Press Release

May 27, 2022

The hiring of our new Chief Administrative Officer has been a lot of work on by Mayor and Council. We interviewed many applicants and carefully considered who and how the best person possible could take on of the most important rolls in our community. Our deep dedication to making Canal Flats the best place it can be, not only includes all of the ongoing initiatives that we are working on, but speaks to a narrative of sense of place and bringing people home.

I am very pleased to announce that the new CAO we have hired grew up in Canal Flats. In fact, his first job was serving at the Texaco restaurant that his family owned here in Canal Flats. I am proud and pleased to announce our new Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Canal Flats is Richard Wayken.

Richard started his career in the Canadian Armed Forces. He is a proud military veteran and he attributes much of his success and his passion for serving the broader community to his time in the military. The Canadian Forces motto “Learn to Serve” has never been more important to him at this time in his life. He served in 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron and 440 Research and Rescue Squadrons. He vividly remembers flying into Canal Flats on a Twin Huey during a mountain training exercise and landing across the street where the Mayor’s house now stands.

From his career in the Armed Forces, he joined the Centre for Engineering Research (now C-FER Technologies) where he managed one the most advanced civil and structural testing facilities in North America. He eventually became the Chairman of the Board for C-FER after returning from a brief stint working for a global material testing company.

As a Vice President for Alberta Innovates, Alberta’s innovation engine, he managed several of the most complex innovation and technology portfolios in Canada. This included supporting the development of sector-based investment strategies across energy, agriculture, and forestry. The background of developing and leading technical and research teams eventually led to him building a national research collaboration. As guest speaker at a Paris conference and a visit to Universities in Australia, he reflected on Canada’s strengths in academic research and the need for a collaborative approach to technology development in pipelines. This led to achieving international attention and the eventual establishment of the Canadian Pipeline Technology Collaborative.

With more than 25 plus years of progressive experience he has spent more than a decade in executive, senior advisory and leadership roles within the government, agriculture, energy, IT and forestry sectors. He has managed several complex portfolios in the profit and non-profit areas and has a balanced portfolio of industry, government, business development, marketing, strategic and operational experience. He has an in-depth leadership and governance background that includes shaping national non-profits, advisory committees for new ventures, and leadership boards for start-ups.

A seasoned, results oriented business executive, He has shaped investments in the agriculture, forestry, and energy sectors. His technology and operations experience includes managing one of the most comprehensive technology research and innovation portfolios in Canada. He has the proven ability to build trust, shape strategy and vision, achieve buy-in, and move strategy into tangible and measurable outcomes.

Given that part of the key to success comes from your upbringing and your family, I would be remiss if I did not include a brief introduction to Richards family.

Richard’s wife, Tracey, is looking forward to the transition to Canal Flats. She has dedicated her career to helping others in the area of Respiratory Therapy. She has nearly 25 years of Pediatric ICU, sleep and oxygen therapy experience. She currently works for Alberta Blue Cross.

Kasten, who is the youngest son, played football at Florida’s IMG academy and is now in neuroscience at Carleton University and considering his options at UBC and the U of A. Blase, who is the oldest son, is following in the family footsteps and recently finished his business degree with a major in marketing.

He is now focused on several new entrepreneurial ventures that include supporting a Western Canada E-Beam facility and reducing plastics in the packaging industry.

His parents, Linda and Mike, long-time residents of Canal Flats, moved away to watch their family grow up in the Edmonton area and now reside in Cochrane. His mom, an accomplished local business owner, competed in Canal Days nail hammering competitions. His dad, a long-term employee at the sawmill in Canal Flats also ran the local machine shop. He continues to be a master craftsman and continues to build engines and engine components in his garage, occasionally working on machine projects for neighbours in the community.

Richard will be sworn in at a Special Council Meeting on May 30th at 9:00am and will begin with a part-time schedule until he is settled in Canal Flats. His regular office schedule will begin on June 20th and can be reached at or 250-349-5462.

Mayor Karl Sterzer & Council
Village of Canal Flats