I have called Middlesex county home for most of my life.
I was born in the former East Williams township (now part of North Middlesex) and grew up on the family dairy farm. My brother and his family continue to farm there today.
My parents were Dutch immigrants, which I guess makes me a first generation Canadian.
I went to elementary school and high school in Parkhill.
I am a 1982 graduate of the University of Guelph, graduating with a BA in Management Economics.
After a year at London Life, I joined Libro Credit Union.
I have been with Libro Credit Union for 35 years spending most of my time there as Vice President in charge of Credit and Agricultural and Commercial Services.
I will be retiring from Libro in October 2018.
My wife Marianne and I have lived in Strathroy since we were married in 1989.
Marianne, has also spent her entire work career with Libro Credit Union, most of her time as a commercial and farm account manager here in Strathroy. After a 36-year career at Libro, Marianne retired in 2012.
Marianne remains very active in our community having volunteered in the past with the Strathroy Hospital Foundation and currently with Search/Canadian Mental Health Association and the Strathroy Rotary Club.
Marianne and I have two sons: Jeff and Ben
Jeff and Ben both grew up in Strathroy and attended Our Lady Immaculate Elementary School and Holy Cross Secondary School.
Both of our sons are post-secondary graduates and pursuing careers in their chosen fields.
I have always had an interest in politics and government.
I was involved in student government in High School and served as student council president in my final year at North Middlesex District High School in Parkhill.
In 1997 I ran for Town Council in Strathroy and was honoured by being elected to a three-year term. It was a most active and successful three years.
Our council negotiated an amalgamation with the Township of Caradoc.
We also over saw the planning and building of the Gemini Twin Pad Ice area and began work with the two school boards for the relocation of SDCI to its current site and the building of a new high school – Holy Cross.
Our council was also responsible for the building of our current police station, the current seniors centre and a major upgrade to the Strathroy sewage treatment facilities and lagoons.
A most ambitious and successful agenda.
Yet I decided not to seek re-election in 2000.
My work commitments continued to grow and my oldest son Jeff (8 years old at the time) made the observation, that I was never at home and always gone to meetings.
Also, at that time, a couple of people who I have great respect for were retiring and they made the comment that their greatest regret in life was not having spent more time with their children while they were growing up.
A pretty good hint and a choice I have never regretted.
I did not run in 2000, but I did say I would like to return and serve again one day when I had more time to devote to Strathroy–Caradoc.
That time has come.
During the past 35 years I have been a leader in the Credit Union system in Ontario and Canada and in our local Community.
I have served on and chaired a number of Boards and Committees in the credit union systems, most related to lending and particularly related to financial services for farmers and small business.
I have taught hundreds of credit union employees across Canada in professional development courses related to lending skills to consumers, home owners, farmers and business owners.
I have been active in our community again serving on a number of boards and committees.
Most recently I have been involved with the United Way of London and Middlesex, the London Chamber of Commerce, Board Chair of the London Small Business Centre and as Board Treasurer of The Women’s Rural Resource Centre.
I describe myself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative
I have strong analytical and financial management skills
I am a team player and believe strongly in a consensus building governance model
I am a strong communicator.
I am a good listener and I want to know all the facts before deciding on any item presented for consideration.
I am action oriented and will always be looking for the best, most economical long-term solution to the problem that needs to be solved.
I respect every one’s opinion and believe everyone has the right to express their concerns
We live in a great community, that I believe is well managed.
We are fortunate to have a major highway in the 402 that runs through our community. Major rail lines service our municipality. This makes Strathroy-Caradoc an ideal place for business to locate and thrive.
I believe strongly in municipal council playing an active role in economic development and I believe my career experience would be helpful in attracting new business and jobs to Strathroy-Caradoc.
Agriculture plays a huge role in the prosperity of our municipality and while I am running in the urban ward of Strathroy, I have a very strong knowledge of agriculture and agribusiness. I would very much like our municipality to attract more agribusiness, food processing and agri-tourism.
I believe our municipality should actively investigate attracting high tech, knowledge-based industry to our community.
I am excited about the revitalization of the Strathroy downtown in recent years and am very supportive of its continuing rebuild.
I believe our tax payers deserve well maintained infrastructure and as such I strongly support the systematic maintenance of our municipal roads, sewers and other services.
I also support that we maintain well trained and equipped police and fire services.
I believe strongly in the statement that Strathroy–Caradoc is a great place to live, work and play. On the “play” part of the statement I do believe we have great facilities when it comes to athletic endeavours. I would like, however, to work with local groups to develop a facility for the arts that would allow for the presentation of live music, theatre and other entertainment presentations within our community. I believe most of the citizens of Strathroy-Caradoc enjoy attending concerts, plays, comedy and films. I think it would be great if our citizens could enjoy events in the community they live in.
I am not sure if they are radical but I think it would be great:
If the County of Middlesex operated out of its largest municipality rather than the city of London.
The commercial strip along Centre Road/ 81 from Pannell Lane to the 402 was part of Strathroy-Caradoc .
That VIA rail have a stop on its main line in Mount Brydges, so the people of Strathroy-Caradoc could easily catch the train on the Windsor/Toronto line.
That some sort of regular bus service be established between London and Sarnia with stops in Strathroy that would allow citizens without other means of transportation to more easily and economically travel to London and Sarnia.