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Resident Attraction & Retention
Municipality of Chatham-Kent

Park Avenue Business Centre
25 Creek Road
Chatham, ON, N7M 0L1

519-360-1998 ext. 3012
LivingCK@chatham-kent.ca

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A man sitting at a desk with a laptop, demonstrating employment

A woman in a store wearing a purple sweater, demonstrating entrepreneurship

     

an older gentleman in front of a red classic car Emily Meko

Jill Northcott Tyler Hatton

Ellen Sinclair Jessica Blain Alayna Rule Colin Goudreau

Cameron Smyth Beth Kloostra Julia Earley Tasha Holland

Jeremy Eagen Rebecca Kalp Rebecca Prince Steven Peach

William Bishop Steve Pratt Christine Fairbarn Simon Vanderlinden

Adam Ludolph Jamie Richards Pete Fantuz Jessica Smith

Scott Currie Jason Church Brittany Zimmer Cody Evers

Shawn Segeren Jacob Simpson Christine Muharrem Eric Van De Veire
Megan Zack Mila Ben Srokosz Jayson Ilisevic Kevin Owen
Carley Marsh

Carly Marsh

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in the really huge town of Bothwell, ON!

What was your first job?  As most people from Chatham, Corn Detasseling.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime?  My favourite pastime in Chatham-Kent is spending time with old friends    

What is your favourite season?  Summer! I love the sunshine, outdoor concerts, boating, and sunny patio drinks.

What did you do after high school? After high school, I went to Western University and Fanshawe College in London. I was in a dual program at both schools for four years. At Western I studied Media Studies, and at Fanshawe I studied web design and development.

What are you doing now?
 Now, I am working full-time as the junior web developer for Blackburn Radio in Chatham-Kent. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to work in a field that I went to school for, for a family-owned company, while living back in Chatham-Kent. It's very rare that these opportunities come up… and on top of that, I’m doing something I love every day.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.  An experience that has positively motivated me recently was a service learning trip I took to El Salvador this past February. While there we studied and observed the environment and social effects of gold mining on the small country of El Salvador. This was an informative experience as Canadian multinational companies are responsible for the gold mining related damage done to El Salvador. Seeing others suffer the consequences of things we benefit from here in Western culture (mined minerals provide cell phones, televisions, plumbing, the list goes on...) was a truly revealing and remorseful experience. I was also given the opportunity to be an “international observer” for a local referendum in the community of Cinquera. During the referendum I impartially observed citizens vote for or against mining in their community. As of recently, El Salvador has become the first country to completely ban metal mining, so the’ve seen a huge success and I’m so so grateful I got to be a tiny part of it. This experience positively motivated in so many ways, but notably I have sculpted a world view that goes well beyond borders. On my free time, I am currently looking to use my media/web design and development skills to help organizations involved in the fight against mining/corporate dominance in El Salvador. Online presence has a huge impact on the success of social movements so I hope I can use my skills to make an impact in that way. What did you do after high school? After high school, I went to Western University and Fanshawe College in London. I was in a dual program at both schools for four years. At Western I studied Media Studies, and at Fanshawe I studied web design and development.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?  My reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”, is my family. Being able to see my family everyday is another blessing. As well as, after living in London for 4 years, it’s nice to come back to a small family-based community with a relaxed atmosphere (and still close to the bigger cities!)

Kevin Owen

Where did you grow up?  Chatham, Ontario

What was your first job?  I worked at the Critter Shop cleaning animal's cages along with corn detasseling at a very young age, however I don't remember which came first.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime?  A leisurely bike ride with my family, I remember doing it as a kid with my mom & dad and brother and I really hope my children have similar memories.   

What is your favourite season?  Spring, because the weather is beginning to turn for the better, the air is fresh, the sky is blue, the grass is green and the plants are beginning to grow. It seems as though I dream of change and I am the most motivated.

What did you do after high school?   Worked as a Tool & Die Apprentice

What are you doing now?
    I am the Team Leader at Owen Flooring and the Executive Officer of the Chatham-Kent Home Builders Association

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.  When I was young I worked for Dave Ewald of Ewald Homes. I would say that before I met Dave I was pretty lost. Dave taught me firsthand how to build homes and encouraged my work ethic and intelligence. It wasn't long before I knew I wanted to build a business with the similar quality customer service and business practices as his was. I hope to encourage youth in similar ways throughout my career.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?  It is difficult to just pick one reason, however I would say because Chatham is a great place to live, work and play for people of all ages


Jayson Ilisevic

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Chatham, Ontario

What was your first job? My first job was at CD Plus in the Downtown Chatham Centre when I was 16 years old. I was able to listen to music all day and talk about the entertainment industry. It was great!

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My absolute favourite Chatham-Kent pastime would be fishing. We are in the heart of some the world renowned Great Lakes and we have beautiful Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie just a stone throw away. I consider myself very lucky to have such easy access to these bodies of water and their tributaries. I also love golfing throughout Chatham-Kent and travelling to surrounding area golf courses.

What is your favourite season? My favourite season is Spring. I love being outdoors and Spring brings many good things: warm and sunny weather, fishing from a boat, my birthday, and seeing all the flowers and trees bloom and blossom.

What did you do after high school?  After high school, I attended University of Windsor for three years completing courses towards a Bachelor of Honours in Psychology. As well, I graduated from St. Clair College at Thames Campus where I studied for two years to become an Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant in a dual-role diploma. I have also taken some individual courses on Gerontology, Infectious Diseases and Infection Control, Ethical and Legal Issues in Healthcare, and the Kinesiotaping method.

What are you doing now? I am currently working as a full-time Physiotherapist Assistant at Chatham Physiotherapy Clinic where I work on patients who come in with all types musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions. I am a part-time instructor at St. Clair College for the Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant Program. I am also a part-time tutor at St. Clair College for all the courses within the OTA/PTA program as well as English and Psychology. For the past two years, I have been a Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Chatham Sunrise as well as Delta Waterfowl Kent-Essex chapter, which has allowed me to give back to my community, network with new people, and contribute to the things that I love.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. Experiences that have positively motivated me would some of my recent work-related opportunities and achievements that I have been granted over the past few years. The fact that I could return to my hometown to begin my career full-time is a privilege that I can confidently say has motivated me. These opportunities have truly taught me that who you are shows in what you do. I have been able to grow as a young professional while having a lead role at the physiotherapy clinic in which I work at, being an instructor at St. Clair College and tutoring there as well. These opportunities continue to motivate me to strive for success every day and it is very rewarding to be able to do this in Chatham-Kent.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”? It is hard to choose just one, so my reasons for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home” are my family, friends, and accessibility to natural resources for my hobbies. I have a small family on both sides and most of them reside in Chatham. Most of my friends are in Chatham that I grew up so closely with, so it is very special to be able to be so close and always connected. Lastly, I have jobs in my field of study and it made the most sense for me to be here. I am so happy with the choice of residing and working in my hometown of Chatham.  

Ben Srokosz

Where did you grow up? In both Cedar Springs, and Erieau, Ontario

What was your first job? When I was very young, I cut grass and cleaned my Great Grandmothers’ home for candy money. I decided to go legit at age 11 and started corn detasseling, and delivering the Pennysaver to support my candy, fishing, and sports card habits.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Driving down to the pier in Erieau and looking out on the water. Any time life feels crazy or I feel disconnected, that drive fixes me. Or just sitting around a campfire with friends.

What is your favourite season? I prefer fall. Not too hot, not too cold. Harvest. Slower pace. Chatham-Kent is gorgeous in the fall! Driving up Erieau road, smelling the tobacco drying in the smoke barns, having that last campfire before you pack up the trailer for the winter. I could go on and on.

What did you do after high school?  After high school I attended the Recording Arts Program of Canada in Stoney Creek. All I ever wanted to be was a sound engineer, so I made sure that I ONLY applied to music programs. No universities or larger schools that might accept me and take my eye off of that dream. My guidance counsellor had to grin and bear it! I struggled to find work in a creative field after graduating, so I took an entry level job at the TD Bank call centre in London. That turned into a 14 year career with 8 different job descriptions, right up to Branch Manager of the TD in Downtown Chatham. I ended up leaving the banking industry in 2014 to start my own business.

What are you doing now? Primarily, I am a partner in a business called GATTA Creative, where we produce professional video content. I also own a secondary business called Spur of the Moment Media, that also involves video, but is geared more towards live music and sound production.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. Towards the end of high school, I approached the faculty at Blenheim District High School to have a battle of the bands. I took on way more than I could handle, from submissions, to running sound, to performing original music in my own band on top of it all. The night was a big success and I’m told that BDHS hosted the Battle of the Bands for a few years afterward. That was the first time I think I realized that if I wanted something to happen, I just had to make it happen, not wait around for someone else to do it for me. Any time I see a challenge, and especially if someone says it can’t be done, it motivates me to prove them wrong.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? This is where I am from and as soon as it came time to start a family, I couldn’t imagine raising a child anywhere else. My experience growing up in Chatham-Kent was filled with so many things that I want to pass on to my son Aleks, and share with my wife Ashley. 

 

Megan Fox Butler



Where did you grow up?
Thamesville, Ontario

What was your first job? Municipality of Chatham-Kent Lifeguard, Thamesville pool

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My family is a "hockey family". I played for the Chatham Outlaws and my brothers also played travel hockey their entire lives. My hockey memories are held close to my heart. We always had busy weekends running from arena to arena, but I would not change a thing. I look forward to bringing my daughter to her games, whatever sport she decides to play.

What is your favourite season? Summer, I love going to walks with my family and exploring different parks and paths around Chatham-Kent.

What did you do after high school?  I attended Laurier University & St Clair College-Thames Campus

What are you doing now? I am a Registered Practical Nurse at Riverview Gardens.

Name an experience that has positively motivated youThe birth of our daughter Mila, March 2015, she completely changed our lives. Becoming a parent made me realize what is truly important in life and allowed me to spend my energy on what makes me and my family happy.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? I have always called Chatham-Kent home, most of my family lives in this area. I live in my grandparents farm house, it doesn't get much better than that
 




Emily Meko

Where did you grow up? Chatham.

