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City of Airdrie hopes to climb to new heights under new CAO

Mountain Everest climber and municipal government veteran Horacio Galanti is the City of Airdrie's new CAO.

The City of Airdrie has revealed its new chief administrative officer (CAO), whose responsibilities will include overseeing the day-to-day operations of the municipality, managing administration and civic employees, and reporting chiefly to City council.

Horacio Galanti brings to the City more than 20 years of municipal government management experience, having previously served as city manager at the City of Grande Prairie. His contract with the City of Airdrie is effective as of Aug. 29.

He is also an accomplished mountaineer and has led multiple expeditions up the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, the north and south poles, as well as Mount Everest.

According to the City’s press release, Galanti is poised to help the municipality climb to new heights as well.

“His role will ensure that the organization effectively provides services to the community, plans for growth, and delivers on council’s key focus areas,” read a City press statement. “His senior leadership background also includes extensive experience across a wide variety of local government departments.”

Galanti is experienced in leading municipal departments such as engineering, planning, infrastructure, transportation, public works, community safety, social services, economic developments, and sustainability, according to the municipality.

The latest CAO appointment follows the retirement of Paul Schulz, who served the City for 36 years and held the position of city manager for 12 years. Schulz retired from the role earlier this year.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Galanti to Airdrie,” said Mayor Peter Brown in the City’s press release. “Our council interviewed a number of high-quality candidates, and we are confident in Horacio’s abilities and experience.

“He is a well-respected leader with a demonstrated commitment to efficiency, revenue diversification, sustainability, and building strong organizational culture.”

Galanti, who is by profession a civil engineer with licenses in B.C., Alberta, and Cordoba, Argentina, also serves on the board of directors of Governance Professionals of Canada, Alberta Data Partnerships, and the APEX Supplementary Pension Plan.

“I spent many years [of my career] working on the infrastructure side, then I evolved into management and administration... [spending most] of my career in municipal government,” Galanti said of his experience.

Originally from Argentina, the CAO spent 10 years working in South America (first Argentina, then Brazil), before moving to Canada. Since coming to Canada, he’s lived and worked in Vancouver, Fort St. John, and most recently Grand Prairie, where he worked for the last nine years.

“And then I decided to come further south when the previous city manager announced his retirement,” Galanti said. “I really started looking into moving to the Calgary region – it's a fantastic place here.”

He added Airdrie is a fast-growing community with lots of opportunities, and its proximity to the Rockies attracted the mountain-climbing aficionado.

“I’ve been climbing quite a bit during my life, so being close to Kananaskis, and Banff, and Canmore – it's another attraction for me to be out here,” he said.

Galanti added he also feels his experience aligns with council’s visions in terms of its strategic plan, which includes growth in transportation, leisure, environmental protection, and advocacy.

“I thought this is a great opportunity and applied for the job and went through the recruitment process, and well, finally I'm here and so very, very happy to be in Airdrie,” he said.

According to Galanti, the City of Airdrie is a growing organization, and is very dynamic. He said he will be spending the first few months in the position getting to know the community and the municipality.

“I’m being briefed about the priorities and the challenges and what is coming,” he said. “We’re facing budget time in a couple of months, so that would be one of my top priorities.

“It will be time to connect with the community, City administration, directors, and city staff, and build a relationship with the community and work together with the City council to implement the vision and the strategic plan.”

He said already in his first week, he has felt at home with the organization.

“The people so far are fantastic here in terms of a very warm welcome to the city and to the organization,” he said. “I feel really at home, although I just moved here a couple of weeks ago.”

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