The Estevan and District Chamber of Commerce and by extension, the City of Estevan, has a new economic development officer.
Manpreet Sangha had her first day on the job last Thursday and spent it in a fruitful pursuit of information and visits to a couple of vital business centres.
Sangha, orginally from the Punjab area of northern India, has been in Canada for two years now and holds a graduate diploma in international business management from Centennial College of Toronto.
“I spent a year in Toronto but in May of last year my friends were telling me there were all kinds of opportunities for me in the west. Some of my friends had already come west and they had found things were good. They encouraged me so I was actively looking for a job that would fit what I am trained to do. I looked for about two months and I had been here in Estevan and this opening came up, so I have this great opportunity in the Energy City, this beautiful city,” she said.
Having been a resident for just a short time, Sangha said she's still building a basic understanding of the city's resources and infrastructure and her early visits will help her learn more about them. “I'll be able to enhance the research being done and have more interaction with the people,” she said.
She'll also be moving forward with a strong information base left for her by Craig Johnston, who held the position before departing for a new job in Washington.
“Reading, catching up and interaction, that's my plan for the first few days,” she said while seated at a totally clean desk containing only a laptop computer while the office still bore the look of being host to a newcomer with bare walls and just a single filing cabinet to keep her company.
“Of course I'll initially be bothering Michel a lot for the first few days,” she said with a laugh, referring to Michel Cyrenne, the C of C's community development manager.
Sangha said her role includes close co-operation with the tourism promotion side of the C of C, a position currently being filled by Kevin D'Souza who will be departing to take up new challenges in Calgary.
Cyrenne told The Mercury that D'Souza's position, which he will be leaving next month, will be filled as candidates and job assignments evolve.
Sangha said her first afternoon on the job would include visits to City Hall and Spectra Place and she was also making contact with the RM of Estevan management and administration since they share common office space anyway and the two governments share a healthy working relationship.
“I will study the various categories of infrastructure we have here and then what can be done in terms of transportation, water management, basic infrastructure, solid waste management and see where steps can be taken from an economic development standpoint,” she said.
“I'm very happy. This is a great environment here, good working conditions, great people and I get to help develop and explore Estevan ... help make it the most popular place in Saskatchewan. This is a very interactive city so I expect it will be easy to talk with chamber members to get their ideas out there and move forward.”
Sangha said her mother and father live in India, but she manages to keep in contact with them almost on a daily basis thanks to Skype and her friends here have been supportive as she enters this exciting new phase.
“I don't think I can add much more right now, this being my first day on the job. I'm still just getting used to things,” she said with a smile.