What was your first job? Expeditor and salad bar cook at The Lighthouse Inn in Light House Cove.  I worked there because my family stayed at our Cottage in Lighthouse Cove every summer, but I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the fun and energetic kitchen environment.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Going to the barn with my giant dog to ride my giant horse (and no, I never get confused about which one is which).

What is your favourite season? Spring.  It means winter is leaving and summer is coming. 

What did you do after high school? I went to University of Guelph to study Applied Human Nutrition. After my first year I returned to Chatham and started Eat What’s Good as a fun summer project that has grown steadily over the years with the support of the community. In my final two years of university, Eat What’s Good operated as my full time summer job.  After graduating with my BASc., and a certificate of Food Science I decided to pursue culinary training at George Brown College in Toronto.  Living in downtown Toronto for a year was a culinary education in itself.  With both my culinary and nutrition background, I returned to Chatham in 2014 to renovate and open the Eat What’s Good store front at 67 St. Clair Street.

What are you doing now? My days are spent operating Eat What’s Good.  You can find me in the kitchen most hours of the day, most days of the week.  It’s a fun job that provides new challenges every day.  Recipe development and testing, customer service, food styling and photography—there’s always lots of exciting things to work on at Eat What’s Good.  I’m always there, except for when I’m not, and that usually means I’m off with the dog or horse somewhere.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.  All nutrition and hospitality students at Guelph had to take a Restaurant Operations course that entailed working as a team to manage PJ’s Restaurant in the Atrium.  PJ’s is a student run restaurant on campus.  Students take turns managing the restaurant, working as cooks, servers, and dish washers.  Every team gets their own big day where they run the restaurant and direct their peers as staff.  The leading team names their restaurant, develops its concept, designs the menu, markets the event, and finally executes the long awaited day. Students feared or loved the course.  I was one of the latter.Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? I grew up in Chatham and my entire family is here. I had observed overwhelming support for Eat What’s Good these past few years and I wanted to bring Eat What’s Good back to CK. I see a growing community of health conscious people in Chatham-Kent with limited options for healthy take-out food. It posed a great opportunity. The abundance of locally produced food here, and possibilities for partnerships with local organic farms, such as River Bell Farms in Dresden, were also attractive for the type of food we prepare here

Why live in Chatham-Kent?
• Great people
• An abundance of locally grown food and growing support for sustainable agriculture
• Two beautiful lakes on either side of us
• Opportunity & untapped potential

 

Brian Machado

Where did you grow up? Chatham, Ontario.

What was your first job? I began as a teenager working as a dishwasher in Chatham, first at Swiss Chalet, and then at Pranovi’s.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My favourite pastime in Chatham-Kent – Festival of Nations, out in the park. I danced in the Portuguese folklore group. It was a lot of fun. We should bring that back!

What is your favourite season? The summertime… in the beautiful downtown core where everyone takes pride in their property. It’s just a beautiful place to raise a family.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. I have always loved to eat, and so did my family when we all got together. This has always been a big part of our family’s Portuguese culture... sharing love through food and learning much from my mother and aunts about the secrets of Portuguese cuisine.

What did you do after high school? I completed culinary programs at St. Clair College in Windsor George Brown College in Toronto. Then I went to Europe where I volunteered for some of the best chefs in in Paris and Lisbon. But I was a long way from my high school sweetheart Christina in Chatham, so I returned to southwestern Ontario to work as a Food and Beverage Manager at the Four Points by Sheraton in London. Then, after marrying Christina, I was offered a great chance to be a sous chef with Baton Rouge restaurants in Toronto.

What are you doing now? I own and operate the Chatham Breakfast House and Grille, Churasscaria with my father, Antonio Machado, as well as our catering company, Four Diamond Catering, with business partner Matthew Harlick. We are committed to creating and serving top-of-the-line dishes made from high quality ingredients.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? After the birth our first son, we wanted to give him what we had growing up in Chatham Kent... a sense of community pride and togetherness. I was commuting to work at Caesar's Windsor when my father told me to have a look at a Chatham restaurant that was for sale. Then he told me he had already bought it... the future Chatham Breakfast House and Grille, Churasscaria.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? Because it’s a great community, a great place to do business and a great place to raise a family. People seem to appreciate the simpler things in life!

 

Corey Lapp

Where did you grow up? Chatham, Ontario.

What was your first job? Hostess at Kelsey's Restaurant.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I would say playing basketball and volleyball in high-school. Playing in tournaments on the weekends and having the opportunity to meet some really great people - some of which I am still great friends with today!

What is your favourite season? Summer. I love getting outside and enjoying the warm weather - family BBQ's, beaches... running outside.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. Volunteering with Naturopathic Doctors International and opening up a clinic in Nicaragua providing free healthcare for people of the community. It was a really eye opening experience to see the lack of available healthcare in a third world country.

What did you do after high school? I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph and then completed a 4 year post graduate program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

What are you doing now? Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? I moved back to Chatham-Kent to be closer to my family and for the opportunity to open up my own business. As a licensed Naturopathic Doctor I have opened Chatham-Kent Integrative Health clinic in hopes of helping to improve the health of the community.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? Cost of living, great place to raise a family, and close to lakes/beaches.

  

Jill Northcott

Where did you grow up?  I was born and raised in Chatham. 

What was your first job?  Like many, my very first job was corn-detasseling during the summer months.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime?  Growing up, my family lived close to Kingston Park so we spent lots of time there tobaggoning on the hill in the winter months and playing with our friends at the park all summer.  Now that I have children, Kingston Park is such a great place for my daughters.  The splash pad is top-notch, and the variety of play equipment, picnic shelters, movie nights at the park and summer camps have made this a favorite spot for my children as well. 

What is your favourite season?  My favorite season is spring.  There's something about the season of new life that just puts me in a good mood!  And especially if we had a really long winter.  To see flowers blooming, hear birds chirping and feel the sunlight and warmth definitely puts a spring in my step!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.  I was incredibly motivated to succeed when I purchased a commercial building and completed major renovations to fullfill my dream of owning a spa.  It was an exciting (and nerve-racking) time of my life and with the help of many family members, friends and local trades people, I got to see my vision transform into reality.  To this day, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment when I walk through the doors of Radiance. It motivates me everyday to make the spa experience enjoyable for everyone who also walks through those doors.

What did you do after high school?  After graduating highschool, I moved to Peterborough, Ontario to attend Sir Sandford Fleming College for the 3 year Massage Therapy program. After successfully completing the Board exams, I returned to my hometown of Chatham to begin my career.
 
What are you doing now?  I am the owner of Radiance Massage Therapy & Spa Inc. and a practising Massage Therapist for almost 14 years.  For five years, I owned Advanced Therapeutic Massage Clinic until Radiance opened its doors in January 2007.   Over the years, we have continued to grow and expand our services.  We currently have 7 Registered Massage Therapists, 5 Certified Estheticians, 3 Receptionists, a Chiropractor, Reflexologist, and 2 Laser Technicians.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent?  I came back to Chatham-Kent for a variety of reasons.  At the time, massage therapy was just starting to be recognized in the health care field and I knew that I could successfully build a practice here.  And for me, my first clients were friends and family who were supportive of my venture and cheering me on along the way.   I also knew when I came back to Chatham that I wanted to have a family one day.  I now have 3 daughters who are thriving at an excellent school, involved in many local activities, programs through our church, and sports both in the winter and summer.  They are proof that Chatham-Kent is a great place to raise a family! 

Why live in Chatham-Kent?  Chatham-Kent isn't just a Municipality.  It's a community.  We work together to support others.  And I've seen it time and time again.  Whether is rallying together fill the food bank shelves, supporting a local child with cancer or getting us the top spot on the Canadian Monopoly game, our community really pulls together whenever there is a need. Chatham-Kent is unique in that we have a lot of  the amenities of a bigger city, and yet we are surrounded by rich farmland and agriculture, lakes and beaches and close to several US borders.  But aside from that, we are a community of people who work together for the greater good of the place where we live, work and play-  a place we call Chatham-Kent. A place I call home.
 

 

Ryan Bradley

Where did you grow up?  Wheatley, ONT

What was your first job?  Mercer's Gas Station in Wheatley.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime?  Seeing my family and friends, usually on Sundays back home.

What is your favourite season?  Fall.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.  Having national success with my music career has positively motivated me. After ten years of playing local venues and singing cover songs, it was a welcomed change to finally be able to share my original work with fans across Canada.

What did you do after high school?  I went to the University of Waterloo, then to Algonquin College in Ottawa.

What are you doing now? Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent?  I am a paramedic now in Chatham-Kent, and a Canadian Country Recording Artist.  In January of 2014, I was signed to a record label who helped distribute my single "Next Weekend" to country stations across Canada.  It peaked in the Top 100 on the the charts, which I was very pleased with!  A fresh new single goes to radio in January of 2015.  I came back to CK because I love my hometown with a passion.  I love the small town feel of every community in this county, and how simple the lifestyle is compared to urban areas. 

Why live in Chatham-Kent?  CK has a lot to offer both commercially and in agriculture.  I has been a wonderful home to me and my family for 30+ years, and I'm sure any newcomers to the county will appreciate the acceptance they will receive. I've been to many places across our country, and would recommend CK to anyone.

 

Colin Chrysler

A guy with long hair and a monkey on his backWhere did you grow up? Erieau, ON.

What was your first job? Boat dock attendant in Erieau.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My grandparents had a small farm in Charing Cross and, growing up, we used to spend lots of time there. Looking back, it makes me appreciate the little things and allows me to enjoy the freedom that I had when I was young.

What is your favourite season? Summer. The beaches, the parties, the lifestyle. Life is better in board shorts.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. Winning the award for Youth Business of the Year in 2012. It has opened my eyes to the great potential and opportunities in Chatham-Kent.

What did you do after high school? I received my diploma in Electro-Mechanical Engineering in Ottawa. After that I traveled around the world, working on sailing ships in Australia, surfing throughout Indonesia and chasing the sun.

