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By: John F. Gartner, P.Eng, P.Geo, Co-Founder of Gartner Lee Limited
Adjunct Professor, University of Waterloo.


This course was originally designed and taught at the University of Waterloo, Faculty of Science, Science & Business Program.

When an engineer or scientist is hired by a consulting firm, they are usually hired on their academic merits in their chosen profession. But, no sooner do they enter a consulting establishment, than they are asked to do a number of tasks for which they have received no training, such as:

And the list goes on. So this course is designed to at least expose the engineer/scientist to some of the skills necessary to survive in a consulting environment.

Every service firm is composed of three main types of people:

This lecture is organized around finders, minders and grinders and what skills they need to effectively do their jobs.

The text book, “Confessions of a Consultant”, will be published in 2008 and can be obtained by contacting the author at “


John graduated from the University of Toronto in Applied Geology in 1959. Before and immediately after graduation, he worked in the mineral exploration field in New Brunswick, Northern Ontario, Quebec and Arctic Canada.

After working with Peto Associates Limited as an engineering geologist/geotechnical engineer, John worked for the Department of Highways of Ontario as a pavement design engineer and air photo interpreter.

In 1964 he formed his first company, Terra Scan Limited, specializing in the applications of geological principles to the solution of engineering, planning and development problems.

In 1973, he and Pat Lee formed Gartner Lee Limited, a firm that he was President and Chairman of until 1993. He retired from Gartner Lee in 2000, but still maintains an office there and is involved in special assignments for the company.

John became an Adjunct Professor, Earth Sciences, at the University of Waterloo in 1998, where he taught a third year course in Air Photo Interpretation and for two years taught in the Science and Business Program.

He is a past president of the Canadian Geoscience Council, a past Chair of the Engineering Geology Division of the Canadian Geotechnical Society and a Vice President for North America of the International Association of Engineering Geology.

John has received the Thomas Roy Award for Engineering Geology and the Robert N. Farvolden Award in Hydrogeology from the Canadian Geotechnical Society.

In retirement, John has written three books:

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