TEAM PROFILE

A rock-solid career

David, Geochemist at Ecometrix, found he preferred the hands-on learning that came with studying geology.

When David Dockman began taking courses at the University of Alberta, his original plan was to become an engineer – fueled by his interest in physics and how things are built. But after taking a geology course, everything changed. David found he preferred the hands-on learning that came with studying geology.

David smiling David Dockman, M.Sc., Geochemist

Geochemist David Dockman always had an interest in rocks and minerals.

When he was a child, his mother sold rocks and gems from the storefront of her sewing and alterations store which he always found fascinating.

“I definitely had interest growing up in rocks and minerals, that was a driver for sure,” David says.

When he began taking courses at the University of Alberta, David’s original plan was to become an engineer – fueled by his interest in physics and how things are built. But after taking a geology course, everything changed. David found he preferred the hands-on learning that came with studying geology.

“You could see and touch what you worked on, rather than studying more abstract concepts,” he says. “I really enjoyed field work and field mapping and being out investigating the rocks of Canada.”

“For me, the problem-solving aspect of the industry is important as a geochemist. I help investigate and solve problems for a client.”

David wanted to pursue a master’s degree but also wanted to gain some industry experience, so he decided to work for a few years after completing his BSc in geology in and took a job at a copper mine in the Yukon in 2010. While he was happy to gain some industry experience, David was looking for greater ways to challenge himself.

“The work at the mine in the Yukon was very transactional – you get a rock, send it for analysis, and find out how much copper is there – end of story. I wanted something more technical and to dig deeper into what else the rocks could tell us. That was a driving force for doing a graduate degree,” he says.

David ended up going back to school at the University of Alberta to obtain a Master of Science in isotope geochemistry.

“My focus was on the isotope geochemistry of high arctic basalts,” he says. “I did six weeks of field work up on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, collecting rock samples. It was a very inspiring place to be. A lot of my career leading up to starting in environmental consulting was in the north – the Yukon, Alaska, N.W.T., and Nunavut. The remote vastness and beauty of Arctic Canada makes it one of the most exciting places to be.”

After David finished his MSc in 2016, he worked for a few more years but found he was often performing the same transactional work from when he was employed at the copper mine. Then in 2020, David started working for an environmental consulting company with a focus on acid rock drainage. He really enjoyed the technical challenges that came with his new role.

“The clients want results, but there’s also the need to integrate a lot of in-depth geochemical data into your problem solving. It really resonated with what I wanted to do with my career,” he says.

“This new role at Ecometrix is the right kind of fit in terms of keeping with what I believe is important work in the mining industry.”

David spent two years in this role before discovering Ecometrix, where he found the workplace culture very positive.

“It’s a collaborative environment with other people who want to create strong technical work and work together on multidisciplinary projects,” he says.

David is excited to be one of the latest additions to the Ecometrix team starting up a new office in Calgary. He is looking forward to building relationships with new clients.

“This new role at Ecometrix is the right kind of fit in terms of keeping with what I believe is important work in the mining industry,” he says.

David says he enjoys that the industry is fast-paced and results based.

“For me, the problem-solving aspect of the industry is important as a geochemist. I help investigate and solve problems for a client,” he says. “The fact that I get to do the types of chemical analysis that you would do in an academic institution, and see that kind of turnaround, is very exciting. The lead time to the next project is quite fast.”


David enjoys sharing his passion and industry knowledge with younger generations as a guest speaker at elementary schools, as an interpretive hiking and river guide, as well as in a mentoring role during his master’s degree.

“I love engaging kids in geoscience. Seeing their eyes light up the first time they see a trilobite at the Burgess Shale fossil site in B.C. or their excitement when they do their first field-based water chemistry test after rafting down the Bow River really reinforces for me how cool science is and I love fostering that curiosity in others,” he says.

David adds, “One other reason I decided to go back to do a master’s degree was to teach field school. Going to field school was a very inspirational time for me and I wanted to share that passion with the next cohort of geologists. I did three years of field school as a teaching assistant, traversing Alberta and B.C., teaching the relationships of different rock types and having lots of fun field mapping. It was very rewarding, and I really enjoy sharing the knowledge I’ve built up to date.”