On July 5, RCMSAR Headquarters staff said a bittersweet goodbye to Chief Executive Officer, Pat Quealey, who is moving on to a new role with the Canadian Red Cross in British Columbia and Yukon. 

Pat Quealey

Pat Quealey

For three years, Pat led RCMSAR with a fierce dedication to mission, integrity and service.  His respectful leadership and warm daily presence at HQ will be greatly missed. 

Before handing over his office keys, we asked Pat to reflect on his time with RCMSAR and to share his most memorable experiences and impressions for the Compass. 

What are you most proud of from your time at RCMSAR?

The greatest success of RCMSAR remains the daily impact of our volunteers and staff either on the water saving lives and promoting community safety or in the supporting functions that enable the mission. Having been able to contribute to those efforts is my greatest sense of fulfillment. It truly is a noble mission of service achieved by an inspiring team.

What do you hope to see carried forward, or what direction would you like to see RCMSAR continue in?

RCMSAR is in a position to capitalize on the outcomes of a three-year strategy that saw us solidifying support to our core service as well as establishing new operational relationships. Among other achievements, that strategy has resulted in four new formal relationships with response agencies and multiple levels of government being signed over the last three years: Canadian Coast Guard renewed contribution agreement, Emergency Management BC humanitarian assistance agreement, Canadian Rangers training and operational collaboration agreement, and the Canadian Red Cross disaster support agreement. In addition to increased public exposure and understanding of RCMSAR’s contribution to public safety, these agreements position RCMSAR to maximize its positive impact in BC’s communities. I hope RCMSAR builds on the foundation of these relationships in the pursuit of excellence in community based marine safety.

As you were instrumental in bringing WMRC 2019 to B.C., what significance does an event of that size hold for RCMSAR?

Hosting the World Maritime Rescue Congress was a once in a career opportunity for many of us but more importantly for RCMSAR it was an example of the ability of our organization to make such a positive impact on the global stage. Over 550 delegates from over 180 organizations from over 40 countries experienced the beauty of Vancouver in a very positive learning environment. The Congress was also an example of what can be achieved when organizations unite for a common interest; WMRC would not have been such a success without the collaborative efforts of our sponsors, exhibitors and key partners. 

What was your most memorable experience?

I think a very memorable experience was meeting incredible members in visits to each of RCMSAR’s 33 stations. I learned so much about our coastal and interior waters and it solidified in my mind how vital the service of RCMSAR is to the mariner community. I am also extremely grateful for the camaraderie and shared spirit of service I experienced working with colleagues across the organization. I will remain inspired by the efforts of the RCMSAR team and reflect fondly on the friendships forged over my tenure.

What will you miss most?

A tough question, but one thing I will miss for sure will be the daily interaction with my colleagues at the RCMSAR Headquarters and Training Centre and the sense of family we established there. I am grateful to each of them for their dedication and professionalism without which RCMSAR would not function so well. I am equally grateful that although I am taking on new challenges with the Canadian Red Cross, that I will be able to continue to work alongside RCMSAR and its amazing people as a partner organization.

While a search for a new CEO gets underway, Ken Burton has stepped down from the RCMSAR Board of Governors to act as Interim CEO. Watch for a full profile and bio for Ken Burton in next week’s Compass.