By Andrea Arnold
The beginning of 2022 brought a new face to the McBride Community Forest Corporation. Patrick Penner stepped into his role on January 3, 2022 as the General Manager. Penner has begun a six month transition and training period where he will be working closely with outgoing Manager Ray Theissen.
Penner arrived in McBride in 2017 for a job doing forestry layout for Randy McFarland.
“I was working as a cruiser in Ontario on contract jobs, and the contracts dried up,” he said. “I started looking elsewhere and thought McBride was a good fit.”
Penner’s passion for trees and forestry began when he worked as a Forest Ranger in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park when he was 16 years old.
He attended Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, the only school in Ontario that offered a Forestry program, where he specialized in Wood Products and Forest Marketing.
Since graduating from Lakehead, he has held jobs with several companies across the country, and has seen different management styles. Through these experiences, he has learned what methods work well, and which do not.
When the position with MCFC opened up he thought it was a great opportunity to take on a new role within the forestry industry.
“My hope is to not manage blind,” said Penner. “I want to learn at least a little about all the aspects of the organization so I can understand the big picture.”
“I am looking forward to working with MCFC to manage the forest by utilizing all aspects of it, not just parts.”
In the time since his move to the valley, Penner’s appreciation for the area has grown. He loves being outdoors and through both work and personal exploring has gained an appreciation for what McBride has to offer.
Having grown up in the small town of Kingsville Ontario, he is no stranger to a tight-knit community.
“McBride is smaller than Kingsville,” he said. “It is a good little community. It is easy to get to know people, and people are friendly.”