Rick Binnendyk was recently honoured for his three decades in the public sector.
The chief administrative officer in Penhold was the recipient of an award at the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators’ national conference in Quebec City for his 30 years of service as a senior-level civil servant.
“I do feel honoured for being recognized for my 30 years, but you do start to feel old,” he said with a laugh.
When Binnendyk, 62, finished his post-secondary education, he began working as a financial accountant. But it didn’t take him long to make a change.
“I was probably one of the most critical people about government, in regards to wasting taxpayers’ money. So I decided instead of complaining about it, I would do something about it,” he said.
Residents haven’t “changed too much” over time, Binnendyk said.
“The key thing I’ve found over the years … is your strongest attribute has to be people skills. You need to be able to roll with the punches and deal with situations in a positive way. You don’t want to irritate too many people, or else you won’t be there long.”
When Binnendyk began working in Penhold 18 years ago – he worked in Hanna and Vegreville beforehand – the town’s population was about 1,600. About 3,500 people live in Penhold now.
“The community, I think, has flourished over the years … and it’s been exciting to be a part of that ride,” he said.
Binnendyk said he plans to finish his career in Penhold.
“Over the years, you develop a lot of friendships. I’m very proud of this community and excited by what we’ve accomplished as a community and excited for what’s coming as well. I see some great things coming about.
“Penhold has nowhere to go but up. There are a lot of positives going for this community – a lot of young families and new vibrancy.”