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Celebrating 40 Years of Service

Theresa Van Oort | Manning, AB


Theresa Van Oort recently celebrated 20 years as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the County of Northern Lights and an overall 40 years in government service.


Reflecting on her years of service, Theresa Van Oort was filled with gratitude and appreciation for the acquaintances she made and the people she worked with throughout her long standing career.


“I have enjoyed meeting so many other people who are involved in municipal government, and I’ve been fortunate to work with a great group of elected leaders over the years,” said Van Oort. “We have a lot of wonderful CAOs in this region who support each other.”


Starting her career on June 16, 1980, Van Oort’s first role was at the Peace River Provincial Building in Alberta Municipal Affairs. Working in the Improvement District at the time, Van Oort quickly found a role she loved.


After organizing several regional meetings for the department’s group of managers, Van Oort noticed that their days were never repetitive, which she knew would suit her perfectly.


With the idea to pursue a new role, Van Oort set out to further her education and establish her career in government services.


“I had a manager and director who allowed me to take government courses through the University of Alberta, which helped me continue on with my career goals,” said Van Oort.


Fast forward to September 30, 2003, Van Oort became CAO of the County of Northern Lights. Previously working as the Director of Finance there, Van Oort transitioned into her new role seamlessly and has enjoyed it ever since.


A man and a woman stand in front of a building
County of Northern Lights Reeve Terry Ungarian and Theresa Van Oort

“My job as CAO has opened up so many opportunities for me,” said Van Oort. “It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and given me the ability to appreciate people from all backgrounds.”


With 40 years under her belt, Van Oort is now planning for retirement in the spring of 2024. As much as she is excited for this next chapter, there are plenty of things she will miss.


“I’m going to miss the staff I previously had, as well as the staff I currently have in Manning. They’re a great group of people, and I know they will continue to do an amazing job,” said Van Oort.


As for retirement plans, Van Oort and her husband, Leonard, plan on spending more time with grandchildren and soaking up the sunshine in the Kootenays during the summer months.


Now that retirement is near, Van Oort wants to thank the people who have made her career so enjoyable.


“I would like to extend a big thank you to the current and previous councils that have given me the opportunity to serve them,” said Van Oort. “I also need to give a big shoutout to the staff at the County of Northern Lights. They are great at their jobs, and I can’t thank them enough.”

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