The Mount Currie Band of the Lil'wat Nation has hired a new administrator after its last one left to manage operations in Pemberton.
Mike McGee, a former general manager with the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation in B.C.'s Interior, has been confirmed as the Mount Currie Band's new administrator. He's expected to start July 5.
McGee's resume indicates he has held executive band management and senior economic development positions with First Nations across five provinces for over 25 years. He has lived and worked on reserves across Canada, experiences that he claims have given him a "rare and deep understanding" of First Nations' culture and traditions.
He was not available for an interview, but a staffer at the Mount Currie Band indicated he might be willing to speak in August, when he's had some time in the job. The band would only say it is excited to have him start the job.
While with the Penticton Indian Band, McGee helped draft a physical development plan that outlined areas of interest and potential for development. That plan included two sites of 500 acres each.
When McGee started the band already operated two businesses: Westhill Aggregates Ltd., which produces top soil, concrete and masonry sand, and Coyote Cruises Ltd., which it purchased in 2004 and has since operated as a tourist attraction that rents inner tubes and rafts for people to float down the River Channel to Skaha Lake.
McGee has also worked for the Buffalo Point First Nation of Manitoba.
He takes over from Lucinda Phillips, the head of Mount Currie's Land and Resources Department who has been serving as administrator on an interim basis since Daniel Sailland left the position to take on the job of chief administrative officer at the Village of Pemberton.
Sailland had been in the job since 2006 and oversaw band operations through its activities with the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Lil'wat First Nation took part in the Olympic Games as one of the Four Host First Nations, the first time that indigenous groups have ever been engaged as equal partners in the Games.
Mount Currie residents were present in the opening ceremonies, welcoming the world on behalf of the Lil'wat Nation in both English and the traditional St'at'imcets language. They were also represented at the Four Host First Nations pavilion in downtown Vancouver.
The Mount Currie Band seized on business opportunities afforded by the Olympics. Members were employed at the Lil'wat Concrete and Aggregates plant, which produced materials used in the upgrade of Highway 99.
Others found employment as security guards through an agreement between T'musta7 Aboriginal Consulting Services and United Protection Security Group, helping with screening services during the Games.
McGee has experience in various areas relating to band management including advanced economic development, business development, job creation, funding proposals and business plans. He has also focused on community planning, e-commerce, Internet marketing, business and resource negotiations, as well as partnership negotiations and financial management.