John has been an environmental professional for approaching 45 years, a Member of the Association since 1987 and a Fellow since 1998.
His career started in academic research and teaching of undergraduate courses on marine invertebrate ecology, seabird ecology, and benthic community dynamics in St Vincent’s Gulf. For three years he was leader of a team studying tropical benthic communities as part of environmental studies at Abbot Point, Queensland.
In 1984, he was appointed Chief Environmental Officer in the WA Department of Conservation and Environment, heading applied ecological studies in the Dampier Archipelago, the Albany Harbours and Perth’s metropolitan coastal waters. Among many other projects, John’s teams successfully completed studies and advised the WA EPA on the setting up of the Marmion Marine Park and the Hillarys Boat Harbour (including drafting a management plan for those), on the likely impacts and appropriate environmental conditions for an undersea crude oil and gas pipeline, telecommunications cable, treated wastewater effluent pipelines, ship groundings (Korean Star, Sanko Harvest), ship foundering (Kirki), and of several marinas.
In 1988, John was assigned to the new Pollution Prevention Division as Assistant Director, at various times over 11 years managing pollution impacts on soil, air, noise, groundwater and water bodies, managing contaminated sites cleanups, and leading regulatory investigations into alleged pollution events including being a Government witness in Courts. He then was assigned to regulating waste disposal, and successfully developing new waste legislation and regulations.
After 25 years of WA Government service, John became a sole trader EHS consultant. He now consults through his business, Ottaway ESH and Education Consulting, for mining companies, resources industry support companies, and government agencies in Australia and overseas.