What are you doing now? I operate my own seasonal business, teaching people the sport of wakeboarding and waterskiing. I also work full time with Bayside Brewing Company, helping develop craft beer and sharing my passion for Erieau.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent?  The great opportunities and potential this area has to offer. I really enjoy the small community mentality, and being involved in the community itself.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • The people
  • The water
  • The unique opportunities

 

Eraina Grootenboer

A family of four under a blossoming treeWhere did you grow up? Dresden, ON.

What was your first job? Corn Detasselling.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent memory? Playing broomball for Red Feather (United Way’s major fundraiser, focused on high school student participation).

What is your favourite season? Summer. I love going to Chatham-Kent’s beaches and sitting on patios, enjoying a meal.

Who was your local inspiration/role model? Everyone in my life was positive and encouraging.

What did you do after high school? Attended Redeemer University College in Ancaster, ON. After graduating, I traveled Europe, moved to Alberta and worked as an editor there until I married.

What are you doing now? Helping my husband run an organic farm and raising our three children in Dresden, ON.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? Coming back made it possible for my husband to change careers from being an engineer to a farmer. The land near Edmonton was too expensive, there was a piece of organic land for sale in Dresden, and the climate is wonderful for growing a large variety of things. My family is also here and I like that our children can grow up with family close by.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • It’s close to the Great Lakes
  • Dresden is a great town in which to raise a family
  • I enjoy the warmer climate, with less snow

 

Kim Hinnegan

A young woman wearing an apron and smilingWhere did you grow up? Chatham, ON.

What was your first job? Hoeing bean fields for my dad.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent memory? Working at "The Pickle Station" in Chatham during the summer months. It was owned by my parents, and now by my siblings. I did not mind spending my free time working because all of my family and friends worked there as well. We created so many great memories together and learned the value of hard work.  It has been 50 years since the first cucumbers were delivered to the station and students of Chatham-Kent are able to say they worked doing this unique job.

What is your favourite season? Autumn. We have the most amazing weather and I find that I appreciate the beautiful days most in fall.

Who was your local inspiration/role model? There have been so many people, but one person that comes to mind is my former high school math teacher, Mr. Krailo.  He introduced me to the idea of volunteering.  I donated hours and hours to the Student Athletic Committee, score keeping basketball games and helping at cross country and track and field meets.  Through example, he showed how important it is to give back to the community.  I now understand and realize that without the help of volunteers, many events and organizations would cease to exist.  Volunteers should never be taken for granted!

What did you do after high school? Attended The University of Western Ontario in London, ON, where I obtained my Bachelors of Science. I then received my Diploma in Accounting at Wilfrid Laurier University and later obtained my Certified Management Accounting (CMA) designation.

What are you doing now? I own and operate The Paper Pickle Company, a paper crafts store focused on custom invitation design, scrap booking and card making, located in downtown Chatham.  I also assist my husband (also born and raised in Chatham) with his law practice, and am the mother of two young children.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent?  Family. My husband and I came back to raise our children in a great community surrounded by loved ones. 

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • The many beautiful parks and beaches
  • The quaint, boutique style shopping
  • Ease of commute within the community
  • It’s close to larger centres, including London and Windsor
  • There are ample activities for both adults and children, including shows at the St. Clair College Capitol Theatre and various events throughout the community

 

Emily Robert

The face of a young blonde woman wearing glasses and smiling Where did you grow up? Blenheim, ON.

What was your first job? Working at Naples Pizza in Blenheim.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Attending the multitude of fun festivals and events that happen each year; Cherry Fest in Blenheim is always a good time, Thamesville’s Corn maze and the concerts in Chatham’s Tecumseh Park, just to name a few!

What is your favourite season? Fall. The leaves changing and the crops coming off. It’s just a busy time and beautiful sight.

Who was your local inspiration/role model? The many from across CK who come together to support something valuable to our community. I admire the work so many people do to make CK a worthwhile place to live and work.

What did you do after high school? Attended Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON for 1 year in the Marketing program. After, I completed my two-year Recreation and Leisure Services diploma at Fanshawe College in London.

What are you doing now? I am the Program/Recreation Supervisor at the Blenheim Youth Centre. I am also graduating this semester from St.Clair College in the Chemical Dependency Counselor program.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? To raise my family here and be part of the community that helped shape me into the person I am today. To live in a place where you aren’t just a face in the crowd and can make an impact.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • I always know where my kids are
  • People remember your name  
  • I can get to a border crossing in just over an hour in different directions  
  • The beaches at Erieau and Rondeau

 

Paul Spence

A happy family with a very young boy in front of a Christmas TreeWhere did you grow up? Ridgetown, ON.

What was your first job? Working on the family farm, but my first paid job was picking peppers by the basket for an area farmer.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent memory? Participating in food-related events and activities. From picking strawberries to buying apples from Hector Delange.

What is your favourite season? Fall. For the harvest, the smells, the cold mornings and nights and the colour and beauty of the changing landscape.

Who was your local inspiration/role model? Dan Lewis my high school basketball coach.

What did you do after high school? Attended the University of Guelph to earn my diploma and degree in Agricultural Business.

What are you doing now? I’m a farmer and a stay-at-home dad. I’m also looking to build a local food culture that can best represent our farming community.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent?  I wanted the stability and high quality of life that our family farm could provide.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • In relation to food, we have so much bounty here
  • The quality of life that CK provides for my family and myself
  • The opportunity and potential
  • The ability and willingness of various groups to work together on projects

 

Erica Stirling

A smiling young lady wearing a scarfWhere did you grow up? Pain Court, ON.

What was your first job? Corn Detasselling.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent memory? Red Feather weekends (United Way’s major fundraiser, focused on high school student participation).  I always had a blast doing anything that showed school spirit, and was very proud to be a Patriote from ESPC.

What is your favourite season? Fall. Cooler temperatures, beautiful colours in the fields and parks.

Who was your local inspiration/role model? Yves Durocher, my high school history teacher and mentor while on Student Council.

What did you do after high school? University of Western Ontario in London, ON for my undergraduate degree, followed by the University of Ottawa for my Master’s degree in Speech Pathology.

What are you doing now? Working as a Speech Language Pathologist at the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? To complete my final student placements at the Children’s Treatment Centre (where I work full time now) and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. I was able to live with my parents for free and save up to buy a house in only 18 months.  I also came back to be close to my family.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • Small town feel
  • Cost of living
  • I’m close to family

 

Brian Sunnen

A happy smiling of four outside in a yard with trees behind themWhere did you grow up? Chatham, ON.

What was your first job? Working as a bus-boy at Smitty’s Family Restaurant at the age of 14.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I’ve played soccer in the summer for as long as I can remember, and I still do.

What is your favourite season? Spring. I love all the trees and it isn’t hot yet.

Who was your local inspiration/role model? David A. McLean. During my high school co-op term at David A. McLean and Associates, Dave was a great mentor and encouraged me (and many others) to pursue Engineering.

What did you do after high school? I studied Engineering at the University of Waterloo.  After graduation, I lived in France for 6 months, then moved to Denver.  We stayed in Denver for almost seven years before returning to CK. 

What are you doing now? I am Vice President of Guspro Inc.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? Family.  We have two young children and both sets of grandparents live in the CK area. I also came back to join Guspro, which is a family business.

Why live Chatham-Kent?

  • The size of the community - I get to enjoy the amenities, without the traffic
  • This is a great place to raise kids - I don’t need to worry about their safety, and Kingston Park in Chatham is close to where I live.

 

Dan Whittal

A black and white photo of a young man in a suit and wearing glassesWhere did you grow up? Wallaceburg, ON.

What was your first job? Corn Detasselling.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Going to the beach at Mitchell’s Bay, Rondeau or Erieau.

What is your favourite season? Autumn. Thanksgiving and it means Christmas is on the way!

Who was your local inspiration/role model? Mike Dymond, my first karate teacher in Wallaceburg.  He was a role model who taught the importance of fitness and integrity.

What did you do after high school? Attended Laval University in Quebec City.

What are you doing now? I’m a lawyer and karate instructor.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent?  To be closer to family, and to raise my own family in a safe and positive community.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • I have the opportunity to build my own law practice and karate school here
  • It’s close to larger communities without being in them
  • It’s close to lakes/beaches

 

Matt Wood

A woman and man together in formal attire and smilingWhere did you grow up? Chatham, ON.

What was your first job? Corn detasselling.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Biking down to sidewalk sales as a kid and touring around downtown with friends.  It was always the start of summer and seemed to become almost a tradition.

What is your favourite season? Summer.  I'm a warm weather person, love getting outside and running/biking/etc.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. Becoming involved in the fitness industry over the last few years.  Seeing the number of people out running, and working with some of the local fitness organizations (Blairs' Boot Camp, Performance Fitness, Shakti Yoga, and Perfect Harmony, to name a few) to help people achieve their fitness goals has been amazing.

What did you do after high school? Attended Western University in London, ON. I stayed in London for a few years after graduation before moving back to Chatham-Kent.

What are you doing now? I work for Union Gas in their Engineering, Construction, and Storage & Transmission Department.  My wife and I also own a retail store in downtown Chatham (Up & Running) that specializes in running shoes, apparel, and accessories.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? To work. My entire family is also still in town, which is certainly an added benefit!

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • Cost of living
  • Short commute to work
  • Proximity to lakes (boating/beach)
  • Being near family

 

 





Tyler Hatton

Tyler HattonWhere did you grow up? I grew up in North Buxton, Ontario, until the age of 14, then moved into Chatham.

What was your first job?My first job was the same as MANY kids in Chatham-Kent… Corn Detasseling!

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? That is a tough one, there is so much to do but it’s dependant on the season. For the warmer months, my favourite thing to do would be going on crop tours and checking out the farmers in the fields. During the winter, ice fishing as tobogganing with my kids!

What is your favourite season?I would have to say my favourite season is end of Summer/Fall and I say that because it seems to be the time Chatham-Kent comes alive. Harvest is in full swing and everywhere you look there seems to be someone in a field, farming.

