Ian Andresen, CIT, CBT, RRFS

Facility Maintenance, City of Kawartha Lakes

Share some of your most memorable career-related experiences

There are many moments to look back upon and smile. Always, there is meeting influential people in the industry and rubbing elbows with our Canadian shining sports stars – Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue, Kurt Browning, Patrick Chan, Darryl Sittler, to name a few. Preparing the facility for their use and having them appreciate your efforts fills me with a sense of pride.

Obtaining my ORFA designations: CIT, CBT, RRFS, RRFO for which I worked diligently and paid for personally to advance my knowledge base and qualifications. I feel it brings awareness to the importance of continuing education.

Moving from a small single-pad arena with out-dated infrastructure and limited emphasis on recreation, to a double-pad, multi-purpose sports facility with high-tech systems and a progressive approach to Customer service and citizen/staff involvement has re-ignited my passion for Recreation after over 20 years in the business.

I have been recognized on the street over 100km away from my place of employment and told that “Your ice is the best in the county”! It proves to me that the courses I have taken and the time that I have spent on the details are making a difference to the customers and users of the facilities where I have worked.

What would you describe as some of the most significant workplace and/or industry challenges you have faced over the past 5 years?

  • Finding qualified staff and convincing management to value education and qualifications.
  • The shift in demographics of who are using the facilities. Keeping pace with which sports are on the rise and which ones are declining in popularity.
  • Technology. When I started there was no such thing as the internet. You manually adjusted the blade on the ice resurfacer. Now you set a laser-level on the machine. All of your mechanical systems can be monitored from an office and bookings for use are done with cutting-edge software. Even timesheets and pay-stubs are completed online. You have to have people who are comfortable using this technology and you have to be adaptable.
  • Budgets and the tightening of them. You really have to do more with less and you still have to meet the needs of the customers and their expectations. With the ‘Grey Wave” of retirees moving out of the big urban centers there is a natural migration to the family-loved cottage country and other smaller communities. People are coming from areas with complete facilities and diverse and progressive programming and are not satisfied with some of the community centers they might be attending now. Many small towns cannot or will not host a variety of programs and services to meet their needs. Staff, management, and municipal government all play a roll in making sure that their communities are ready and willing to provide worthwhile experiences to their people.

How has your involvement with ORFA affected your career?

My ORFA experience has helped me to expand my outlook and increase my value with reference to my job. Taking the CIT courses, for example, has made ice-resurfacing more than just ‘fill up and flood’. I was taught how to make ice, how to maintain it and all of the “whys?” in between. ORFA has illustrated how my responsibilities and obligations extend beyond the job and has helped me become a true professional and ambassador for the entire industry. I feel that has been the reason for my recent promotion to a bigger and more vibrant facility.

Final Thoughts

I am looking forward to the future. I already have the next 5 years of ORFA courses planned for myself which I cannot wait to begin. I am excited for the new technology that is coming our way. I am ready for the changes in demographics and what it will mean for us as Operators and for our facilities. This is truly the best profession out there in my opinion and I am really blessed to be able to be part of it.

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