Shawn Bethel is the Director of Business Development at Forest Technology Systems, Inc. (FTS) based in Victoria, British Columbia. Started in 1980, FTS is a manufacturer of remote environmental monitoring solutions, including systems, instrumentation, software, and communications technology to support wildfire management, hydrology, and meteorological services industries. The company’s hardware and software technologies comprise the single largest wildfire weather monitoring network in the world. Shawn is helping FTS and its sister companies within the Advanced Environmental Monitoring (AEM) group to help support critical decision making in the power utility industry by providing greater field awareness during times of heightened wildfire risk to transmission and distribution operations and the surrounding communities. Shawn brings his extensive operational wildfire background and experiences to demonstrate the many use case scenarios of technology applications in the wildfire management realms and how many of them can translate into similar value-added benefits to the power utility markets, recognizing that situational awareness is paramount to operational efficiencies and cost savings but most importantly, worker and public safety.
During his 20+ years in wildfire operations in British Columbia, Shawn has worked in many roles from a wildland firefighter rappelling from helicopters to senior roles on incident management teams and provincial wildfire protection officer. Shawn served on the wildfire protection leadership team responsible for monitoring wildfire risk in an area approximately twice the size of California with approximately 2,500 wildfires annually. Shawn was accountable for protecting a wide range of people, property, infrastructures, and assets from wildfire across multi-jurisdictional land management authorities and a complex range of public and private stakeholders.
As Director of the International Development Program for the Province of British Columbia, Shawn’s international efforts helped put British Columbia on the map, providing wildfire management training and consulting services to land and wildfire management agencies across 30 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Shawn’s 15-year career in the private sector has allowed him to share revolutionary wildfire technology solutions with the global wildfire management community. Shawn sees the importance of reliable data via enabling technologies to understand the workload and the associated organizational response required to mitigate risks, overcome challenges, pursue continuous improvement, and maintain long-term successful operations. Shawn joined the FTS team in 2019 and is using his wildfire background and industry knowledge to lead the business development activities for FTS, a part of the AEM Group of companies.