Ponoka County manager of agricultural services Shayne Steffen is leaving Ponoka County and taking up an assistant CAO position in northern Alberta at the end of the month.
“There was just a job opportunity I heard about in Saddle Hills (County) through a friend of mine,” said Steffen.
Saddle Hills County is located approximately 40 minutes north of Grande Prairie.
While he was not looking for a position to take him away from Ponoka County, Steffen felt when this prospect landed in his lap he needed to jump on it. “There was an opportunity to further myself and test myself. It’s a good career move,” he said.
Steffen interviewed with the Saddle Hills County CAO just over a month ago and got the position after a sit down session and a tour of the county.
His last day at Ponoka County is June 19 and he starts at Saddle Hills on June 24.
“The process was probably going to take until the fall but their fieldman was injured,” said Steffen.
He was asked to start early and help with ag management until everything is once again settled. “I’ll probably be doing double duty until October,” he explained.
Steffen has worked with the county for eight years and feels he has had many role models from the county that will help him settle in his new position.
“I’ve had lots of good experiences from Charlie (Cutforth, CAO) over the years. Hopefully I can take that with me,” said Steffen.
“Actually I’ve learned something from everybody in this office, and the county has been a fantastic place to work at,” he added.
Although he is facing a steep learning curve Steffen is looking forward to his future. “I think a good part about helping out with the ag side of things is I’ll be able to get out and talk to people and learn the area.”
Steffen says land area of Saddle Hill County is at least the size of Ponoka County but the population is considerably lower.
Unlike Ponoka County, a large percentage of Saddle Hills is protected forestry area. “There is some farmland,” said Steffen.
Also excited for the move is Steffen’s family of four children and wife Andrea. Steffen had been looking to move to an acreage or small farm in central Alberta but it was too financially challenging. “Up there, we’ll be able to get a small farm or a decent acreage for a decent price.”
Ponoka County’s assistant agricultural fieldman Justin Babcock will move into Steffen’s role after he leaves. “I trained him to do this job so now it’s his turn to put his spin on things,” said Steffen.