Pique Oct.27, 2011
Occupations: RDM Consulting since 2008. Director of Strategy and Operations for Sochi leading up to the successful bid for the 2014 Winter Games, Russia in 2007-2008. Co-president of Vail Resorts Mountain Division with oversight on five resorts in 2006-2007. C.O.O of Breckenridge and Keystone resorts, two of the most visited resorts in the U.S. 2000-2006; Senior vice-president Intrawest Eastern North America with oversight on six resorts, three in Canada, three in the U.S. from 1998-2000. GM of Mont Tremblant from bankruptcy to number-one resort in eastern North America in four and a half years, 1991-1998. Started on Whistler as a lift operator then ski patroller, promoted to Director of Safety and Lift Operations, then dDirector of human resources at Blackcomb. In the late '80s and early '90s I was on the board of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce here and was heavily involved in the fledgling Whistler Spirit program.
Furthest Place Travelled : Probably the longest haul was New Zealand to Whistler, which became home. As I write this I am in Santiago, Chile for a resort conference. But Mt. Elbrus in Russia was pretty wild, I went there to look at building a resort on the North Side of Elbrus (18,000 ft, the highest peak in Europe. The airport and the existing ski area have been the sites of recent killings by militant Muslim groups. Weird being in an airport that has been shot up. With a four car police escort for three days, everyone armed to the teeth, quite beautiful, but somewhat eerie given the history.
Describe yourself using five words or less : inquisitive, driven, energetic, focused, fun
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? I started on the T-bar on Whistler in 1973.
What do you see as the top election issues?
Leadership, fiscal responsibility, affordability. Coordinating the efforts of the municipality with Whistler Blackcomb and Tourism Whistler to get us back on track. Address the cost structure and drive business to the resort more efficiently, return to clearly defined roles for the municipality, TW and the chamber.
How would you address the budget shortfall?
Zero base the budget. With multiple resort responsibilities, I am used to doing five or six budget reviews in less than a week. The municipality puts out their budgets with capital and operating expenses mixed. I cannot be the first one to notice that.
What do you think is the RMOW's role in boosting tourism?
Support the structures and mechanisms in place like Tourism Whistler. Don't duplicate marketing or events departments. Maintain strong partnerships with the feds and the province for joint funding on special events. Continued support for WORCA and the trail network, a worldwide differentiator. Grow the Valley Trail system, and the golf course and parks that display the magnificence of this place and attract and benefit both residents and destination visitors. Canada has fallen from seventh to fifteenth in worldwide tourism. YVR is one of the most expensive airports. We need a coordinated effort from three levels of government to drive inbound visits. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/why-canada-needs-a-smarter-tourism-strategy/article2207229/
What would you do to enhance the environment for business?
Make it more affordable, get a grip on escalating property taxes. Reduce red tape, get an "open for business" attitude. Host new events and extend the great ones we have.
Give an example of a difficult situation you have overcome:
As GM of Tremblant, I helped a bankrupt and heavily unionized resort became the number-one eastern resort in Ski Magazine in four and a half years. It's about working with people. In busy resorts I have dealt with serious incidents, missing people, badly injured kids, threat of strikes etc.