Despite having already retired twice, Peter Groenen said he is happy to be taking up the administrative reins of K’atlodeeche First Nation, taking over from long-time CEO Scotty Edgerton.
“It’s exciting to be in with the people again,” Groenen told The Hub last week on his second day of work. “Right now, it’s just a whole bunch of absorption for the first few months, a lot of learning. There are lots of experts already here, so I don’t have to be an expert on everything.”
Groenen has previously worked as the senior administrative officer for the Hamlet of Enterprise, but left the position two-and-a-half years ago to pursue consulting. He said he worked mostly with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs in the community government section, running training programs for SAOs and co-ordinating with communities. He is now pleased to be returning to the fold, he said.
“I like working for people, making people’s lives better,” he said. “And there’s opportunity here to do that in a real way.”
Despite experience working for governments in the past, Groenen did admit there would likely be some differences between administering regular municipalities and a First Nation. Beyond the multitude of different sources of funding from both territorial and federal governments, he said the mandate of a First Nation government is also much broader. These can include wellness and even some educational programs that are run by the band for its members, and can also stretch to the oversight of businesses.
“The band has a number of corporations,” said Groenen whose history is largely in co-ops. “I do have a background in business and I’m looking forward to working with them, something that was never under the purview of a hamlet.”
Chief Roy Fabian said he is glad to see the position filled with someone as competent as Groenen and that he looks forward to putting his business acumen to work.
“It was really difficult to replace Scotty with his background in business,” said Fabian. “But Peter seems to have a lot of experience in that area. He knows a lot of people and I’m excited to work with him.”