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Kurt Hanson

Title: General Manager, Community Services

Areas of focus: As General Manager of Community Services Kurt oversees seven areas, including Calgary Community Standards, Calgary Parks, Calgary Recreation, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Neighbourhoods, and Calgary Housing. These functions comprise a team of nearly 3,600 full-time employees.

Community Services is a people department and the heart of its work is community. The team provides a wide and diverse variety of services and programs for Calgarians from public safety to play. Community Services employees answer and respond to 9-1-1 calls in the face of all emergencies, maintain the parks and playgrounds we all enjoy, provide affordable housing for those in need, offer recreation programs to keep Calgarians healthy and active, and much more.

Employees in Community Services work collaboratively with 14 Civic Partners and more than 600 non-profit agencies and community associations to fulfill their mission of creating and sustaining a vibrant, healthy, safe and caring community with Calgarians – all for about a dollar a day per citizen.

Career history: Kurt holds a Masters degree in Social Work with a specialization in Management and Administration along with and an undergraduate degree in Social Work. His professional development has been furthered with certifications in various psychosocial assessment tools, facilitation, management and leadership. Certificate programs have been achieved at the Ivy and Schulich Schools of Business and Management. 

Kurt’s passion for public service spans 33 years in a variety of progressively responsible roles with The City of Calgary and the Province of Alberta. As Director, Recreation for the past decade, he has championed the development of a suite of key policies and frameworks including Civic Arts Policy, Sport Policy and Ten Year Action Plan, Department Program Policy, Civic Partner policy framework, Festival and Events Policy and a Ten Year Recreation Master Plan. During a portion of 2013, he also served as A/General Manager of Community Services & Protective Services, which resulted in him providing leadership during the flood.

Kurt’s involvement in the development of the Affordable Housing and Homeless Strategy, including supporting the merger of the municipal and provincial affordable housing entities, gives him an innate understanding that will position him well in championing the delivery of Council’s affordable housing objectives.

Leadership philosophy: Great leadership is the ability to articulate a vision and most importantly, the ability to empower staff to own and deliver on this vision. It is not cliché that people are our best asset. As a leader it is both a privilege and a responsibility to engage people, to affirm their contributions and accountabilities and to create an environment where people can most effectively and collectively contribute towards the shared purpose of "making life better everyday" for Calgarians.