Estevan's new Leisure Services manager brings extensive experience to go with a lot of enthusiasm for recreation and facilities.
Brad Gilbert's first day on the job in Estevan was June 11. He fills a job that, for multiple reasons, has been vacant for most of the past 18 months.
Gilbert has a bachelor of physical education (now kinesiology) from McMaster University, and a post-diploma in sports administration from Durham College. He has experience in Toronto, as well as two other Ontario cities, Waterloo and Sioux Lookout.
He spent five years in Sioux Lookout. He began as the programming, facilities and operations coordinator. Gilbert was then promoted to supervisor, and eventually he became the manager of the community services department.
“It's very similar to the role here, which is looking after the city's facilities, parklands, cemeteries, you name it,” said Gilbert.
He moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta, for what he called an “exciting opportunity,” as that county's recreation director. He was to manage the operations of all recreation facilities and programs in that county, including a new sports complex.
But when he arrived, he learned that his job would be contracted out to a private company.
“This job (in Estevan) was a great opportunity to get back to what I was doing, and what I loved doing back in Sioux Lookout,” said Gilbert.
Spectra Place at the Souris Valley Aquatic Valley and Leisure Centre are great venues, he said He looks forward to playing recreational hockey at Spectra Place and other arenas in the city. Squash courts, the swimming pool and the fitness room are amenities at the Leisure Centre that he looks forward to using.
He expects to take advantage of Estevan's other recreational assets as well.
Gilbert is a proponent of using technology to improve how City employees deliver programs and operate buildings. Smart phones, for example can be a real asset for front-line staff.
“You can put all your policies and procedures (on smart phones), you can put first aid tips, you can put training videos, you can put work orders,” said Gilbert. “You can connect via text, e-mail and phone all in one. It's all in the palm of their hand.”
It can eliminate a lot of confusion over what employees are supposed to do, or how they're supposed to do they're jobs, because the information is always accessible.
The Burton Cummings concert on June 15 served as quite an introduction for how City employees handle a big event, but he said he loves the atmosphere of concerts and other marquee events, and the energy that they create.