What did you do after high school?After high school I attended Fanshawe College and studied Mechanical Engineering. After that, I decided to pursue a career in sales.

What are you doing now?Currently I work during the day as a salesman at McGrail farm Equipment selling only the best, John Deere farm equipment. Outside of that, I own a small Aerial media company called “Barnyard Aerials’, specializing in aerial photography in agriculture.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?I would say the best reason to live here in CK is the fact that we have all the amenities of a “big town” but with the small, farm town feel. Everyone seems to know everyone and you can’t find that anywhere else.

 

Ellen Sinclair

Ellen SinclairWhere did you grow up? Chatham, ON.

What was your first job?Corn Detasseling

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Spending a day with the family at my grandparents farm or spending a lazy Sunday afternoon at the beach with my boyfriend and dog.

What is your favourite season?Spring, because everything is starting to come back to life. The birds and other animals start to come back out and I can really start enjoying the outdoors again!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.Becoming a member of the Chatham-Kent PEO Chapter. It has been wonderful helping run engineering camps and events for the youth around Chatham-Kent. It is something I never knew was around when I was younger and think it is a great opportunity for younger kids to get involved and see what engineering and science is all about and hopefully get more people interested in the career.

What did you do after high school?After high school I went to the University of Detroit Mercy to study Engineering while playing softball. I did a bit of travelling after I graduated and got my Dive Masters in Honduras. After, I got an Engineering job just outside of Detroit until I was offered a job at Union Gas in Chatham.

What are you doing now?I work as an Engineer in Training at Union Gas in the Engineering Department.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  1. The affordable living that allow me to own a home and still be able to travel and do other things that I love.
  2. The small town mentality and being able to be involved in my community.
  3. My family and friends.

 

Jessica Blain

Jessica BlainWhere did you grow up? Chatham, ON.

What was your first job?Working for The Chatham Daily News, delivering newspapers in our neighbourhood.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I love coming to town to spend time with my family and closest friends, and of course dining at local restaurants!

What is your favourite season?I absolutely LOVE summertime. Theres nothing better than feeling the summertime sun shining down on you, seeing some amazing landscaping in the community and watching our son play outside while enjoying the beautiful weather. This is also the busiest season for my business. Weddings are a must for me! I love everything about a wedding, especially the hair! I am booked nearly every Saturday morning in the summer for weddings and I love everything about those mornings.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.I am positively motivated every day at my job. I could not picture having a more rewarding job than the one I have now. I get to spend every day at work meeting wonderful people and I try my hardest every day to make them feel beautiful and refreshed. The friendships I gain from my job are so incredibly special I can’t begin to express how blessed I am to be where I am today. Without my AMAZING clientele, I could not do what I do every day. They know I am here for any hair needs, or just a friend to talk to. I have the most wonderful support from my husband and parents to make sure I am always available for my clients at any call. To see a permanent smile on a woman’s face after having her hair done is enough to keep me motivated forever where I am at.

What did you do after high school?After high school I decided to stay in Chatham and work for one year until deciding to make the move to Windsor to attend Marvel. I then proceeded with a one year program to learn the basics of hairdressing to take my next step in apprenticing back in Chatham. I chose a local salon to start my hours for one short year, until moving on to two other salons in the following four years.

What are you doing now?I am now the sole owner and stylist at Simply Gorjess Salon in Chatham. After making my last move from a salon that I loved, I decided my clientele was sufficient enough to jump out on a limb solo and try something new. This was the scariest thing that I could have imagined and has been the best four years of my life. Not only at work but at home. Enjoying and loving what you do makes happiness for everyone you are surrounded by. I am beyond blessed with my son, husband, family and of course – my business!

Why live in Chatham-Kent?I love every aspect of living in Chatham-kent. I love the people and our community, especially how local businesses all support one another. The accessibility to everything in Chatham is ideal, and to top it off we are very fortunate to have less expensive living costs as well. I am so proud to say that I am born and raised in Chatham-Kent, and my husband, myself and my family will all take part in raising my son in the same community.

 

Alayna Rule

Alayna RuleWhere did you grow up? Muirkirk, Ontario

What was your first job?Similar to most raised in Chatham-kent, my first job was Corn Detasseling.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Growing up I loved going to Heritage Days for school field trips

What is your favourite season?That’s easy, Summer! We’re so fortunate to live within a short radius to many Great Lakes. We spend most of our summer weekends on the water enjoying the sun with family and friends.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.Completing my placement here in Chatham allowed me to see firsthand how many individuals suffer from hearing loss. It encouraged me to start my own hearing clinic where I could serve the community of Chatham-Kent with the best possible care.

What did you do after high school?Attended Western University to complete my undergraduate degree, and continued studies at Conestoga College to become a Hearing Specialist.

What are you doing now?I’m the owner and sole hearing practioner at Rule Hearing Centre which is located inside The Anjema Eye Institute. I educate patients on their hearing loss and all available options. We offer a wide range of services pertaining to hearing and healthcare. My husband and I live in Chatham with our two fur babies, Bennington and Ranger.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  1. My husband and family are situated here
  2. The demographic for my field of work
  3. Small town feel, perfect for raising a family

 

Colin Goudreau

Colin GoudreauWhere did you grow up? Born and raised in Chatham-Kent

What was your first job? Just like 80% of the youth in the Chatham-Kent area, corn detasseling (with the Allin corn crew lead by the late Dave Allin)

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I love getting out to Erieau to go to the beach, enjoy the restaurants and community that is so close to Chatham. I usually combine it with a round of golf at Deer Run.

What is your favourite season?Fall. I am a long distance runner, and not having to schedule my runs early morning or late to avoid the humid summer is a luxury. As well, the Run CK Race Series has a number of races in late August, September and October that I like to participate in and volunteer for.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.I helped out at the Relay for Life last year, and seeing the courage of the individuals who are out there helping raise money for cancer funding, and have had so much struggle in their lives (or individuals who are walking on behalf of a loved one), really makes you put things in perspective. If you are having a bad day, go volunteer – it will really make you appreciate all of what you have in life.

What did you do after high school?After graduating from John McGregor, I attended the University of Windsor, enrolled in the Bachelor of human Kinetics, Honors Movement Science (Co-op) program. After completing my degree, I attended the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto, ON. 8.5 years after high school, I finally completed my formal education with my Doctor of Chiropractic diploma.

What are you doing now?I own and run Goudreau Chiropractic and Acupuncture right here in Chatham-Kent in the Downtown Chatham Centre (DCC). I have been in the DCC for a year and a half alongside RMT Ashley Van Zelst. I approach chiropractic from a different view point, utilising a number of different strategies that individuals may not have experienced before (Active Release Technique, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue, Acupuncture, Low Level Laser Therapy, Concussion Rehab, Kinesiotaping, etc). Most patients have a 15-20 minute session of “hands-on’ therapy with me, so we can really dive into the problem. I’m thankful for the opportunity presented to me, and have enjoyed growing my practice in the city I grew up in and call my home.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?Why not. There are a number of factors that are attractive for people to call Chatham-Kent their home. Cost of living here is great, something that four years in Toronto made me appreciate. As well, we are so close to a number of big cities – London, Windsor, Detroit, and still only three hours away from the GTA. I’m a big sports and concert fan, so if an act doesn’t come to Chatham, then I don’t have to travel far to go see them. If you want to stay local, we have so many festivals that I like to go to – Retrofest, anything in the King Street Commons, etc. Finally, I like the community – you can usually find a common link between most people in town, and I like that tight-knit aspect. This is true for most of my patients, as well as individuals in the running community. Runners like to “talk shop”, so it’s nice to interact with people at all of the local runs.

 

Cameron Smyth

Cameron SmythWhere did you grow up? Chatham, ON.

What was your first job?I grew up on the farm where there was never any shortage of work. My first paying job was in grade 7 when I put together my own crew to hoe cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and other cash crops.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My favourite Chatham-Kent pastime is Retro Fest weekend and attending A&W Cruise Nights and car shows throughout the summer months.

What is your favourite season?Spring is my favourite season. It's full of new beginnings and the first chance to pull out the latest winter project and go for a test ride.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.I used to work in the shop alongside my grandfather building toy wagons for our tractors from old tomato harvester parts and plywood. Early on I recognized the value of being able to create something with my own two hands and how to think creatively to repurpose old and worn out parts.

What did you do after high school?After high school I went on to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario, and then furthered my education at Humber College studying Industrial Design with a focus on Transportation Design.

What are you doing now?I currently work for RM Auctions and operate my own business, Smyth Innovations, designing and building motorcycles for a range of clientele.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?Chatham-Kent has always been a warm and welcoming community full of opportunities. The people of Chatham-Kent that make all the difference and make this area so unique.

 

Beth Kloostra

Beth KloostraWhere did you grow up? I was born and raised right here in Chatham-Kent!

What was your first job?My first job was at my parents paint store, helping stock shelves and mixing paint. Instilling friendly service right from the get go

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My favourite Chatham-Kent past time is going out to Erieau! Beach time all the time!!

What is your favourite season?My favourite season is SUMMER SUMMER SUMMER! My husband and I love to be outside with our so and enjoying the warm sun and long sunny days.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.An Experience that positively influenced me was my time abroad in the UK and Australia working on a cruise ship. I was very shy and the whole experience really brought out a lot of confidence in myself and my profession. Meeting new people, seeing many exciting places and diverse injuries to treat.

What did you do after high school?After high school, I went to London to D’Arcy Lane to obtain my RMT diploma, and was working at a wonderful massage clinic in Chatham before my 20th birthday.

What are you doing now?I am now the proud owner of BodyOne Massage Therapy on St Clair St in Chatham, and I have 2 awesome co-workers working within my clinic. I was very blessed to have been voted as C-K’s best Massage Therapist for this year. I have such wonderful clients for keeping me in such a rewarding career!

Why live in Chatham-Kent?I think living in C-K has a lot to offer! I find we are great at supporting small businesses. It is a wonderful place to raise a family, and it has a wonderful small town feel with a lot of heart. I would love to see CK’s downtown core continue to grow. It has blossomed so beautifully and is drawing in a lot of opportunity. It is so neat to watch all the positive changes and new events to bring us together as a community.

