Dana Woodworth has been voted in unanimously by Council as the Interim Recovery Team Leader of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee.
At the first public meeting of the WBRC, Woodworth was recommended unanimously by the committee. They knew after having an interview with him that he was the right person for the job.
His role as leader started immediately with the man of the hour already having big plans for his estimated three to four months as leader.
“First and foremost is to set the conditions of the long term recovery of the community and by that I mean understand what’s acquired, so in consultation with hundreds and thousands of stakeholders, we need to use the committees wisdom, their engagement with the stakeholders,” said Woodworth. “My knowledge and ability to lead a team that can actually analyze the information create a plan to get approval, a budget with it and build a organization for your community that can deliver on those goals.”
He’s had previous work dealing with natural disaters, working on the aftermath and recovery of Slave Lake after their fire in 2011. That was one of the major keys that went into the decision to appoint him as interim leader.
“One of the things that really impressed me about Dana is he understands that his role is short-term and he firmly believes that part of his role is to support the long-term leader,” said Chair of the WBRC Jeanette Bancarz.
Bancarz says the committee received other applications for the position but he was the best candidate at that time for his experience.
“I’m hoping that the other applicants throw their names in the hat for long-term because their wonderful leaders as well, I do know that Dana’s recommendation would be to have a local long-term leader.”
When asked about the possibility of having any thoughts on the role of permanent leader he quickly shook his head with a firm response of no.
“A whole community effort is required including the leadership long-term, that’s my belief,” he said. “I’m not well known as some others are, I’m starting to make the relationships that I think are important but I’m not necessary of Fort McMurray and I recognize that, the long-term recovery leadership should be of your community in my opinion.”
Woodworth, a former combat engineer with the Canadian Armed Forces, has been in Alberta for many years but finds himself living outside of Kamloops, British Columbia for the past year. He will be away from home for the time being with plans to stay in a hotel here until his job is done.
The next meeting of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee and the first taste of Woodworth at the helm will be on Wednesday August 17th at 6 p.m. In the meantime the committee plans on giving weekly updates each Thursday.