Ask Me Anything: Sounding Off with Aercoustics Associate Duncan Halstead

Posted by Duncan Halstead /

How did you arrive at Aercoustics?

I first came to Aercoustics as an intern in 2011 via my university’s professional experience year program. I saw the company’s job posting in the internship portal and applied because I thought it looked like an interesting field to try. I had some experience in mechanical consulting through previous summer jobs that I enjoyed and I think that helped me secure my internship with Aercoustics. Before I worked at Aercoustics, however, I didn’t even know the field of acoustics, noise and vibration existed.

Today, I describe myself as a noise consultant, acoustician, noise guy, or wind turbine guy. I work with wind turbine and solar farms to help them ensure noise compliance and secure permits.

My career has been focussed on areas with growth potential. Earlier in my career that meant pushing myself to do the field work and data analysis that was, at the time, something few others in the company were able to do. Since then, my career development has pivoted to a leadership role to help guide and inspire others around me to punch above their weight.

I like being specialized in unique areas, and I like building teams that are capable of doing things that would not be possible as individuals.


What project are you most proud to have worked on?

Flying down south to help a site test their new prototype wind turbines was a highlight. It was our first out-of-country testing for this particular work, and I was still pretty new to the company. It was a high-pressure environment since the site also had their own specialist there to supervise my testing. We managed to complete the testing successfully and secure repeated tests in the future.

Another project is the work I’ve done to help most of the Ontario wind farms secure sign-off on their compliance testing. This was a level of work that no one really expected at the beginning, and it had multiple stakeholders who did not always agree. It took a lot of work, dialogue, and testing to get through that period to where we are now, and that work has help secure Aercoustics’ reputation as a leader internationally in the field of wind turbine noise.

What changes are happening in your industry in the near future?

The renewables industry is growing significantly in response to the growing climate crisis.  Canada, along with most other nations, has carbon targets that cannot be met without revamping the power generation mix to support renewable energy as the dominant source of power. Locally, however, the wind industry has grown out of Ontario and into the surrounding provinces, with several of the other provinces leveraging the expertise gained in Ontario to generate cheaper power abroad. At the same time, the U.S. is building an extraordinary amount of new renewable power as their federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) subsidy continues to be renewed and extended yearly in an effort to spur growth in the sector.

Is there a connection between your professional and personal life? 

I was heavily involved in musical pursuits growing up. At school, it was with different bands and choirs (and a couple musicals and a rock band). Privately, I was also an avid violinist and pianist, having performed and competed in both for most of my childhood. Music and performance have always been a part of my life, and at one point it was almost my career. My musical interests definitely played a part in drawing me to the industry.

What is your dream venue to either perform or see a performance in? Why?

I think it would be neat to play violin inside a wind turbine tower. It’s essentially just a hollow steel tube, and the acoustics would make it an interesting recording.

Duncan Halstead


Duncan is a formidable leader within Aercoustics’ team, working alongside his expert colleagues to not just meet the industry standards, but to help develop and challenge them.

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