prince George that provides the scientific analysis for environmental assessments and environmental management plans. EDI has offices in B.C., Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Projects that EDI has worked on include the 900-kilometre Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project, which is now part of the Ksi Lisims LNG project, the Phase 2 expansion of the Tilbury Island LNG plant, the Mount Milligan copper-gold mine, the Cape Scott wind farm and the Deltaport third berth project at Roberts Bank in Delta.

“Most of our work revolves around some kind of regulatory requirements,” said Mackay.

Mackay grew up in Taylor, B.C., and like many biologists, she had a love of the outdoors. She earned her bachelor of science degree from Simon Fraser University in 1997 and completed a master of science from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2006. In between those degrees, she worked for the B.C. government in its fish and wildlife habitat protection branch.

In 2006, Mackay went to work with EDI as an entry-level biologist, and she has helped the company grow as she moved up the corporate ladder.

According to Statistics Canada, women account for 34 per cent of Canadians with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees, but only 25 per cent of Canadians employed in STEM fields are women. It’s a bit more even at EDI, Mackay said.

“I look at our company, and we are pretty evenly split gender-wise and diversity wise, and in leadership roles as well,” she said.

EDI was initially a private company, founded by Dwight Hickey, who passed away in 2001. Redden carried on with the business with a small group of partners, and in 2003, EDI’s employees ended up buying the company out.

In 2010, after four years working in a junior biologist role, Mackay assumed a more senior position within the company.

As Redden noted, not all scientists necessarily have a head for business and leadership in the way that Mackay does.

“We got into this because we’re interested in biology and the science, and the business side just came along,” Redden said. “She looks at complex things and then she goes to work trying to figure them out, to resolve them.”

That business acumen eventually led to Mackay being appointed as a director of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce in 2016. She was named president of the chamber last year.

“In her current role as the president of Prince George Chamber of Commerce, she has been instrumental in giving a loud, meaningful voice to northern businesses,” said Rahul Ray, EDI’s chief strategic initiatives officer.

On April 1, Mackay assumes the role of CEO at EDI. Redden said that her appointment as chief executive was not just his decision, but a decision that was supported by the company’s board of directors.

“It was part of the succession plan,” he said.

“It was a board decision. And it was a unanimous decision, so that is a good sign.”

BIV will recognize the achievements of six female leaders at the 25th Annual Influential Women in Business Awards on March 8. For details and tickets, visit