One of the Best Biological Water Treatment Companies in the World
Monique Simair founded Saskatoon-based Contango Strategies in 2010 as a research and development firm that uses microbiology labs to reduce the environmental impacts on our water from the mining industry. “Keeping our water safe is important to us,” shares Simair. “Ninety-five percent of our clients are from the mining sector,” she says. “Engineering firms hire us to do this work for them as they usually don’t have the required facilities.” Dr. Vanessa Friesen joined her team as a partner to run the technology development in 2011.
As Simair explains, “We figure out ways that mining companies can improve their water quality and anything that has a biological aspect. We work with active mines to improve their water treatment and abandoned or closed mines to ensure that there is strong water quality. Sometimes the mine is the process of shutting down but they need to know how to treat their water when they close.”
Contango Strategies runs the only passive water treatment system in North America and the process contributes to the success of constructed treatment wetlands. “We are one of the only companies in the world doing what we do in microbiology and genomics,” Simair smiles.
The team has received a Robert Lemke award for their work in the wetlands at the Minto Mines in the Yukon. The award is presented to worthy recipients for excellence in environmental stewardship, outstanding social responsibility and leadership and innovation in overall process. Simair shares, “That one involved almost all technologies. Genomics, microbiology, chemistry, it was great to see them all come together.”
Simair and Friesen plan to keep their team of twenty-five based in Saskatoon. “I think Saskatoon is one of the most innovative places in the world. We have people that are innovative here because we are used to solving these kinds of problems. We now have people moving from Toronto and Vancouver for jobs here,” explains Simair. As 80% of the employees at Contango Strategies are women, this organization is leading the charge for encouraging more women into careers in technology.
Watch Simair’s acceptance speech for the Saskatchewan Advantage Innovation Fund and be inspired by this innovative business.
Founders: Monique Simair
Incorporation Date: November 2010