Hello, Two months ago I joined the O’Chiese Administration Team as Director of Operations. I am excited about the opportunities ahead as we pursue public service excellence for O’Chiese First Nation. I want to thank all Councillors, colleagues and members who have been so welcoming and helpful in my early days with the Nation. I especially appreciate learning about O’Chiese culture and language and recognize these are central to the success of all our programs and services.


I will take this opportunity to introduce myself and a couple new staff in our Finance Department. I am from Red Deer and have worked in the public service for over 16 years. Most recently, I was Executive Director with a First Nation Tribal Council in Williams Lake, BC. Previously, I managed programs, developed policies and provided legal services for federal, provincial and territorial governments.


In early September Lillian McNabb started as our new Finance Manager. Lillian is First Nation from North Battleford, Saskatchewan. She has over 25 years’ experience in finance and band management with First Nation organizations. On October 15th Shirley Thunder joined our team as an Accounting Technician in the Finance Department. Shirley is from Edmonton and has over 15 years’ experience working with First Nations in finance and accounting. She also coordinated Aboriginal health research with the University of Alberta. Lillian and Shirley are both bi-lingual in Cree and English and understand Saulteaux.


There have been a few staff transfers recently to tell you about: Jessica Whitford is the Social Development Manager; Herman Poorman is an Occupant Relations Officer with Property Management and Chais Ullman and Steven Mackinaw provide Water and Fire technical services with Public Works. We appreciate these team members for their service and for accepting new roles with the Nation.


At our Community Meeting on September 18 and 19, all Program Managers reported to members on progress in administering and enhancing programs. We also heard reports on the Audited Financial Statements for 2017/18 and an update on the O’Chiese Gas Utility Project. Councillors and staff met with Elders on October 10 to discuss serious concerns and response strategies to address drugs and drug dealing in our community.


There are several important projects I can update you on. The planning is nearly completed for a Waste Transfer Station for our community, to be in operation by next year. We hit a major milestone on the Roads Project with Phase 3 of construction now completed. The School Fiber Optic Project is nearly completed: this will provide a significant upgrade to internet bandwidth at the School. Also, a land survey will begin soon to locate Rocky Gas Co-op’s distribution network in our community, which will enable us to plan for a new gas utility to be independently owned by the Nation.


We are grateful for the Elders who share their knowledge and wisdom and provide Spiritual guidance. This support along with the expert direction and guidance we receive from elected Leaders will ensure we continue to progress as a Nation.


Regards,  Gary Crowe, Director of Operations