Rimoka has hired a new CAO to take the top seat of its operations.
Ponoka’s Pete Hall was hired by the Rimoka Housing Foundation board with a start date of Tuesday, Aug. 2. Hall comes with a strong background in banking after managing the commercial division of Bank of Montreal until 2000. At the time Hall said he had a choice to expand on his career but that would mean longer hours and moving to the east coast, he explained.
Rather than go that route Hall chose to leave the banking business to spend more time with his kids and bought his father’s Central Sharpening business. He was also working as an entrepreneur with Aspart-X in Ponoka. For Hall the change came at the right time in his career path.
“It’s just exciting to be part of a senior management opportunity close to home,” said Hall.
Along with his home businesses, Hall is a community volunteer as treasurer of the Ponoka Golf Club plus a coach in the Lacoka minor hockey program. He hopes to continue with these community efforts while being Rimoka’s CAO. “I’m really looking forward to being part of a team again,” said Hall of the change.
When asked about his plans for Rimoka, Hall answered that his main goal is to engage with residents and staff on their needs. His goal is to hear that feedback and build a unified team to ensure residents in Rimbey and Ponoka are taken care of.
Rimoka chairperson Paul McLauchlin said the board was unanimous in its vote for Hall but added there were two candidates that could have managed Rimoka’s businesses effectively. It just came down to having to make a decision on the matter. He suggests Hall’s management abilities are ideal for taking on this new role.
“He’s a people guy,” said McLauchlin simply.
There are three groups of people a CAO needs to make happy, says McLauchlin: residents first, staff second and the board and government third.
“He’s just the type of guy that gets stuff done. A great representative within the community,” said McLauchlin.
The big elephant in the room, as McLauchlin puts it, is the fact that Rimoka’s senior self-contained facilities — Reid Manor and Legion Arms — are no longer managed by Rimoka. Some years ago under a different board, control of the those facilities was passed on to Bethany Group.
“It’s definitely a motive of the board and we made it clear to the Ministry (of Seniors and Housing) we want them back,” offered McLauchlin.
He added that Rimoka’s management team is strong and will be able to provide the operational supports while Hall can provide them the leadership needed to get back the senior self-contained facilities.
The need for a CAO came after Bethany Group, the company hired to manage the affairs for Rimoka some years ago, gave notice of its intention to remove itself as the managing body at the end of October last year. Bethany’s decision came as a surprise to the Rimoka board but the group hired an interim CAO until they could find a new CAO.
At the time of Bethany’s announcement Rimoka appointed finance manager Wendy Sheppard as the interim CAO. With Hall taking over in August, Sheppard will continue in her capacity as the finance manager for Rimoka.