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A Bright Future for YVR

For over 25 years, I have been involved with the YVR family, in a broad range of positions that have opened my eyes to just how unique our organization really is.

We are a community, committed to the ongoing success of an incredible asset that spans far beyond any one person’s career. If you watched my recent Greater Vancouver Board of Trade presentation, you’ll remember that I brought up the concept of Cathedral Thinking—the idea of contributing to something special that will be around long after you move on. That’s YVR.

The secret to ensuring the future health of such a unique asset is to have the mindset of a caretaker, someone who protects the airport for future generations. As a community-based, not-for-profit organization, it’s our mandate to do just that.

And I’m proud to say that, during the last 6+ years as President & CEO, I have seen this care exemplified through our committed and passionate team. Together, we have worked hard and have been rewarded with many milestones—growing our annual passengers by almost 50 per cent, launching an ambitious 20-year roadmap with some big expansion projects on the way, signing the historic Musqueam Indian Band – YVR Airport Sustainability and Friendship Agreement­, and much more.

But I’ve left out another essential ingredient: fun. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be part of an organization that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’ve rarely gone a day without a good laugh, whether at my expense (often) or at someone else’s. And then there’s all the fun things we do. Remember the time when I trained to challenge Jackie Chan to a fight? I’m still waiting for him. Speaking of that, I wonder if Ryan will ever take up my offer? He’s missing out.

The result is that I enjoy going to work every day. And this is why it’s with mixed emotions that I am announcing my retirement from YVR, effective June 30, 2020.

Why am I leaving? The truth is that I have accomplished what I set out to do in my career at YVR. I have worked in aviation for 40 years, have been a CEO for 14 years (including my time as CEO at various Vantage Airport Group airports), and will have been the President & CEO at YVR for almost seven years when I retire in June. My wife and I want to retire, travel (for fun, not work), relax and enjoy ourselves. Maybe I’ll even take up flying again. Or perhaps I’ll just have more time to train for my next battle with Jackie, or continue my search for Ryan.

But note: I’ll still be around for another 7 months! And in that time we have a lot of work to do, such as opening our international terminal expansion and updating our Strategic Plan. Our Board has started a global search for the next President & CEO, which you will hear more about soon. And meanwhile, I am sure my employees are no doubt compiling a list of my top bloopers and making memes of them.

While I will be sad to say goodbye when the day comes, I know that I am leaving behind an incredible team, guided by a committed Board of Directors and a passionate and capable Executive Team, not to mention the thousands of airport employees who are core to what makes YVR such a special place. I have been fortunate to lead such a great team and contribute to the success of YVR, an amazing asset that does so much for our communities.

So, with that, I just want to say thank you for supporting YVR, sharing in our success—and most importantly having fun with us along the way.

~ Craig

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