Yes! It’s your friendly neighbourhood Traffic Reporter coming to you live from somewhere over northern Alberta…
But seriously, it’s an honour to join Toddske and Tito on the ymmpodcast as an official field correspondent. From here on in, I shall be bringing you not only the view from inside Fort McMurray; where I still call my first home away from school, parents, and still return every month for a fantastic part-time employment; but the views from my travels across Alberta, BC throughout Canada and the United States with the real ‘word on the street’ from the day-to-day folks and their thoughts, views, and overall impressions of Fort McMurray. So sit back, relax, enjoy a spot of tea, and Welcome to Ft Mac!
Titio was spot on calling me the Arnie Pye of the ymmpodcast during the intro of Ep. 28 as I am a professional pilot by trade; your eye-in-the-sky if you will. My time in Fort McMurray started immediately after university/flight training. I came to YMM during the big rush of the 2000’s and stayed there during the economical hard times of late 2008-09, in an industry that is notorious for being the first to see layoffs and entire companies folding for lesser hardships. However, my time spent away from Ft McMurray has had a bigger impact on why I love it. Let me explain…
When I first came to Fort McMurray I had the same mentality of a vast majority of the people, which I’ve encountered, who came to Fort McMurray in the first place: “Well I’ll just be here for a few years, makes lots of money and get out”. Fort McMurray very quickly turned out to be a place where there was a vastness of potential for the taking and giving. Throughout the years that I spent living in YMM I always felt like there was more around the corner, something new to be explored… sadly in spring of 2010 I was forced to search outside of Fort McMurray to continue on in aviation.
I spent a brief stint in Northern Saskatchewan where, even being Alberta’s neighbours, the majority of my colleagues were unaware of what was happening almost in their backdoor. One of my colleagues, however, was from the Edmonton area and he remarked to me during an in-flight discussion, that he paid for his entire flight training (which would be at a conservative estimate $25K-$30K) during his summers off from college while working in YMM.
Fast-forward to summer of 2011, I’m back in Northern Alberta still working in aviation and I was first approached with questions from my new set of colleagues such as “Why do you still go back to YMM during your days off?” When I explained to them the opportunities that I have gathered from McMurray and the friends I have maintained, I am now approached with questions like “Wow… how can I experience/benefit from what Fort McMurray has to offer?”
The answer is “You have to live there”