 

Julia Earley

Julia EarleyWhere did you grow up? Harwich Township

What was your first job?Like many others who grew up in CK, my first job was in the corn field, except instead of de-tasseling I was de-roguing.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Growing up, my family would go camping every year at Rondeau. My husband's family has a cottage there also, so in recent years I have been able to spend even more time enjoying the park. I love that you can spend time near the water swimming, kayaking, or fishing. Then, you can turn around and go hiking, biking or birding. We are lucky to be able to experience two very unique environments all in one place!

What is your favourite season? Autumn. It is beautiful to watch the leaves change to vibrant orange, deep reds, or crisp golds. It is also a time of thanksgiving for the year’s harvest.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.In the spring I had the opportunity to create a video for work about a young boy from Blenheim who is blind. It was inspiring to hear from his mom that even with his disability he lives a life full of adventure and fun. Knowing that I can make a difference in theirs and other families lives simply by sharing their story, motivates me.

What did you do after high school? I enrolled at the University of Guelph, majoring in International Development with a minor in Geography. After completing my Bachelor of Arts, I spent one year attending Fanshawe College where I received a Graduate Certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations.

What are you doing now? I was very lucky to find employment in my field in Chatham immediately after graduating at United Way of Chatham-Kent. Beginning in May 2012 on contract as a Campaign Associate helping with the Annual Fundraising Campaign, I have since transitioned to a full-time permanent position as the Manager, Marketing and Communications.

Why live in Chatham-Kent?My family lives here. My husband's family lives here. It is a beautiful community, from the farm fields to the waterways and the historic buildings. It was always our goal to come baCK to Chatham-Kent to begin our careers, buy a home and eventually start a family.

 

Tasha Holland

Tasha Holland Where did you grow up? Chatham, ON

What was your first job? My very first job was the little breakfast diner on Bloomfield Rd. I was in grade seven, and the only one of my friends that had a job. My dad wanted me to have to work for my money, learn what independence was all about. At the time I was not a happy camper for the fact I was working while my friends were out having a good time. Although now looking back on it, I appreciate him for it.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I would have to say my favourite pastime would have to be camping out at Mitchell’s Bay. My family pretty much lived out there in the summer as a kid. Campfires, spider dogs and a fun game of UNO, those were the days!

What is your favourite season?Summer for sure! My boyfriend Steve and I are die hard boaters. If it wasn’t for our fur babies at home, Steve and I would live out on the water. No better feeling then that!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.. It would have to be getting my Opticianry diploma. In the beginning I had over 90 classmates to start out with, although got through the national exam with only 20 colleagues by my side. It was in that moment I realized I was meant to do this.

What did you do after high school? During my last semester of high school I was busy getting everything in place for Holland Optical. My parents were still working elsewhere full-time, which had them lean on me to get a lot of the leg work rolling. I spent a year working alongside my dad at our exciting new store before taking off to school. I then went to Georgian College in Barrie to receive my diploma with honors in Opticianry. It was a beautiful city, knowledgeable school and an amazing experience. Having the background my dad passed on to me was beyond helpful. Professors would constantly tease saying my old school knowledge will always over power my new school. My next stage was to pass my national exams with the College of Opticians of Ontario. It was a stressful time, but rewarding all at the same. In the end, I ended up where I was always meant to be!

What are you doing now? I operate my family business Holland Optical, as well take on the role as our licensed Optician. It is a very rewarding career. My job consists from making decisions on which sunglasses to have in our dispensary to helping individuals decide which products will be beneficial in their eyewear needs. All over the map with responsibilities but I would not have it any other way. As well my co-workers, which includes my dad makes it a pretty amazing work environment.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? We all have such a great sense of community; it’s as if we are all one great big family. Everyone is there to help each other, whether it be holding a door open or cutting the neighbours grass when they are gone on vacation. As well as location, we are surrounded by beautiful lakes. Boating in the summer, ice fishing in the winter, can’t get much better.

 

Jeremy Eagen

Jeremy EagenWhere did you grow up? North Buxton

What was your first job?Bradonna Woodwork Inc.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Baseball - Gotta love Rotary park!

What is your favourite season?Autumn. Love the weather and all the fall colours.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.Rupturing my patellar tendon, having knee surgery and being stuck on a couch by myself for 3 months. Definitely an eye opener!

What did you do after high school?Worked at Bradonna before moving to Sudbury.

What are you doing now? Running my own business, Outside the Box - Custom Laser Engraving, and also still working at Bradonna.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? Family and friends, very safe place to live, the support from the community and extremely reasonable real estate costs!

 

Rebecca Kalp

Rebecca KalpWhere did you grow up? Duart, ON.

What was your first job? Godfather's Pizza in Ridgetown.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? We spend a lot of time at Chatham-Kent’s arenas with our son’s hockey schedule which we enjoy both watching and participating in.

What is your favourite season?Fall! All of the beautiful colours and the crisp cool air. Also, playoff baseball. Go Bluejays!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.Getting my own studio. It was a lot of hard work, and has certainly been a labour of love for myself, my husband and our family – but it has been worth every penny and minute that has been put into it. Having a beautiful, convenient, naturally lit spot to welcome my clients into, one where they can feel truly comfortable – there is really nothing better. It shows in their faces and in their body language and ultimately, in their photos.

What did you do after high school?I attended the Flowers Canada program at the University of Guelph. I also attended numerous photography workshops and clinics across North America. I entered the workforce where I worked as a Florist for 10 years.

What are you doing now? I am the sole Owner and Operation of Open Shutter Photography by Rebecca Kalp

Why live in Chatham-Kent? Chatham-Kent is a great place to raise my 3 children. There are so many activities for them to learn and grow by participating in. Our kids take part in everything from hockey and baseball to horseback riding and voice lessons. I am so happy that we are able to provide them with opportunities that we may not have been able to if we didn’t live in Chatham-Kent!

 

Rebecca Prince

Rebecca PrinceWhere did you grow up? North Buxton, ON

What was your first job? Unofficially: hoeing and picking up rocks in my Dad’s fields
Officially: Arby’s Restaurant

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Playing on local ball diamonds every summer. Off the field, there is nothing better than spending time around my parent’s kitchen table with family and friends.

What is your favourite season? Fall because we’re always busy in the fields taking off crops and the scenery is beautiful to look at. There’s something about working land, listening to the radio and watching the sunset that brings a smile to my face.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. My first job in mental health as a Case Manger with the Canadian Mental Health Association. This experience has made me passionate for working in the field of Mental Health and is a truly rewarding experience every single day.

What did you do after high school? I enrolled at St. Clair College in Windsor and graduated with an Early Childhood Education diploma. Upon graduation from College, I went to the University of Windsor and earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree. During my educational endeavours, I often came back to Chatham-Kent to fulfill placements and co-op’s necessary for graduation. So many great, local organizations welcomed me with open arms and that really cemented the notion that Chatham-Kent was the community I wanted to work in after graduation.

What are you doing now? I am the Clinical Coordinator for Access Open Minds CK. I absolutely love this position and I am so thankful that I was able to find meaningful and fufilling employment, directly in my field, without having to leave C-K!

Why live in Chatham-Kent?  Why leave Chatham-Kent? I was born and raised here; my roots, family and friends are all from here. This is home and there’s no better feeling than to feel at home.

 

Steven Peach

Steven PeachWhere did you grow up? I am proud to say that I was born and raised in Chatham.

What was your first job? Like most people that grew up in Chatham-Kent, my first job was corn-detasseling. I also started cutting lawns in my neighbourhood.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My favourite Chatham-Kent pastime is golfing with friends and family. Going for walks near the lakes with my wife and dog is something I enjoy doing as well.

What is your favourite season? It has to be a tie between spring, summer, and fall! Any time of the year I can go out and enjoy our beautiful county and warm weather is a great time of the year.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. Naming a single experience that has motivated me is difficult. Every time I meet someone new in the community motivates me. Being a physiotherapist and owning a multi-disciplinary clinic, meeting new people in Chatham-Kent and learning how my team and I can better the health and wellness of the community is exciting and great motivation.

What did you do after high school? After completing high school at Ursuline College, I completed my Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree at the University of Windsor. Afterwards, I attended the University of Western Ontario to obtain my Masters of Physical Therapy degree.

What are you doing now? Currently, I am a physiotherapist and the owner of Peach Physiotherapy & Wellness Centre in Chatham. As a physiotherapist, I have continued to further my education in manual therapies, concussion management, acupuncture, radial shockwave therapy, myofascial release techniques, and therapeutic exercise prescription.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? Chatham-Kent is a great place to live because of its great people, it is a great place to raise a family, our proximity to beautiful lakes and beaches, and its untapped potential. Chatham-Kent has a bright future and it is exciting to be a part of it!

 

William Bishop

Steven PeachWhere did you grow up? Chatham, ON

What was your first job? Corn Detasselling

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Heading out to our family cottage in Rondeau Provincial Park. I really enjoyed the different activities growing up and exploring what Rondeau had to offer.

What is your favourite season? It would have to be summer, although I enjoy all of the seasons, who can complain about a hot sunny day in July or August - From summer BBQ’s to biking to playing outdoor sports, I love to keep busy.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you. Growing up playing travel hockey really motivated me to compete and push myself everyday. That is what I try to translate into my career and lifestyle, do not ever be complacent always strive for more.

What did you do after high school? ? I completed my Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. I was roommates with 4 very close friends, two of which are now back living and working in Chatham, and one is working with me at Collins Barrow. I wrote my final accounting exam 2013 (UFE) and obtained my CPA, CA designation in July 2015.

What are you doing now? I am a Senior Accountant at Collins Barrow here in Chatham. My work primarily consists of auditing large to mid-size companies along with providing tax and consulting services to businesses, professionals and individuals. During the last year I have been transitioning to a more tax focused role within Collins Barrow. I am currently completing my 2nd year of the CPA In-Depth Tax Course (2017).

