New CAO adjusts to role at city hall

David Kim has had a intense week meeting with city departments and staff as he adjusts to new surroundings.

  • Apr. 12, 2016 8:00 a.m.
New CAO David Kim experienced his first city council meeting in his new role on Monday evening at city hall.

New CAO David Kim experienced his first city council meeting in his new role on Monday evening at city hall.

There was a new face in the Chief Administrative Officer’s chair this past Monday evening as David Kim sat through his first city council meeting.

Kim, who replaced the recently retired Wayne Staudt, has had an intense week adjusting to new surroundings and the responsibilities as the city’s top administrator.

“I must say that the transition has been very smooth because the people at the City of Cranbrook have been extremely nice to me,” Kim said, following the meeting. “They have been doing all their due diligence teaching me and telling me about what’s going on.

“So I must say it has been really great.”

Kim arrives in Cranbrook via Calgary, where he brings over 20 years of leadership experience in public and private sectors. His latest gig was vice president of Land Development with R.J. Burnside and Associates, a engineering and environmental consulting company. His past experience also includes working as an engineer with the City of Calgary’s transportation department and serving as manager of urban development with the same municipality.

“Calgary is a big city, it’s 1.3 million [people] and I was right in the middle of it doing all the approvals and management, dealing with the industry, so you think the challenges there are quite different,” Kim said.

“But I think the challenges here are similar in nature, it’s just a little different scale. You deal with organizations, you deal with processes, you deal with people as well as the industry and various stakeholders.”

He made his first public change on Monday, requiring all department leaders to attend the regular city council meeting.

“Thats the kind of thing that I do and I’ve initiated it. I’ve realized that it was done that way a few years ago, so to the city, it’s not really new, but that’s a new thing that I just initiated with the existing staff,” he said.

“The reason I do that is my belief in departmental collaboration because the nature that we deal with is very multi-disciplinary so I thought I’d bring all the staff that are relevant and put our heads together and see if we can come up with better ideas.”

Economic development—a key priority for Mayor Lee Pratt and his city councillors, is also one of the initiatives that Kim hopes to explore as he gets more familiar with the city staff and the local industries.

“One of the things I’m well aware of is the economic development perspective here, so that’s something I’d like to take on in working with the council and mayor here,” Kim said. “I’m glad we have the economic development department within the city and I’m expecting that we’ll really closely work together to bring more people, bring more growth, more development, more jobs, more vibrancy to this community.”

Cranbrook is not unfamiliar to Kim as he has been in the city many times in the past to visit friends and vacation in the backcountry with his wife and three children.

When he is not at work, Kim can be found out in the wilderness hiking, riding his motorcycles and enjoying his hotrod—what he calls a low-budget garage car with a Cadillac 500 engine.