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City presents new senior staff member

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
September 9th, 2009

Photo: Chris Barlow, incoming director of Transportation and Civic Works for the City of Castlegar

The City of Castlegar has a new senior staff member to introduce after former director of Transportation and Civic Works Chris Cochran resigned his post to pursue what is presumably a ‘golden’ career opportunity in, well … Golden.

Incoming director Chris Barlow, 31, is no stranger to the city, though, as he was promoted from the position of deputy director of the same department. Barlow and his family (including three children ranging in age from 13 to six) came here in 2004, when Barlow started with the city as a engineering tech, working his way up to utilities manager, deputy director and, now, director.

“I grew up in Fruitvale,” he said. “We were living in Red Deer (in 2004), and I worked for the city there, too.”

When the Castlegar position came available, it seemed ideal for the Barlows, as it allowed them to move closer to family still living in the area, while taking advantage of the small-town appeal the region promises.

“In terms of the job, there’s a lot more face-to-face contact with the residents (in this city), which is nice,” he added. “And Castlegar’s the central location with all the amenities, but is still close to all the amazing outdoor recreation opportunitites in the West Kootenay … it made the decision very easy.”

And the decision appears to have panned out reasonably well, as Barlow takes the helm of one of the city’s busiest departments.

He said taking over for a director with the same first name has its advantages, since no one will have trouble remembering the “new guy’s” name, but it has its drawbacks, too.

“It was easy to play good cop/bad cop with two Chris’s in the department,” he said. “If someone called in upset, we could say, ‘Oh, you must have talked to the other Chris …’”

All joking aside, he said he knows he has some big shoes to fill in Cochran’s wake, and he’s excited to get to work.

“I look forward to the challenges it brings and it gives me an opportunity to learn and grow,while continuing to work with the varied and gifted crew here at Public Works,” he said.

As for what he can do for his city, Barlow said he thinks one of his key strengths – and responsibilities – will be communication.

“Being a good conduit of communication between the crews, (city) council, senior staff and the public – I think that’s critical,” he said.

Of course, he meant to include “media” in that list – but we’ll cut him some slack, since he’s new.

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff said he’s delighted with the city’s succession planning.

“We like that it was an internal promotion, and we think Chris is an ideal candidate for this role,” he said. “He’s capable, he’s got a great background, and he’s very invested in the community.”

The Source offers its congratulations to Barlow and wishes him the best of luck in his new position.

Categories: General

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