My interests are literature, music, and the arts; the natural environment and the urban landscape; and, the realization of community identity, aspirations, and needs. My work experience extends across:
- my activities as a professional writer, columnist, and editor;
- board directorships in cultural, community, and economic development in British Columbia, Alberta, and New Brunswick;
- executive management of local government and heritage institutions in British Columbia, Alberta, and New Brunswick;
- senior management in post-secondary education in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Québec;
- delivery of over a thousand seminars and workshops across Canada and the United States;
- corporate appointments in project management, information technology, human resources, compensation, and training at transnationals; and,
- accreditation as an award-winning Certified International Trade Professional (CITP).
By design, I have lived and worked in Canada’s six largest cities—Ottawa, Montréal, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver—, many of the country’s smaller communities, and all regions of Canada except the far north. In Alberta alone, I have resided in Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, Peace River, Athabasca, and Westlock; in British Columbia, in Vancouver, Bowen Island, and Kelowna. I have travelled extensively throughout Canada, some years in excess of 100,000 kilometres annually. I have as well travelled and worked in the United States, in 37 of the states; Europe, in 11 of its nations; and, Africa, in 5 of its countries.
My work in Africa resulted from York University’s involvement with co-operative education programmes for hospital and medical support services in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These were in conjunction with the Flying Doctor Service of East Africa, the Anglican Archdiocese of Toronto, the Canadian Consular Service in Kenya, and the African National Congress, with whom graduate opportunities for black students in South Africa were explored. The ANC, at that time, was an “illegal” organization based in Lusaka; and several days after meeting there, the same headquarters were bombed by Rhodesian forces. My own work was conducted in Cairo, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Harare (before it was ruined by the Mugabe regime), Lusaka, and Rome. I subsequently pursued potential business opportunities in Kenya, Zambia, and Egypt.
My most valuable professional experiences include:
- Completion, as chief administrative officer and approving officer of Bowen Island Municipality, Greater Vancouver, of the long stalled subdivision application process for Cape Roger Curtis, land of 660 acres with a market value estimated at $100 millions; in the context of binding provincial legislation, significant legal actions, and the possibility of severe impact on civic fiscal solvency.
As chief administrative officer of the Town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, the creation and successful implementation of the civic strategic plan, including the senior government funding of roads, water, sewer, and allied infrastructure and of the Charlotte County Civic Centre.
- The restoration to life of the Vancouver Museum during my consultative tenure as its executive director, after a crippling strike that had reduced staffing by 90% to only thirteen, and weakened support of City Council and citizens, by monetization of capital assets, facility renewal, and resumption of sponsored exhibitions in collaboration with sister institutions.
My African work in medical and educational support through Toronto’s York University, in particular in Zambia with the then still covert African National Congress.
- My involvement, as registrar of Alberta’s Athabasca University, in its successful relocation to Athabasca from Edmonton, in particular its integration with the community and the re-staffing of some fifty administrative positions under my management.
- My editorial work for Dr. Hans Selye, discoverer of the biologic stress response and founder of stress research, at l’Université de Montréal.
Writing & Cultural Management
My book Caravaggio’s Dagger (Iguana, Toronto) was published in September, 2013. It is available internationally. In addition, I have some 130 publications to my credit, including articles on local government as an invitational newspaper columnist on both Canadian coasts, and poetry in established Canadian and American literary periodicals. As a published poet, I was awarded a 2004 Canada Council grant for professional writers. My work is also featured in the University of British Columbia’s Canadian Literature’s “CanLitPoets” teaching series.
I have extensive experience in the development and writing of policy for public presentation; in media relations, including digital, print, radio, and television; in public speaking; in organizational promotion through external liaison; and, in seminar and workshop delivery.
I have also been engaged in editorial activity as managing editor of five annual editions of the calendar of Alberta’s Athabasca University; through my private business, Falstaff Enterprises, in Vancouver, in the improvement of graduate theses and papers, largely in the field of information technology; and, as an international trade specialist, in the development of teaching materials for cultural groups and artisans. My editorial work originated in my engagement as editorial assistant to Dr. Hans Selye, discoverer of the biologic stress response and founder of stress research, and one of the most remarkable individuals I have had the privilege to work with, at his Institut de médecine et de chirurgie expérimentales, at l’Université de Montréal.
I’m a former executive director of the Vancouver Museum. In addition to rescuing the Museum from its demise, contending with five different incarnations of its board, and resuming the production of exhibits, I was consistently involved with the City itself, the Vancouver Parks and Recreation Board, the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Vancouver Aquarium, Science World, Vancouver Opera, the Vancouver Symphony, Ballet B.C., the Vancouver Playhouse, Bard on the Beach, the Children’s Festival, and Vancouver Foundation.
