The Portage Community Revitalization Corporation is losing its longest-serving executive director come this fall. 

Victoria Espey has served there as E.D. for 6-and-a-half years and shares her thoughts about this change in careers.

"I have officially resigned from my position at the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation, " says Espey. "As executive director, I will be leaving the position after the September long weekend and I am very excited to announce that I will be joining the Christianson TDS team as their director of operations for the Portage la Prairie office as well as their three satellite offices."

She says she's been with PCRC for well over six years and notes she's learned so much during her time there, as well as having made many connections with her team internally.

"I really want to thank my Board of Directors for all that they have done for both me and PCRC as an organization," continues Espey. "They are, I think, one of the best boards around in town. They're so innovative, think outside the box and they really support our internal team to do all of the great work that they do."

Espey says her team has always been positive and has a great imagination and a drive to initiate new projects for the betterment of our community. 

"I really want to thank the city, the mayor, council, administration and all of our local businesses and partner agencies that I've had the pleasure of working with over the last six years, as well as our MLA Ian Wishart," adds Espey. "He's always been a huge supporter of PCRC. Over the past six years, we've seen so much growth that peaked with starting new projects. There are 21 people who work there now. When I first started there, we had two projects -- community engagement and community facilitator projects -- and we still have those projects today. I'm so thankful that we've been able to hang on to them."

She makes note of growing with the Portage Urban Indigenous People Coalition and are working hard to move the local dial forward on reconciliation. 

"We've worked with community partners to make sure that Portage is a welcoming and ready place for newcomers to call home," says Espey. "We've worked to address homelessness through Reaching Home and other various projects. We do wrap-around supports for people at risk through Wawokiya. In our most recent projects, working with Community partners to improve graduation rates and entrance into employment and post-secondary opportunities. It's just grown tremendously and I feel very blessed to be leaving when PCRC is in such a good position. We're a good partner to all levels of government, and I really feel like I'm leaving on a high."

She says they started with only three staff -- the Community Facilitator and Community Engagement Coordinator and the E.D.

PCRC Board chair James Kostuchuk outlines the great help Espey has provided for the organization.

"PCRC's been very fortunate that we've had very effective, imaginative and creative executive directors, and Victoria is no exception," says Kostuchuk. "She has led our organization through a time of unprecedented challenges but also of unprecedented growth. It's really thanks to her talents that our organization upon her leaving will be in excellent shape. When the reins are handed over to the new executive director, I'm confident that we will be able to continue in an effective manner."

Kostuchuck notes Espey has been their E.D. for the longest amount of time in their history.

"Working with the Community Revitalization Corporation is always a challenge," continues Kostuchuk. "It is, after all, a corporation. Although our business is improving the community and working with the community, we still have to pay attention to the bottom line. The PCRC is responsible not only for budget issues but also for human resource issues and all the communications that we have to do with various levels of government. It's a very challenging position. But Victoria always managed to show grace under pressure, and she was a wonderful spokesperson for our organization."

He adds they wish her the absolute very best in her new endeavour, and believe she'll do just as well there as she did for PCRC.

Christianson TDS partner Barney Christianson says Espey's skills are well-known and fit her very well for the new role the firm is creating as Director of Operations for their four offices in Portage, MacGregor, Gladstone and Neepawa. Her role will be directing all the non-legal work the firm engages in.