Town’s new HR manager thrilled to be back home

Duane Hicks

Aaron Petrin always had intended to get a job in human resources—and to return to Fort Frances.
He got to strike both goals off his list last week after being hired as the new human resources (HR) manager for the Town of Fort Frances.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity,” said Petrin, speaking both of the new job and relocating back home.
Petrin, 27, graduated from Fort High in 2004, after which he attended the University of Manitoba to obtain his bachelor’s degree in commerce (often referred to as B. Comm).
“At the time, I was studying economics, as well, so I ended up completing my B. Comm in HR and small business management in 2010,” he noted.
“And then [I] went back to school in January, 2011 to complete what I had started in economics, and finished that in October of last year.”
Petrin then went to work for Assessment Services in Steinbach, Man., where he did property assessments and gained experience working with various municipal governments.
He also worked for H&R Block there.
“HR is my academic background, and I’ve had various experiences in that field throughout the years,” said Petrin.
“With that said, it is a change in career in that respect.”
When Petrin saw that the Town of Fort Frances was advertising for a new human resources manager, he jumped at the opportunity.
“Fort Frances has always been home to me. My entire family lives here,” he remarked, adding his mother, Lori, sister, Jamie (who just gave birth a son last July), and younger brother, Kirk, reside here.
“It has always been my dream to get into this field,” Petrin enthused.
“Kind of funny how it turned out, actually, because part of my five-year strategy was to get to get back to Fort Frances, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity,” he admitted.
“To have the two come together in such a way that I was able to come back in this role . . . has been really something.
“I’m very excited.”
Petrin said Fort Frances always has supported him in any of his endeavours when he was growing up, and for that he’s thankful.
“I’m big on community development and giving back, paying it forward, so Fort Frances is where I would like to make my contribution to the whole, and there’s no better place,” he remarked.
One way he aims to get involved is to sit on the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee.
Petrin said he visited here quite often over the years, and kept up to date on the town and its challenges and opportunities.
“With our mill closure, obviously, that’s a challenge facing our community,” he noted. “But everyone’s quite excited about new industry growth such as the mining opportunities around here.
“When I look to the work that the [Rainy River] Future Development Corp.’s doing . . . it’s very exciting just to be working in a community where, although there are challenges, there’s so much opportunity,” Petrin added.
“I’m thrilled to be here and to have the chance to give back in ways above and beyond this position,” he said.
Town CAO Mark McCaig said the town is “very happy to have Aaron on board.”
“He’s been here a coupe of days, he’s fitting in well, and he’s kind of been thrown into the fire on a couple of issues already and seems to be responding well,” he remarked.
“It’s really nice to be able to bring somebody who wants to be in Fort Frances to our organization, who has the local ties, who is a local professional person and wants to be with the Town of Fort Frances,” added McCaig.
“Sometimes you don’t get, especially when you recruit outside our area. You never know what’s going to happen, if people are going to want to stay or what?” he noted. “But we have a high level of confidence that this is a person that loves Fort Frances and is committed to our town, and wants to do good by our organization.”
McCaig said that during the interview with Petrin is he is dedicated to a continuing educational path.
“He’s very young and has a bright future ahead of him. He appears to want to do all the hard work necessary to move ahead in his career,” he nioted.
“I wish him the best, and I’ll support him in every way I can,” added McCaig. “We’re very happy to have him here.”