The Village of McBride has named Karl Johnston its new Economic Development Officer.

Johnston was raised in the town of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, where he spent 25 years.

The Village of McBride, nor EDO Johnston could be reached by press deadline.

In 2008, Johnston started his own freelance business as a writer and photographer for a local newspaper, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In 2011, he started a website and magazine with the help of a friend, who he says specialized in writing adventure feature stories.

The website and magazine, called Let’s Be Wild Magazine, grew to a worldwide audience of 200,000 people per month, he says.

“He excels at conceptualizing new ideas and is unrivaled when it comes to promotional strategizing,” Nick Zantop writes on LinkedIn. Zantop is the creative developer at Let’s Be Wild Magazine.

“He has abundant skills and is a resourceful and goal-oriented entrepreneur, photographer, creative professional… and problem solver,” Zantop says.

All reviews left on Johnston’s LinkedIn profile by former professional contacts were positive.

Johnston attended the University of Lethbridge from 2012 to 2016, taking a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media and Management.

The program is said to “bridge the gap between fine arts and management… providing strong knowledge for managing innovation,” according to the University’s website.

Prior to his education at the University of Lethbridge, Johnston attended two years at Aurora College in NWT.

A former professor, Dr. Joshua Knapp from the University of Lethbridge, says in a letter of recommendation that Johnston is one of the most skilled and intelligent people he’s taught.

“Mr. Johnston’s written and verbal communication skills are excellent,” the letter reads.

“He is an organized self-starter with a superior work ethic and problem solving ability… I consider him to be in the top five per cent of all previous students,” he says.

The Village of McBride’s administration says it feels it has the right person for the job, as the Village continues to solve one of its major problems, a $367,000 deficit run in 2015.

The administration is currently awaiting professional advice on the matter.

The Village of McBride also lost its Chief Financial Officer, Enid Keir, who resigned near the end of July. The Village did not provide The Goat with Keir’s reasoning.