Why live in Chatham-Kent? It has given me an opportunity to start a career that has big city appeal in a small community where I grew up. I also enjoy being close to Toronto and Detroit in order to visit or travel out of. Chatham-Kent gives us the best of both worlds as we are close to large metropolitan centers, but live and work in a small community without the big city headaches.

 

 

Steve Pratt

Steve Pratt Where did you grow up? Wallaceburg - born and raised!

What was your first job? Corn detasseling, of course!

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Going on walks with friends and family and I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised to find some hidden treasures here in CK on some of the nature trails.

What is your favourite season? Autumn - mostly because of the cooler weather, but I also absolutely love to take vacation around this time of year to road trip and catch all of the stunning fall colours.

Name an experience that has positively motivated youConnecting with United Way Chatham-Kent. I thought I knew my community well until I teamed up with United Way and really had my eyes opened to all that's happening in our community - both the good and the challenges. It has motivated me to want to contribute more and help people to rally around together and support one another as we work to build a better community for us all to work, live and play in. My trip back to CK wasn't all roses and United Way played a big part in helping myself and my family through a very difficult time - and for that, I will be forever grateful. You can learn a little more about what I mean by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC4qaMKpgHw.

What did you do after high school?Moved to Toronto and became a professional student for a few years where I attended the University of Toronto to study life sciences and then York University to study business administration. I later went on to work with a Fortune 50 company where I quickly climbed the corporate ladder and became one of the youngest operations executives in the history of the company. After 14 years in Toronto, I returned home to Chatham-Kent to be closer to my friends and family.

What are you doing now? Working in the non-profit sector at AIDS Support Chatham-Kent where I work alongside some of Chatham-Kent's most marginalized and vulnerable families to help build a better tomorrow. In addition, I am also currently leading this year's United Way fundraising campaign for Chatham-Kent.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? To be close with friends and family.

 

 

Christine Fairbairn

Christine Fairbairn Where did you grow up? Chatham-Kent, born and raised!

What was your first job? Like most kids in Chatham-Kent, my first job was corn detasselling. After three summers working for Mr. Allin's crew, I got a job at McDonald's and worked there through High School and College.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I love going for walks especially at Mud Creek or C.M. Wilson Conservation Area. I also enjoy taking my dog to the off leash dog park (John Waddell Dog Park). I like to take advantage of the new health complex at St. Clair College for a quick game of pick-up basketball and play co-ed slo-pitch in the summer.

What is your favourite season? The fall is absolutely my favourite season. I love the colours and Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching which means family gatherings, turkey dinners and egg nog!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.After doing extensive volunteer work in Calgary and going on a dental mission trip to Ethiopia, I recognize the need right here at home and am motivated to help those in need in our community. This is why I've started the "Give Where You Live" initiative and will be hosting my first, of many, FREE dental hygiene days next month. My first "Give Where You Live" clinic will dedicated to the women and children at the Chatham Kent Women's Centre.

What did you do after high school?I completed the Dental Hygiene program at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario. I earned the golden scalar award which is awarded to the dental hygiene graduate that has demonstrated exceptional clinical skills during the course of the program. The entire teaching and clinical staff choose one graduate to receive the award and I was honoured to have been chosen for the class of 2006.

What are you doing now? I operate Bright Smiles Community Dental Hygiene in downtown Chatham. It's the first clinic of it's type in Chatham-Kent, and I'm hoping to increase access to care and make dental hygiene services more affordable for our community.

Why live in Chatham-Kent? Both my husband and I are from Chatham. We moved out west for several years to establish our careers and experience something new, but we always knew we would come back. Our families are here, and we got tired of missing birthdays and holidays with them. It's great to be baCK!

 

Simon Vanderlinden

Simon Vanderlinden Where did you grow up? Chatham, Ontario, and Sevierville, Tennessee

What was your first job? Corn detasseling

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I play men's league soccer throughout the year and pick up basketball whenever I can.

What is your favourite season? The fifth season, (aka hockey season). But actually summer because I hate the cold.

Name an experience that has positively motivated youWatching my Opa's strong work ethic inspired me to work as hard as he did, to meet my goals.

What did you do after high school?I attended Western University for a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry

What are you doing now? I work for Greenfield Specialty Alcohols as a Laboratory Technician

Why live in Chatham-Kent? I chose Chatham-Kent because I have family here and the lifestyle in Chatham allows me to spend more time with them. Since there isn't any traffic, and I'm able to work in town, I get to spend a lot of my free time with the people in my life.

 

Adam Ludolph

Adam Ludolph Where did you grow up? Chatham, Ontario

What was your first job? Corn Detasseling

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Hockey at some of our old barns. Great memories.

What is your favourite season? Fall would have to be my favorite season, from Thanksgiving, to Halloween, to the trees turning color. It is a thing of beauty. Also, because summer is too warm for a suit. P.s. I like suits.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.I have been extremely fortunate for where I am today. Many of the experiences that have positively motivated me have actually been some of my many failures. Sometimes it is hard in a small town to go out and be bold and risk failure. All of these experiences, as painful as some of these might have been, have really helped me become who I am.

What did you do after high school?After high school, I went to the University of Windsor and took Kinesiology. My dream since I was a kid was to be a chiropractor. However, when I went to school, I found running businesses more fun than the prospect of being a chiro. I started my first company in 2009, Dangle Hockey. We did business in 5 countries and learned A LOT about the business world, and this all started from an idea of a t-shirt I wanted to make. After that, I joined College Pro Window Cleaning and learned how to become a manager and run a franchise. That prompted Investors Group to offer me a full time job before I had finished University. After much debate, I decided to not only accept the job but also to finish my degree that same year. It went great, I ended up in the top 7% of first years at Investors Group as a 21 year old. I built upon these experiences until The Co-operators came to me offering me a job to run their Chatham Agency and work at taking over ownership of the Chatham Branch.

What are you doing now? I am a Financial Advisor and help lead our team here at the Co-operators. I hope to take over ownership of the Chatham Agency in the next couple years. Financial Planning has become a real passion of mine. Every time I sit down with a client and get to go through all the things about money that we should have been taught in high school is extremely fulfilling. We change people’s lives by providing clarity and confidence in their finances as well as lower the stress and risk of something bad happening through insurance. I could not have hoped for a better career.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?It is funny, as a kid you grow up wanting to leave Chatham. I actually don’t think it has anything to do with Chatham at all. I think that is natural for people who grow up in a small town because the grass looks greener in busy city. However, when you go to settle down and raise a family, there is nothing better than having a small community of people who care. Chatham is an incredible place to raise a family and I hope to do just that. Not to mention we have some of the cheapest housing you will find in Canada.

 

Jamie Richards

Jamie Richards Where did you grow up? Blenheim, ON

What was your first job? In grade 4, I started my first paper route with The Chatham Daily News

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Playing Chatham-Kent’s local golf courses.

What is your favourite season? I love Fall. It's a beautiful time of year in CK. Living on Lake Erie we are able to enjoy the waves, the turning trees and the great temperatures both day and night.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.One of my first experiences as a Doctor of Chiropractic was in Costa Rica where I traveled to take over an existing practice. Shortly after arriving I was robbed and lost my passport, money and most of my clothes. I had to make a decision to pack it in and come home or to stick it out and find a way to make it work. Staying for another 5 months and addressing the challenges that faced me living abroad showed me I could survive in the face of difficult circumstances and more so, the lessons I learned during that time have been central to my current success as a doctor, entrepreneur, husband and father.

What did you do after high school?I attended McMaster University and attained my Bachelor of Kinesiology Degree while also playing four seasons of varsity football for the Marauders. Afterwards I completed a four year doctorate degree at The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto.

What are you doing now? Currently I am clinic director at The Life By Design Centre in Blenheim, ON and CEO of Life By Design Inc. I spend most of my time interacting with patients and athletes at the centre, coaching our business clients worldwide or with my wife and family enjoying our life together.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?As Life By Design inc. grew to more than 25 locations worldwide my dream for a corporate head office started to emerge and CK made sense. The marketplace was in need a world class health centre that focused on proactive living and a healthy lifestyle. Opening The Life By Design Centre in the same town I spent my early years and raising my family in CK was the perfect fit.

 

Peter Fantuz

Pete Fantuz Where did you grow up? Chatham

What was your first job? Corn De-tassler. Not even sure how to spell that.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Playing hockey

What is your favourite season? Summer. I love to get out to the cottage and spend time on the lake.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.Playing sports growing up helped shape the team player that I am and I think gave me many of the tools to be successful in many areas outside of sports.

What did you do after high school?Went to the University of Western Ontario to get my Engineering degree.

What are you doing now? I am the Chief Operating Officer for Intellitix Technologies Inc. I oversee all operations and administration in the global company.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?Chatham-Kent is a friendly community that treats everyone like family.

 

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith Where did you grow up? Just a few doors down from Tecumseh Park in Chatham

What was your first job? My first "real" job was working as a Dishwasher at St. Andrew's Residence. I'll never forget the day I started, it was the same day I registered for Grade 9!

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? My favourite pastime in C-K is definitely getting outside - walking the dogs, going for a ride on our bikes, visiting a family cottage or just enjoying an afternoon in the backyard.

What is your favourite season? Summer is definitely my favourite season - I love the sunshine!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.A recent experience that has positively motivated me would definitely have to be the birth of our son Boone in 2015. Life changes in the blink of an eye and becoming a parent forced me to slow down, step back and evaluate how I spend my time and energy - at home and at work.

What did you do after high school? After high school I moved to Hamilton, Ontario to attend McMaster University where I studied Social Work and Gerontology.

What are you doing now? I've been married to my husband Greg for 4 years and we are raising our 1 1/2 year old son in the same house that I grew up in, which is very special to me. I am currently working as the Executive Director at St. Andrew's Residence and Chatham-Kent Hospice. I am so lucky to work with an amazing group of volunteers and staff, residents and families through both organizations and I truly feel like I have the best job in the world!

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?I chose to return to Chatham-Kent because it was important to me to be near family, I had volunteer and work opportunities that I enjoyed and it is affordable. I know that's more than one reason but really all of those aspects played into my decision.

