New man at the top at the Town of Slave Lake

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Here’s a question: Why swap Cranbrook B.C. for Slave Lake Alberta? For David Kim, the new Town of Slave Lake Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the answer was a desire to return to Alberta.

“I feel at home here,” he says.

That’s despite Slave Lake being further from the family home base in Calgary than Cranbrook is. Not to mention being quite different than Cowtown.

Weather, trees and humidity are things Kim mentions as distinguishing this area from southern Alberta.

“I like these things,” he says. “I’m impressed.”

Another thing that impresses him about Slave Lake is its geographical location. For someone interested in economic development, it seems to be in a good place, with “a lot of potential.” Kim had similar ideas when he started as the town manager at Cranbrook, and says the city had considerable success by envisioning and promoting itself as an “inter-modal transportation hub.”

Kim spent four years at the helm in Cranbrook. Before that he was two years with engineering firm RJ Burnside, based in Calgary and prior to that 15 years with the City of Calgary.

“My last position (there) was manager of urban development,” he says.
All of the above followed a successful career in the field of engineering in his native Korea. One of the highlights there was being involved in the design of Incheon International Airport. Kim says he didn’t move to Canada out of economic necessity or any of the other common reasons. He had a good position with a multi-national corporation based in Seoul, but was looking for something different.

“I chose Canada,” he says.

And by ‘I,’ he means ‘we’ – that being him and his wife Jennifer, along with their three daughters. Jennifer has joined him in Slave Lake (he started on July 6) and the three girls – all now adults, are Calgarians. But not for long, because the oldest of the trio is moving to the U.K. to study, Kim says.

As far as his experience so far with the TOSL goes, Kim says, three weeks in, he’s “very busy,” learning the ropes. That includes how things work and “getting to know the people.” He says he is big on teamwork and taking time to get it right is important to him.

Outside of job and family, Kim says he enjoys hunting, motorcycle riding, music and a bit of fishing. He also likes writing and says if he hadn’t chosen engineering he thinks he would have become a writer.

David Kim

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