“I really like Houston.… Of the four small towns that I’ve lived in, I’d say this one impresses me the most by far,” said Mark Wiber, Houston’s new Director of Finance.
Wiber says the people are very nice and he likes the terrain – it reminds him of Kananaskis Country.
Moving to Houston from Calgary, where he’d been retired for two years, Wiber says the hardest part has been getting back into the work routine, as well as dealing with the concussion he got from a fall just after he got here.
Wiber majored in finance at the University of Calgary and got his professional accounting designation before working in Calgary for 25 years.
He worked for TransAlta Utilities right out of university, then worked for an oilfield company for ten years, and then for Canada Post for another ten years, all doing accounting and finance work.
Next he worked for Alberta Corporate Service Centre for five years, a crown corporation which supported finance and information technology for children’s services and people with developmental disabilities across the entire province.
Again he was doing basic finance and accounting work Wiber said, adding that the job’s downside was that it had quite a bit of travel.
After that, Wiber says he decided to try work in a smaller town.
“My theory [was] I’d end up in a small town close to Calgary. [But] Inuvik was the first ones to give me a call, so I thought, ‘What the heck? I’ll give it a try,'” Wiber said.
He spent eight years in the Northwest Territories, working as the Director of Finance for Inuvik and then for Hay River and working for the Department of Transportation in Hay River as well, he said.
“I really enjoyed it. It’s a bit isolated, but the lifestyle I liked,” Wiber said, adding that the community was very active which he also enjoyed.
While in the Territories, Wiber volunteered as treasurer for the Great Northern Art Festival, which brought in aboriginal artists from Greenland, Russia and Australia for ten days.
After Northwest Territories, Wiber returned to Calgary and retired for two years before moving to Houston.
His two children, a 27-year-old daughter working as a heavy duty mechanic in Lloydminster and a 24-year-old son
son working as a journeyman welder in Calgary, could see he was going crazy not working and suggested he go back to work, he said.
Wiber says he enjoyed working in smaller communities in the Northwest Territories, so when he was offered a job in Houston he took it.
Wiber says he enjoys hiking, reading and swimming and is looking forward to doing those things here.
He also enjoys volunteering and would like to do some volunteering once things get settled with work, he said.
Wiber is not sure where he will volunteer, but he says he doesn’t expect it to be hard to find something
“[Houston] seems like a very active community,” he said.