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On a journey to finding a career

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It’s always interesting to see where former Valley residents are now after leaving their hometown years prior. Some people know exactly what they plan to do after graduation; meanwhile others sort of just
stumble into it by chance. Lane Farguson has embarked on a journey that allowed him to explore a variety of different careers before he took up the opportunity of working for the Halifax Port Authority.
“After graduating Swan Valley Regional Secondary School (SVRSS) in 1992, I went on to the University of
Manitoba,” said Farguson. “My plan was to work toward a Bachelor of Commerce degree, but things took a detour. 
I remember sitting in my apartment one night in that first year and hearing a radio commercial advertising the broadcasting program at Red River Community College and thought to myself, ‘They have a program to be a radio announcer? Well that sounds like fun’.
“I spent a couple years working in Brandon and taking classes at Brandon University before getting into the Broadcasting Program at Mount Royal in Calgary.
I graduated in 1998 and got my first job in June of that year, at CKX in Brandon as a TV reporter. From there, I went on to CTV in Yorkton, Saskatchewan for a year, CTV in Miramichi, New Brunswick for two,
and in 2001, got picked up by CHUM TV in Ontario where I worked at CKVR in Barrie for six years.
“It was during that phase of my career that I got to experience some really cool things like covering provincial and federal elections; getting blessed by Pope John Paul II; flying past the CN Tower in a military helicopter with members of 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, while delivering toys to sick
kids in Toronto; and hanging out in the Much Music environment and interviewing Canadian musicians like Tom Cochrane and Ed Robertson as part of a CHUM fundraising drive for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“It was in Ontario, that my wife Shelley, a Newfoundlander originally, and I got married and where our daughter was born,” added Farguson. “In 2007, we decided it was time for a change and moved back
to the Maritimes, this time to Nova Scotia. Our son was born soon after we arrived and I finished up my TV career at CTV Halifax, filing stories for the local audience and every once in a while for CTV National
News. In 2009, I decided it was time for a new adventure and I took a position with the RCMP in Nova Scotia. I wound up working in their communications department for three-and-a-half years before moving to my current role with the Halifax Port Authority where I manage communications and media relations.”
Farguson’s role as the Media Relations and Communications Manager for the Halifax Port Authority comes as second nature to him from his years of media experience. 
The job had the right combination for public relations that Farguson was ultimately looking for.
“I’m the Media Relations and Communications Manager for the Halifax Port Authority, the group that oversees the Port of Halifax,” explained Farguson. “It’s a bit of an unexpected career path for a guy
who grew up on a small farm in Benito, which is just about as far as you can get from an ocean within North America. I act as the spokesperson for the organization and handle the majority of media interviews. I also manage the social media accounts and create content. With my background in television, I produce videos and manage the photo and video library for the organization. I also manage
public relations for the Port, and work closely with the senior team on internal and external communications, speech writing, and government relations. “I covered a lot of stories that focused on
police and first responders while I was in Ontario, and really got interested in that line of work. Specifically, I wanted to help those people on the front lines instead of just reporting on the work they were doing, so when an opportunity to work for the RCMP came along a few years later, I decided to
transition from my television career to corporate communications. It was a really good experience,
one I am still grateful for, but with the RCMP, my work was all behind-the-scenes. I figured with my background,  being a spokesperson and interacting directly with the public would be a good fit. Fortunately for me, the Halifax Port Authority was looking for someone with my background and skillset, and in 2013 I made the switch.” 
Farguson is one of the luckiest people when it comes to establishing a career, because he has a job that he loves doing and as the old saying goes, if you find a job you love doing, it won’t feel like you are actually working.
“There’s a lot to enjoy and I consider myself pretty fortunate to be doing what I’m doing,” noted Farguson. “I look out at the ocean every day and get to not only watch the different kinds of vessels come and go, but as part of my job, learn about them and go onboard when public health restrictions
allow. Halifax is a full-service port, which means we have a strong cargo industry, very busy cruise industry under normal circumstances, and we have real estate and retail assets as well like the Halifax
Seaport Farmers’ Market. So just learning all of those different aspects of the job has been fascinating. I work with some really great people, and that helps a lot. 