Boards of Governance
One of the major projects I helped advance, in my capacities as chief administrative officer of St. Stephen, NB, and as director appointed to its board, was the Charlotte County Civic Centre, which is now fully realized. The Charlotte County Civic Centre is a $20 millions’ international project funded by citizenry throughout Charlotte County, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, and Washington County, in the American state of Maine; donors from across Canada; and, all three levels of Canadian government. The land is a donation of the late Bill Garcelon, whom I had the pleasure to know and work with, and whose philanthropy and dedication to his community of St. Stephen, NB, I greatly admired.
The centre contains an aquatic facility that offers swimming and lifeguard instruction, recreational and competitive pool time, and warm-water therapy. The arena complex features an NHL-sized ice surface, a seating capacity of 1,500, and is suited to accommodate both leisure skating and competitive sports like hockey and figure skating. The civic centre serves as a venue for a wide range of local and regional events including concerts and other artistic and cultural events, fairs, festivals, and trade and consumer shows. The centre also contains an indoor walking and jogging track and multi-purpose spaces.
I have also served as a director of the St. Stephen Development Board, Inc. Designated as the economic partner to the Town of St. Stephen, the Board’s mandate is to promote the economic development of St. Stephen, NB, and its surrounding areas in Charlotte County, NB, and Washington County, Maine. In addition to coordinating of business development, the Board manages the St. Stephen Business Park.
At St. Stephen, I also served as the chair of the airport commission; as the employer representative and a past Director of the St. Stephen Chamber of Commerce; and, as the employer representative at the New Brunswick Municipal Employees’ Pension Plan Committee. At Peace River, I was the designated observer, accredited by the province, of the Site C Hydro dam project on the Peace River at Fort St. John, British Columbia.
I have served as president, vice-president, and treasurer of the Federation of British Columbia Writers, at Vancouver, BC; and as a member-at-large and interim programme chair of the board of the Alberta Branch of the Canadian Authors’ Association, at Edmonton, Alberta. I have also served as vice-president and workshop coordinator on the board of Edmonton’s Stroll of Poets’ Society. The object of the Stroll of Poets, founded in 1991, is to “promote acceptance of and education about poetry through vehicles such as poetry festivals, public readings, workshops and associated activities.” This includes facilitating the connecting of emerging and established poets with audiences through an annual cycle of some 24 structured readings, designed to feature well over 100 poets.
I am the past co-chair and a director of the Executive Planning Council of the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton, and the chair of its advocacy committee. The Coalition produces the annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts, now in its 27th year, in conjunction with the City of Edmonton.
In 2006 I was recruited from my private business in Vancouver into executive management in public administration. For the greater part of the succeeding seven years, I have been a Chief Administrative Officer in municipal government, as well as a director on boards of governance, particularly those dealing with regional economic development, in New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Alberta. Concurrently, I have also worked as a development officer, community emergency preparedness director (including during the Slave Lake wildfires), director of human resources, legislative services officer, and clerk to council, committees, and boards.
My focus is on the promotion of community identity and aspirations, and on the realization of community needs. I am a proponent of inclusive government, ethical practice, environmental stewardship, transparent public finances, meaningful responsiveness to citizens, and progressive interactions with business and the community. I do not compromise on personal or professional integrity.
My executive specialties include:
- Local government, inclusive of council policy, strategic plans, operating plans, departmental plans, bylaws, grants, and organizational development
- Policy creation, development, implementation, and assessment
- Organizational development
- Recruitment, particularly of senior appointments
- Budget creation, tax stabilization and reduction, and expense containment
- Service delivery and community liaison
- Public speaking
- Collective bargaining
- Problem resolution
- Grantsmanship and intergovernmental negotiation
- Strategic planning
- Heritage and cultural management
- International trade training
I hold both levels of the National Advanced Certificate in Local Authority Administration (NACLAA I & II) through Halifax’s Dalhousie University, and attained the relevant professional certifications from the Association of Municipal Administrators of New Brunswick. I also attained emergency management certification through New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization.
I have a history of successful strategic planning and implementation in local government, including acquisition of senior government funding. When in New Brunswick, my municipality was the second recipient, nation-wide, of the Building Canada Fund grants.
I also have extensive project management and budgetary responsibility in local government and higher education. My government budgets are based on nil or decreased costs and taxes; my educational budgets with high reduction of administrative costs.
In 2010, I participated as invitational faculty at Capilano University’s Municipal Administration Training Institute, in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
I have had considerable experience in the Canadian post-secondary educational sector. For some ten years I was appointed to senior administrative posts in higher education, including as university registrar and assistant dean, when working with institutions of higher learning in Québec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Ontario.
My senior appointments in post-secondary adult education have included that of registrar of Alberta’s Athabasca University and The Banff Centre, and of director of administration and planning (assistant dean) at York University’s Atkinson College.
In corporate management for transnationals, my ten years’ tenure concentrated on work as a developmental and training specialist in compensation, human resources, and information technology at the international head offices of Alcan Aluminium in Montréal and Turbo Resources in Calgary.