 

Scott Currie

Scott Currie Where did you grow up? Chatham

What was your first job? Corn Detasseling, of course.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Looking back at all of the life lessons learned from growing up playing sports in the community. It's incredible how much was taught about discipline, perserverance, overcoming adversity, etc on the frozen football fields, pick up baseball lots and concrete basketball courts.

What is your favourite season, and why? Autumn. I can’t believe we get a season that combines baseball playoffs, college football and apple pie with beautiful weather and scenery

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.Playing high school basketball under legendary coach, Dan Lewis. Little did we realize it at the time, Mr. Lewis was molding us into successful, responsible, community oriented young men all the while disguising it as coaching basketball. We were also fortunate to play on some of the best teams in the entire country. Great example of an incredible experience that perhaps wouldnt have happened outside of C-K!

What did you do after high school?Obtained a Business-Marketing Advanced Diploma from St Clair College in Windsor. Before pursuing multiple investment licenses and starting my career in the banking industry, I worked in sales in the front office of a professional football team.

What are you doing now? As a Mobile Investment Consultant covering Chatham, Sarnia and the surrounding areas, I am dedicated to learn about your economic and life situations and provide personalized planning and investment recommendations. I want you to feel confident in the financial decisions you make. Wealth and retirement planning should be a healing modality that reduces, not adds stress.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?I had the opportunity to apply my investment expertise in several other larger markets. I chose to come home because I want to be a major part of the change I want to see in my community. The importance of investing and planning is vital. Investing solutions can seem overwhelming. I am here to provide holistic, tailored advice in a friendly, personable way that makes it easy and exciting for all.

 

Jason Church

Jason Church Where did you grow up? I grew up in Chatham, I have lived here ever since.

What was your first job? My first job was installing pools and doing concrete decks at creative pools and tanning (now closed). This is where I obtained most of my knowledge for concrete and my constructive work ethics.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? I would have to say that my favourite Chatham-Kent past time would be to play hockey and skate at the local arenas as well as being a part in local Chatham-Kent hockey. Chatham has a lot to offer when it comes to the many arenas that we have, both for free skates for the community, as well as events both thrown in the summer and winter months.

What is your favourite season, and why? The winter months are my favourite time of the year, mainly because that's my companies’ slow time, it gives me time to relax, regroup and enjoy family and friends a bit more.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.An experience that has positively motivated me would have to be the birth of my daughter Jaley. Having her gave me a strong new outlook on life and made me the person I am today. Having Jaley not only gave me an extra push to be better and better every day but has pushed me harder and harder on keeping me more focused on my goals, now more than ever!

What did you do after high school?I worked at a local company here in Chatham called Henry Heyink Construction right out of high school. I did a co-op program while in high school with this company and they offered me employment once I was finished my post secondary. My intentions were to gain more knowledge of heavy construction as well as heavy equipment experience that I could further use down the road with owning my own construction company.

What are you doing now? I am in my second year of business as owner of JTC Construction. Looking to have a strong third year with room for growth!

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”?Chatham-Kent has always been my home, it’s where I feel most comfortable with the friends and family that I am surrounded by. Chatham-Kent is an ample place for business for the great networking with local companies and opportunities that are provided within the community.

 

Brittany Zimmer

Brittany Zimmer Where did you grow up? Chatham, ON

What was your first job? Customer Service, Future Shop

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Bringing my dog Duke to Rondeau to swim in the Summer!

What is your favourite season? Summer, I love being outside and I am more active!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.I got my first internship in my second year of university at the Municipality of CK. My manager told me that I would make a great Chartered Accountant. I had never heard of the designation but he motivated me to start researching it. That was a turning point in both my academic and professional career. After transferring to a school that offered a program for CA students, I wrote and passed my CA examinations and I am now only a few months away from earning my designation!

What did you do after high school?I attended the University of Western Ontario

What are you doing now? I am an O&M Analyst at Union Gas in the IT Department

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”? It is hard to only pick one! I would have to say the proximity to larger cities (London, Toronto, Windsor, Detroit) while also being able to enjoy a small-town lifestyle.

 

Cody Evers

Cody Evers Where did you grow up? Chatham, Ontario

What was your first job? Corn Detassling

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Boating/being a volunteer fire fighter

What is your favourite season? I enjoy all of them

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.Working for/with my family, and growing up in a family of entrepreneurs (family owned backdraft video and now countertops unlimited II)

What did you do after high school?Went to Niagara college on a volleyball scholarship and graduated with a paramedic diploma

What are you doing now? Owner/ Operator of Countertop Unlimited II Volunteer firefighter with North Raleigh Station 15

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”? Was where I grew up, and was where my family was

 

Shawn Segeren

Shawn Segeren Where did you grow up? I grew up on a cash-crop farm between Chatham and Tilbury.

What was your first job? Like many other Chatham-grown citizens, my first job was corn detasseling. This was followed by a job at Chatham Sobeys for seven years!

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Taking a drive or a jog down a Chatham-Kent country road just before sunset. This has always been one of my favorite things to do to unwind and relax, particularly after a hard day’s work. There’s something about the country air, sounds of nature, and gorgeous views of open fields around this community that make the experience special. Living full time in larger cities for the past nine years has given me an even greater appreciation for this, and I am happy to enjoy this pastime once again.

What is your favourite season, and why?My favorite season is Fall, and for so many reasons. In CK there’s a fantastic opportunity to watch acres upon acres of crops turn to a gorgeous golden brown, and watch them get harvested later in the season. The weather is also perfect--not too hot, not too cold. I also associate this season with going back to school—a time I greatly enjoyed as kid, as I loved to learn, and it was a great way to catch up with friends after the summer. It’s also the time for Red Feather, and as a previous United Way High School Ambassador, I was very involved in this fun and altruistic event. Finally, it is the season I met and recently married my incredible wife, Jeanette.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.My time volunteering at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance for 10 years, starting at the age of 13, was extremely inspiring. It allowed me to discover my passion for medicine, help someone in a simple, yet meaningful way, develop connections with many individuals throughout the community, and be part of something bigger than myself. It is a large reason why I am a physician in this community today.

What did you do after high school?After I completed high school in 2007, I graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Degree from McMaster University in 2011. Following this, I attained a Doctor of Medicine Degree from The University of Western Ontario in 2016, and began my Family Medicine Residency in Chatham-Kent shortly after.

What are you doing now? I am currently a Doctor completing my Family Medicine Residency through UWO’s Chatham Kent Program.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”? It’s tough to name just one reason why I call this great place “home”—but I can give you two! The majority of my family still resides in Chatham, and it’s great to have the opportunity to spend more time with them. As well, Chatham is a small town, yet has lots of activities to offer without the hustle-bustle of a large city. I truly did make the right choice by coming back to CK!

 

Jacob Simpson

Jacob Simpson Where did you grow up? Chatham, ON

What was your first job? Soccer Referee for the Timbits Soccer League / Corn detasseling

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? Chatham has a lot to offer when trying to stay active! During the summer you will find me on the golf course and through the winter months I will be on a volleyball court 2-3x per week.

What is your favourite season, and why?My favourite season would have to be Summer. Whether its golfing, swimming, playing tennis or simply going for a walk, Chatham-Kent has so much to offer during the warm summer days.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.The most motivational experience for me was the first couple months I started to see clients at my newly established clinic. Following my clients through their treatment plan and seeing extremely positive outcomes is what makes coming to the office each day exciting.

What did you do after high school?After attending CKSS, I went off to Western and completed my Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology. Upon completion, I continued at Western for a year and a half to complete my diploma in Pedorthics along with my practical placement with SoleScience, at the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic.

What are you doing now? I am the Owner and Pedorthist at Simpson Orthotics & Kinetics, here in Chatham, located within Little Chiropractic. I have been here for just over a year now, and have loved every minute of it! My practice specializes in assessment and fabrication of Custom Foot Orthotics. In my clinic I have treated many individuals, each with different goals. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, weekend warrior or want to just get back to activity, we can help. Each pair of Orthotics are different and specific to each individual case, for that reason, I spend atleast 30 minutes on initial assessment. We go through gait analysis, weight bearing testing and non-weight bearing testing in order to obtain detailed information to develop the optimal orthotic for your specific needs.
Book with us now if you’re ready to build a healthier body from the ground up!

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”? For me, there are really two reasons I came back. First, my wife and I were both born and raised in Chatham, and we always wanted to start our family in the town we grew up in. Second, from a business perspective, coming back to Chatham made sense. The connections I had made over the years made it a simple decision for me! Chatham-Kent continues to grow and make a name for itself in South-Western Ontario. I look forward to being a part of this great town for years to come.

 

Christine Muharrem

Christine Muharrem Where did you grow up? I grew up in Chatham, born and raised. My parents both moved here from London, England a few years before having me because they wanted a better place to raise a family and needless to say it was probably one of the best decisions they've ever made.

What was your first job? My very first job was when I was 8 years old delivering papers to several homes on the streets surrounding my house. My father worked at the paper at the time so he pretty much set it up for me and would go around with me and help deliver them. I remember being so small that at some of the houses I couldn't get the paper in the mailbox because it was too high up so my Dad would have to lift me up to it so I could put the paper in.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? That's a tough one .. I'd say I have a different favourite Chatham-Kent pastime depending on the season. In the summer I love heading out to Erieau for a day of fun and sun and some drinks on the patio at Bayside Brewery with friends. In the fall I really like to go for walks in Rondeau and watch the leaves change colours. I take a lot of pictures for fun and all the fall colours make for some beautiful shots so I could just spend all day out there wandering through the bush or walking along the water. In the winter I do what any good Canadian does and strap on a pair of skates and find a pond to play around on. Admittedly I am no hockey player, but I still like to just skate around and have fun. Another winter pastime would have to be heading to Kingston Park and sledding down the hill and making forts in the snow. In the spring ... all I do is look forward to the festival of giving lol.