Also, I like working with reporters, probably because I was one for so long. I try to see the story of the day from their point of view and then help them find the elements they need to put that story together.”
The Port of Halifax made national news, just over a month ago, that caused a stir of excitement and a flurry of media coverage. As a result, Farguson was back in the media limelight on CBC, being interviewed
for the story. 
“That was an exciting day for so many reasons, “ explained Farguson. “On May 17, we welcomed the largest containerized cargo vessel ever to call on a Canadian port. The name of the vessel is the Marco
Polo, owned by the French shipping company CMA CGM, and it is 396 metres length overall and 54 metres beam. To put it into a bit better context, if you were to stand that vessel up, it would be the tallest structure east of Toronto. Or, there’s enough space on the top deck to accommodate 12 NHL-sized ice surfaces, which are 60 metres x 25 metres, so you could have two rows of six NHL ice surfaces and
still have enough room for concession stands. 
“For the Port of Halifax, this was a very big deal. A vessel of that size can only call at a handful of ports because it’s so big. You need a long, deep berth and Halifax is the only port in Eastern Canada that
can take vessels of this size. It means jobs for the men and women who work on the docks and in the transportation industry, and it also means opportunities for Nova Scotia exporters looking to reach new
markets. That’s something that resonates with me, because of where I grew up. A manufacturer in Benito
trying to move a product to China would first have to transport that product halfway across the continent to get to an international port where it can be loaded onto a ship. Here in Halifax, we have that international gateway right in our back yard, and that is a huge benefit to our seafood producers, wood
pellet exporters and industrial manufacturers.”
Living on the East Coast is very different from life in the Valley. Farguson has a fond love for both and had really embraced the rich heritage and culture of the Maritimes. “There are differences for sure between
where I grew up and where I am now,” noted Farguson. “The ocean is a big part of daily life here. Much of our economy depends on it when you consider the different fisheries, tourism, and a growing ocean tech sector, plus over 18,000 jobs that are tied to Port of Halifax operations and Nova Scotia exports.
“The climate is much more moderate. Summers are warm, the fall is mild and lasts well into October, and we normally don’t see a significant snowfall until after the New Year. And winters are very mild by
Manitoba standards, so no more 40 below zero. The culture is different too. The west is relatively young compared to the Maritimes. Here, the music and the folklore goes back to the French and the Scots who started to settle the area back at the start of the 1600’s, and of course the Mi’kmaq who have been here for much longer than that. Also, the soil conditions are different and that’s one thing that still jumps out
at me. On the farm I grew up on, we had acres of rich, dark soil. Here, it’s very rocky and we simply don’t have the conditions for largescale grain production like on the prairies. “I’ve been in Halifax for 14 years now, and the city has changed a lot from when I first arrived,” added Farguson. “Halifax is  experiencing an economic boom right now. The ocean tech sector is really taking off, and there is a very
strong IT, gaming and digital media sector in place. People are moving here from other parts of Canada, and there is an excitement and optimism about the future. Of course, COVID-19 has had an impact on our tourism and hospitality sectors like it has everywhere, but we are hoping we can bounce back strong.”
Even though Farguson has been living on the East Coast and away from his Valley roots for quite a long time, he still misses aspects of back home. He has many fond memories that he looks back upon with
great admiration. “There’s lots I miss about back home,” shared Farguson. “The people for sure. Back on
the farm growing up, we spent a lot of time helping our neighbours. We would cut wood together, harvest livestock, help each other out with cattle, that sort of thing. Here, a lot of the work falls more along family lines because most people come from big families that go back many generations. 
“One other aspect I miss from the Valley is the food. It’s difficult to get a good perogy out here so I’ve had to learn to make my own. The next time I do go back, I’ll have to time the trip with a community supper so I can load up on perogies, cabbage rolls, beet leaf buns, garlic sausage and Saskatoon pie.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been back to the valley,” concluded Farguson. “People who remember me will also remember my dad who was a teacher in Benito and later in the SVRSS. He passed away in 2009 and my mom moved closer to Winnipeg a few years later. So I don’t know when I’ll be back again, but I think often about the people I grew up with, the ones who are still there and who I hear from every now and again.”