An Okotoks father and volunteer with a background in construction and project management is vying for a seat on council.
Ryan Brown said he’s a prime candidate to help see through the number of significant capital infrastructure projects on the Town’s horizon.
“I thought it was important to have a council group who has experience in major capital projects and someone who can lead that charge to ensure these are completed in the most cost-effective way possible,” said Brown.
After beginning his career in the financial industry, Brown moved into construction and grew his career from residential to commercial development, including project management and estimation for large projects like bridges, water treatment plants and light rail train stations.
It has given him expertise in reading and developing budgets and plans, as well as communicating with a variety of stakeholders in any given project.
“I feel that experience is one of my greatest assets in becoming an effective member of council,” said Brown.
He served a three-year term on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) for the Town, which he said provided knowledge of some of its inner-workings and decision-making processes.
It was a valuable experience, he said.
“It gave me the opportunity to work with members of the Town council on a number of issues brought to the board for resolution,” said Brown.
He is also a volunteer with the United Way, and said being involved with a group that benefits so many families and individuals in Okotoks has been an incredible way to give back.
Time is one of the most precious resources a person can give, and Brown said putting his time into United Way has been worthwhile.
“The work done by this organization and my involvement with it makes it very easy to volunteer my time and make an impact,” he said. “I have a strong desire to serve my community.”
That’s another reason he’s now running for council, after living in Okotoks for 18 years and raising his two children in town.
Having been active with them as they went through various sports activities has made Brown passionate about creating opportunities for youth sport.
Events like the upcoming 2023 Alberta Summer Games are important to the town and the region, he said, despite some concern about the cost of hosting the games.
“It provides a pretty great economic injection into our local economy and so many other benefits and opportunities for our youth,” said Brown. “I am a huge proponent of it.”
Like many candidates on the ballot, he has his eyes on completing the water pipeline and solidifying Okotoks’ water for future development.
He said experience in construction and project management will come in handy for that cause.
“I’m really looking forward to being the one who brings this to the finish line,” said Brown. “I think I’m going to gauge a significant amount of my success as a councillor on this particular item.
“I believe the Okotoks regional water plan is a viable solution, but it does require a dedicated team to see it through to the finish line.”
Post-pandemic economic recovery is also at the top of his priority list, which he said will require meeting with the business community to assess the needs. Every industry or individual business has been impacted differently by COVID-19 and has unique struggles, he said.
That could mean creating more economic development programs or pointing business owners in the direction of resources like Community Futures Highwood and other advocacy or support groups, he said.
“I just think every little bit helps our business community,” said Brown.
He said it will be important to maintain involvement with the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board, in order to continue collaborating with other municipalities on growth, land-use, regional infrastructure and economic development.
It’s important for Okotoks to have a voice on the CMRB and ensure its plans, and those of other member municipalities, align with the vision for the region.
“Being a part of it allows council to bring new and fresh ideas to our community as well, that may be working well for other towns in our area, that we may not have tried yet,” said Brown.