This series is dedicated to introducing and celebrating the participants of the ACL+ 2021 program. Each week, we will focus on one of our leaders, sharing a little bit about them and what motivates them to explore community leadership in Niagara.
I was born and raised here in St. Catharines before moving to Michigan to play collegiate baseball. I finished my education at Brock University and earned my Honours Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, while also playing varsity baseball.
I have worked for Meridian Credit Union for the past 8 years where I have taken on various roles within the organization. Currently, I am a Senior Relationship Manager on our Commercial Banking Team.
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife and 3 kids, playing sports and travelling.
I am personally motivated to explore civic leadership as I feel it is important to give back to your community in whatever way you can. Opportunities present themselves every day to make the community you live in a better place for not only those that live there now, but for future generations to come. I feel that engaging with other like minded individuals will help me contribute to a better Niagara for all.
Niagara currently has several challenges they are facing, but in my opinion the most important issue is affordable housing. Currently the wait times for affordable housing are way too long. For example, according to Niagara Regional Housing the current wait time for a 1-bedroom unit in St. Catharines is 13 years. Unfortunately, St. Catharines is not an outlier, with many other Cities within the region suffering from the same lengthy wait times. During this period a lot can happen to an individual over those 13 years while they wait for a safe, clean, stable spot to call their own. I feel that a stable environment to call their own could help prevent some of potential negative issues associated with becoming homeless.
Furthermore, rising housing prices without rising wages is putting home ownership out of reach for many Niagara Residents. A first-time home buyer is now looking at prices in excess of $325,000 for the same property they could have obtained for around $120,000 a few years ago. Not only are they facing a larger mortgage payment, but they are also facing larger down payments. This is forcing younger people who are entering the housing market to relocate outside the area or join the growing list of people looking to the rental market. As demand starts to outpace supply in the area, we start to see growing rents which makes it harder to save for that new home.
I hope to improve my communication skills as I feel this is an area of growth for myself. For any leader, it is crucial that they be able to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise manner.