Reflection time for Hrycan after 35 years at City Hall
Through the windows of his ground-flood office at City Hall, Len Hrycan has a daily view of one of his proudest accomplishments.
“You really do get to influence what the city ultimately looks like,” he said.
“Things like the downtown core and the fact that it’s a vibrant and incredibly attractive downtown core for municipalities of our size, you know you influenced all those things.”
But, after 35 years and three departments, the city’s director of community and corporate affairs is getting ready to hand the influence over to someone else. He’ll retire in less than a month, his last day set for Oct. 4.
“I think it was time,” he said. “You look at the kind of energy that you pour into things and after 35 years it was time to go and explore some things for myself.”
Hrycan said he plans to spend the next year relaxing with his wife, who also recently retired from her teaching position.
“I think we’re going to just enjoy not having to be anywhere in particular or having to make any specific decisions,” he said. “It’s a big world out there and there’s lots to experience.”
Though he’ll end his time with this city as the overseer of bylaws, fire services and the city side of Kamloops RCMP operations, community and corporate is Hrycan’s third department.
Originally hired as a design draftsman in the city’s engineering department in 1977, he also has spent more than a decade in city planning, and briefly headed up the development and engineering services section when the now-retired Randy Diehl moved up to CAO.
In 2004, he switched it up again, moving to his current role.
“It’s not very often you can have three sort of independent careers and yet stay with the same employer,” Hrycan said.
“I think what I brought over that transition is that well-rounded perspective of the organization and how all the pieces fit together.”
Despite its police and fire links, Hrycan said making the switch to his new role meant leaving behind the adrenaline rush, “the high-paced urgency component you typically get when you’re dealing with land development.”
And, when it comes to listing accomplishments, things from those planning and engineering years are the first to come up. Helping pioneer the mapping system that’s become “a cornerstone” for staff, shaping the city’s infrastructure and, yes, making downtown look nice.
More recently, he said he’s pleased with the progress the city’s made with its relationship with the RCMP, and the greater focus on crime reduction.
While Hrycan’s retirement may set off a shuffling or merging of top-level positions, he does have some advice for whoever succeeds him in the role.
“Be happy at work,” he said.
“It’s important. You go through your ups and downs, but you have to take solace in the fact that the people you work with are tremendous.
“The people that I’ve worked alongside with over the years are all soundly committed to making Kamloops a great community, and I think you can’t lose sight of that.”