As chief administrative officer (CAO) for the Town of Baie Verte, he is doing just that.
Peach comes well qualified for the newly created position.
Originally from Mount Pearl, he graduated from Memorial University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and is currently working on his master’s in the field.
His engineering co-op work terms included placements at Exxon Mobil Canada and Suncor Energy. He also completed a work term at the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) in Labrador and for the Australian Marine and Offshore Group (AMOG) Consulting in Houston, Texas.
Before moving to Baie Verte to take up his new job — which he started March 1 — Peach taught first-year engineering students at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (MUN).
Prior to earning his degree, he managed a fast food outlet for four years, giving him a background in business. His skills working for the owner-operator side of industry are transferable to working for municipal government, he says. Peach’s mother Michelle is CAO for the City of Mount Pearl, while his father Don is a retired (MUN) engineer.
A Mount Pearl youth ambassador, Peach is well known for his volunteer work in his home community. In September 2014, he volunteered as a labourer with Habitat for Humanity as they built a home for a family in the nearby community of Paradise. While obtaining his education, Peach earned numerous honours, awards and scholarships.
When asked about moving from the province’s second-largest city to a town in rural Newfoundland, Peach said the move has been an exciting one.
“We have a lot of infrastructure here in Baie Verte,” he said. “We are the service hub for the peninsula. It’s a lot more creative here how we handle all of our problems ... everybody out here is just trying to make a living and make things work.”
Peach has noticed that, in small rural community, people wear many different hats.
“The amount of stuff people are willing to get themselves involved with is great,” he said. “There are a lot of good people here trying to make the place better.”
Whether organizing public works projects or recreation activities, contributing to the town’s financial matters or engaging with the town’s volunteers and councillors, Peach plans on having his hands in many pies in an effort to build the community.
“I’m somebody who is interested in trying to figure out how everything works,” he said. “I like doing a lot of things to see how everything interweaves and works together.”
Peach’s partner, Amanda Street, recently graduated with a psychology degree from Memorial. After her convocation later this month, she’ll also move to Baie Verte to join Peach and to seek employment.
Baie Verte Mayor Clar Brown said the new CAO position, a first for the town, was created after a consultant’s report recommended the need for such a position. Many interested candidates came forward, he said.
“We short-listed from 22 to six people,” Brown said. “Brian, by far, went to the top of the list and he’s proven his worth already.”
The town is pleased with the energy Peach brings to the job, according to the mayor. He is approachable, and also enjoys approaching others for their opinions, Brown said.
“We just got back from an MNL (Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador) symposium,” he said. “The deputy minister and the engineers associated with (municipal government) were there. Brian had made contact with them before, but now he had the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face.”
Peach will also work to build a stronger relationship with the federal government in seeking money for the town, according to the mayor.
The new CAO says he is open to talking to all residents about what works and doesn’t work in their town.
“I appreciate people coming up to me and telling me about their problem,” he said. “Because, if you don’t know about it, there’s nothing you can do about it. So, I’m very open and encouraging to getting feedback from businesses, organizations, residents. Then, we put everything together to see what we can do to make our town a better place.”