What is your favourite season, and why?Each season has something different to offer so it's hard to narrow it down to just one. I think either spring or fall would have to be my most favourite because they both give me the feeling of a new beginning. I love in the early spring when it starts to become warm enough to keep your windows open and you can hear all the noises of people outside enjoying the weather and kids playing after being cooped up all winter. I love that you can smell different foods in the air as people are breaking out their barbeques or the smell of a campfire as people sit around it with friends in their backyard. Just the feeling you get of waking up in the morning and the sun is starting to come up a little earlier and set a little later and the general change in attitude everyone seems to have because we all know the good weather is only around the corner. In turn, I love fall for very similar reasons. I love the changing colours of the leaves and the beautiful perfume they seem to leave behind. I love wearing comfy sweaters and cuddling up at home with some hot tea and reading a book and participating in all the fall festivities like pumpkin picking and the corn maze!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.An experience that has positively motivated me was the mentality towards money that my parents instilled in me from a very young age. They would always tell me how much things would cost and were very open about where money comes from and how it can help and hinder you. They taught me it was a necessity in life but not the "be all end all". They would tell me stories of people who saved every dime they could in belief that they'd retire rich and would live their lives then, only to not live long enough or to not be healthy enough to use that money when the time came. They also told me stories of people who never saved at all and would spend everything they had only to end up in debt and be constantly stressing about how to make ends meet. They taught me everything in moderation is the key to a happy life. Make sure you pay your bills, save a little for later in life and for big purchases you want to make and whatever's left over use that for what you want and don't feel guilty about it. As I mentioned earlier I had my first job at 8 years old delivering papers. My parents had me take any money I made and split it in half. I would put half away in to savings to pay for my education later in life and then the other half was mine to do what I want with. I continued doing this as I got older with every paycheck I got and it's the reason I was able to pay for my university education and graduate debt free. I still use this process now but this time the other half is being used to pay monthly bills lol.

What did you do after high school?After high school I moved to Toronto to attend school at York University's French Immersion Campus, Glendon College. I studied Psychology as my major and took many of my classes in French to fulfill my French requirement and receive my Certificate of Bilingual Excellence. It was a huge change for me moving from small town Chatham to big city Toronto, but it was a welcome change at the time and definitely opened a lot of doors for me and gave me a lot of experiences I would never have had in Chatham.

What are you doing now? I am now living back in Chatham and working at the Co-operators on St. Clair St. selling insurance. I live with my boyfriend Eric in a cute little house that we're renting and we just bought a car as well! He's also from Chatham-Kent, but he moved to Toronto so we could live together about two years ago. We loved our time in Toronto, but a job opportunity was presented to me that required us moving back to Chatham and after talking it through it really seemed like the best move for us at this time in our lives so we packed up our tiny little condo we were living in and moved on home.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”? Honestly, I never saw myself moving back to Chatham. I thought after I left for school I had "escaped" and there was no going back. But, now after having moved back and getting involved in the community I really can't think of a better place to be. The number 1 reason though? Can't really say there is just one reason. There's concrete answers like the cost of living is substantially cheaper here compared to Toronto, this is a better place in our eyes to raise to a family later on, and both of our families are here which is amazing. But then there's the reasons that you don't really appreciate until you've been gone for awhile. Like, being able to get from one end of town to the other in less than 15 minutes, or being able to see beautiful sunsets from pretty much anywhere in town because there aren't massive buildings blocking your view. Just the community feel that there is here and that if you're ever in need there will always be someone willing to help. I truly love Chatham there are so many great things about living here and I am more than happy to be home.

 

Eric Van De Veire

Eric Van De VeireWhere did you grow up? Born in and resided in Wallaceburg Ontario until age 12. Moved to Chatham to complete grade 8 and high school. Starting at a new school and having to make a new group of friends was a daunting obstacle at that age. To make things even more difficult, all the numerous sports that I was enrolled in had to switch to Chatham as well. While this was another difficult stumbling block, looking back I think that this was my greatest advantage. Being part of the Chatham flag football league, Chatham Kent cougars football and Chatham-Kent minor hockey and ball hockey in the summer helped me to make connections in the community prior to completing my last year of elementary school. This aided in my assimilation into high school by already having friends and peers to look to at CKSS. This also encouraged me to join high school sports, further widening my social circle. All the while still having a major passion for the game of lacrosse. Which I grew up playing and continued to play in Wallaceburg, maintaining my social relationships in my home town as well. In retrospect, if the move had to be made, it was made at the right time. Even if it took a longer then ideal time to realize it. This allowed me to think of Chatham not as a strange new set of barriers, but as a new home.

What was your first job? Working for my father at his self built family business Van De Veire Recycling. This was another blessing in disguise in ways I wouldn't realize until much later in life. My father worked for himself and by himself almost all his life. While he was fair and understanding he was also a very hard worker. This is something he instilled in me sort of indirectly. It was never stated what his expectations were but rather a "learn by example" type of environment. He would not directly tell me I was slacking by comparison, rather gently assure me to work safe and then proceed to show me the expectations he had for himself. This in turn showed me the ideal of doing something is only really worth doing if it is done to 100 percent of your ability and that anything less then is a waste of a gift. I like to think the lessons I learned back then, that maybe didn't sink in as quickly as they should have, prepared me for the future. A silent lesson of sorts, that when finally coming to light, hits home in a more meaningful way. He always said a life worth living involves hard work and family. An ideal that rings true to me more and more with every passing year.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? It is hard to pin point a single worth while pastime available to local Chathamites. Being centralized around so many outlying attractions makes it an easy place to live and enjoy yourself. It remains difficult to settle on what I enjoy most depending on the time of year. In the summer months, whether its going for a trip to Erieau beach for a day in the sun, or spending a weekend off grid in the nature filled sites of Rondeau to testing your patience on one of the several excellent golf courses surrounding Chatham Kent (one of my personal favorites). There are many group activities that draw a lot of attention as well. If you have never been out to Chatham Kent's own corn maze I highly recommend it. Something as easy as taking a drive out to Parks Blueberries to pick a pint of the best fruit around... all while maybe eating a few along the way. In the middle of winter, if there is a winter at all, Chatham is loaded with what seems to be a never ending amount of secret frozen ponds or rivers if a family skate on the ice interests you. If the outdoors frightens you more then you care to admit all 3 of Chatham's local arenas have open skates all winter long. If we are lucky enough get snow and you're looking for a "put the kids to bed" activity Kingston hill has an adequate tobogganing terrain that has given me many memories over the years. On the other hand, if some solitude is more your cup of tea, I recommend (only to the brave) testing your luck with a rod and reel either on the ice out at Mitchell's Bay or in the summer at one of the hundreds of secret or not so secret fishing spots scattered around Chatham Kent. Even if you're looking for something a tad more simple on a lazy Sunday or Monday or Tuesday etc. Chatham has some of the best variety of local restaurants all that seem to still believe in giving you a good hearty meal for a fair price. While i don't know if this could be classified as a pastime, it is one of my all time favorite things to do. Whether its famous slice of pizza from the original 241 pizza for a mid day snack or that worry free comfort food style fish and chips from the Grand Castle Cafe. Even if your looking to jazz it up for a night on the town, Rozzini's Italian restaurant is an excellent place to start and finishing a Frendz for a tall glass of whatever suits your fancy. No matter what your vice. This is the place to be.

What is your favourite season, and why? With so many things to do, rain or shine, snow or sun. I could not justify favouring one over the other. Find your fix and the possibilities are endless.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.As much as it may seem counter relative to this article, the one experience that positively motivated me was actually moving away from the Chatham-Kent area. Around the start of 2015 I had this sensation of stagnation. I had started work directly out of high school and there I was 4 years later looking around at the place I worked and the people I worked with and saw that nothing had changed and that the prospect of change was not as much in my favour as I would have liked it to be. After some serious deliberation with some very important people in my life, I packed my bags and headed for Toronto. My girlfriend was enrolled in school at the time at Glendon College, the French campus of York University. You could say she had a "minor" impact in the decision to move up there with her. Nevertheless, I found myself making the trip east with only a place to live and no job leads or prospects, just a underlying sensation that if I didn't make a change soon I would miss the window to do so. I had only brought a bag full of clothes and some other minor conveniences I owned because I was unsure if this drastic life change was going to stick or if it was only a sad attempt and I'd end up back where I started. Little did I know going back was never going to be an option, at least not in the foreseeable future. So, I hit the pavement for the next month or so looking for anyone who would give me a chance to make the changes I was trying to make. On April 1 st of that year, after making many trips to and from Toronto, I landed my first gig in the big city. This was a beginning of sorts and in the following weeks I made 2 more trips down the 401 to finalize the move that I was later told was "happening no matter what". This was the catalyst in a series of opportunities that set in motion the life I never knew I could have. After progressing from one job to the next gaining more life experiences and maturity, my future was being solidified despite where I was or what I was doing. I have my family and friends, but most of all my girlfriend to thank for the love and support I received while entertaining this venture. After almost two years of living in Toronto and finally getting settled and comfortable with the big city life style, our thoughts migrated to settling down or at least beginning the process. This provoked ideas of where would be the ideal place to do so. While I had now assimilated into a big city life and mentality I knew deep down that I was a small town kind of guy and That if I was blessed enough to raise a family I would want to do it in a way that I was raised. In a smaller town where my family is and people are genuine. This was a consensus between me and my partner and was the seed in the decision we made to move back to the town we grew up in. This entire experience and the depth and growth I acquired not only positively motivated me, but secured my future.

What did you do after high school?(refer to previous paragraph)

What are you doing now? I am currently working as a Sales Associate at Van Kesteren Hyundai. This only adds to the depth of my experience because of the over whelming reputation of this establishment. Van Kesteren's has the highest regard for customer service and maintaining a family oriented style of business. This really spoke to me coming from a large family and an ideal that family is above all. This left me with an overwhelming draw to this place of business. Before even walking through the door I had learned about how top notch this company is in regards to their customers. I've found that it is a common belief that every customer that enters our store is family and should be treated as such. In a world where business and businesses are surrounded by the greed of money, it is a breath of fresh air and an honour to work for a company that is still doing it the right way.



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Last updated:
Friday, September 29, 2017
Ontario Immigration
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