Rimoka Housing Foundation (RHF) has a new, yet familiar, face to fill their Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) position.
Lorne Fundytus, formerly the general manager of the Ponoka Golf Club, was the successful candidate through the selection process and started on May 26.
RHF Board Chair Bryce Liddle sat in on the final interview with Fundytus.
As Fundytus has worked with Rimoka before and was already familiar with their staff as well as senior housing needs and interviewed well, Liddle says Fundytus was a very strong candidate.
“Of the candidates who interviewed over the process, he seemed to be the right fit,” said Liddle.
Fundytus believes his background in running his own businesses for over 20 years as well as his experience in property management will be assets to the foundation.
He owned and operated both a chemical manufacturing business that made household and commercial cleansers, and a sales and service company that specialized in the sale and lease of commercial ware and glass-washing equipment to restaurants, hospitals and seniors’ lodges in central Alberta for 20-plus years.
His companies serviced seniors lodges and hospitals from Red Deer to Rocky Mountain House and Innisfail, to Stettler, Ponoka and Rimbey.
The CAO position with Rimoka is largely one of property management with the added human element as they’re serving some of the most vulnerable people in the population, says Fundytus.
“I’ve never been afraid to take on something that isn’t completely known to me,” he said.
“I’m a believer that business essentials transcend … for me, it’s all about people skills.”
Rimoka has two full time lodges, five senior apartments and 22 homes in Ponoka and Rimbey. RHF also provides financial support for those that need it who are renting from a private landlord.
Fundytus says he’s very proud to have joined an organization that provides subsidized housing for low-income individuals, adding that could be anyone from a single mother to someone living on disability income supports.
“We can help them get their life back together by getting them into housing.”
Fundytus says he’s always had an affinity for senior care and always felt drawn to the older people around him.
“To be honest, I feel as a society, we’re missing out on the variety of experience they could bring.”
At one point he’d looked into starting a home care business, but found it wasn’t feasible because he lacked a background in nursing and other larger companies were also looking in that direction.
“I’ve always thought of (senior care and housing) as something I’d like to be involved with … so I thought this hit the spot,” he said.
Fundytus says Rimoka is committed to making their homes joyful and pleasant places to be.
“I’ve always been so impressed with Rimoka and their team, and the culture .. there was always an activity going on and there was laughter,” he said.
That, he felt, was a great testament to how the organization operates and his impression of RHF has only been reaffirmed in the couple of weeks since he started as CAO.
Fundytus was also impressed with how well Rimoka has fared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protocols put in place, such as frequent sanitizing of high-touch areas, masking and physical distancing have largely been successful in preventing the spread of the virus in their facilities.
There have been no positive cases at the Golden Leisure Lodge, and no deaths at any Rimoka seniors lodge due to COVID-19.
Fundytus says while he does have a “wish list” of potential future projects and initiatives, for now he’s just getting up to speed and is currently heavily involved in several of Rimoka’s construction projects.
In future, he’ll be looking at some new ideas, or existing ideas not currently being utilized within Rimoka.
Fundytus has formed many strong connections in the community already, and with Rimoka’s head office being located in Ponoka, which is closer to his family, it’s an ideal situation all-around.
“I hope to be here until I retire,” he said.
“My office door is always open and I welcome calls from those interested in joining our community.”