City adds to economic development department
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 08, 2012 06:00 am
The city’s economic development manager didn’t have to look far when he hired the individual who will work as his right-hand man.
Aaron Latimer, who has lived in St. Albert for the last 12 years, is St. Albert’s new investment attraction manager. He started work on Thursday.
“The appeal is that St. Albert is on the cusp of real growth potential,” Latimer said. “It’s a mandate of the city, the mayor and the city manager and city council to expand the business base in the community.”
Latimer comes to the public sector after 25 years in the private sector, most recently from All Weather Windows, where he served as the vice-president, marketing and communications for what is billed as Canada’s largest window and door manufacturing company.
“I have a great understanding of what businesses want and need and how entrepreneurs think,” Latimer said.
It wasn’t just his residency or his experience that made him the best candidate for the job, said executive director of economic development Guy Boston — he has a knack for people.
“The thing that he brings that I think is pretty unique other than his background and experience is his personality and his ability to relate to people,” Boston said. “I was looking for that as a significant characteristic and component. That’s something you can’t teach someone. It’s definitely in his DNA.”
The position was posted in late June and received about 28 resumes. According to Boston, Latimer’s main job will be identifying and pursuing the businesses the city wants to bring to St. Albert in its pursuit of expanding its economic footprint.
Economic development has been top-of-mind for this city council. It established the position of executive director of economic development in late 2011 before hiring Boston, at the time the city’s general manager of planning and engineering, to the job. In May it also designated 700 acres of land in St. Albert’s west for future industrial development.
As Boston sees it, Latimer will be his “right-hand man,” with the two both taking responsibility for pursuing businesses to come to St. Albert.
“We’re a pretty small team,” said Boston. “I need somebody and that’s why we have this discussion about the DNA aspect. I needed someone that can do what I can do.”
And being a St. Albert resident, Boston added, was just a bonus.
“In reality we were looking for the guy with all the right stuff and the fact that he lives here is even better.”
So Latimer can be forgiven for being slightly biased in his opinion that St. Albert is the best place to do business.
“I think St. Albert is fantastic city to work, to volunteer and, I think, to invest and I wanted to take my years of experience and expertise in the private sector and help the city realize its goals of economic diversification,” Latimer said.