Terry Vachon
General Manager Parks, Culture and Recreation, Clearview Township

Share some of your most memorable career-related experiences

I have been very fortunate to have worked in various fields and industries in both the private and public sector over the years. I have many memorable career related experiences, but if I was to select three, they would be as follows:

I started working for municipalities in the Economic Development field in Cochrane, Ontario. I started by volunteering with various Boards and getting to know the movers and shakers in the community. I was fortunate enough to meet great people and was brought in as a team player in a very progressive environment. I became the President of the Cochrane & Area Community Development Corporation (CACDC) in a brief period and was rewarded with priceless experiences and friendships.

I then applied and managed the CACDC which in turn engaged me to manage the Polar Bear Habitat in Cochrane and representing the Town as the Economic Development Officer. Managing a tourism like facility that housed real live Polar Bears was an unbelievable experience that is truly a highlight to my career. Meeting the professionals in the field of husbandry and nature is a real eye opener in so many ways.

I was part of a remarkable team that worked hard in attracting one of the biggest gold mines in Canada being Detour Gold. We were successful in attracting the Corporation in setting up their satellite offices and marshalling yard in the municipality.

I was then fortunate enough to be able to move laterally within the Corporation of the Town of Cochrane as Director of Community Services which part of the duties was to manage the Tim Horton Event Centre (THEC). Tim Horton the hockey player (Leafs #7) was originally from Cochrane, Ontario and the community built a new Recreation complex in 2007 while honoring Tim and his family.

Being a lifer from Cochrane, Ontario, I have recently made substantial changes in my life and decided to move away and explore other opportunities in the field of recreation. I was fortunate enough to be the successful candidate as General Manager of Parks, Culture & Recreation with Clearview Township, part of Southern Georgian Bay. Living and working in a newfangled location has been a lifelong dream of mine. I truly believe it’s one of the best locations to live in the Province of Ontario.

What would you describe as some of the most significant workplace and/or industry challenges you have faced over the past five years?

As I’m sure many other professionals in our field have mentioned in the past, we encounter so many challenges in our industry.

For me personally, a significant challenge I have faced over the years is managing the different generations of employees and their significant variances in personalities and experiences. The gaps between a retiree, baby boomer, generation X, Y, Z and the new millennials is massive. As a “Generation Y” manager, I feel in the middle of the generational differences and we are constantly put in a position to facilitate the personalities and work ethics in a public work place.

How has your involvement with the ORFA affected your career?

ORFA has been instrumental in my personal development in the field of Recreation. My personal favorite was the Managing People at Work course provided at the Annual Professional Development Program at the University of Guelph. The topics were a real eye opener for me. Lynda Pinnington has been one of my favorite instructors I have ever had! I highly recommend to anyone I ever meet seeking to improve their careers to enroll themselves in that course, it may change your life.

Final thoughts

Volunteering is becoming a real issue in so many aspect of our lives, especially in the field of Recreation and Events. Society as a whole is so dependent on their volunteers and as we all know, they are dwindling quickly for a variety of reasons.

Managing volunteers in the future will become an absolute priority to so many. Investing resources will be paramount to keep the standards we are all accustom to.

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