I was born and raised just outside of Belfast, in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a place where community involvement has a special emphasis placed on it from a young age. As a teenager, I captained my local and school soccer teams and served on school committees as a prefect. I was involved in cross-border exchange programs, and I represented Northern Ireland at international leadership conferences held in New York and Washington DC, and an international interfaith conference in Leeds. I graduated High School in 2007 with A levels in Psychology, English Literature, and Politics.
Being born in Northern Ireland I obtained Irish and British citizenship, along with Canadian and American citizenships that were passed down from my mother. Thanks to this, when it came time to choose where to study for my post-secondary education, I had a number of options. I made the choice to come to Halifax, and applied to Saint Mary’s University to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree. Halifax was the perfect fit for me; the size and demographic makeup being so similar to Belfast, where I spent most of my upbringing. I felt immediately connected and comfortable with calling Halifax home and knew that this was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
Life in Halifax
In 2007 I moved to Halifax without knowing anybody in the area. The closest relative I had on this side of the Atlantic Ocean was my older sibling in Vancouver, which is geographically further away from Halifax than Northern Ireland is.
I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree in History, Philosophy, and Politics. I had known as soon as I arrived in 2007 that this is where I wanted to put down my own roots, so I returned to SMU and completed a Certificate in Atlantic Canadian Studies in 2014. I was captivated by Atlantic Canada; on top of immersing myself in the history, politics, and culture of the region through the certificate program, I also spent every bit of free time I had touring the province and meeting the people who live here.
During my studies I held down a full-time job managing a kitchen, I met my wife, and we bought our first home in Cole Harbour in 2012. I also volunteered with Halifax PLAYS (a recreational, non for profit, sports organization) and served as its Vice President from 2013 to 2017.
I left Halifax PLAYS at the start of 2017 to focus more on starting a family with my wife, Holly. Our baby girl Isla was a little less patient than we had expected, as we welcomed her into our lives on February 1st, 2019 - eight weeks ahead of schedule, weighing a hefty 2lbs, 14oz. She was born with a rare genetic condition known as Fanconi Anemia and I have since become an advocate in raising awareness on the importance of blood and stem cell donations. After Isla was born, we began searching for a new community that would allow us to thrive as a growing family. After seeing everything that Hammonds Plains had to offer, the decision was an easy one and we moved in August of this year.
When I was 14 years old, I started working in Northern Ireland as a dishwasher and I’ve been working in the hospitality and service industry ever since. I was named Kitchen Manager of one of the largest restaurants in Halifax when I was 23. In that role I developed and applied in-depth data analysis to our kitchen operations. In 2017 I was offered a position at a new restaurant (The Pint) on Argyle Street, where I successfully helped to orchestrate the opening, as well as the daily operations of the restaurant for the next two and a half years. My data-driven management style caught the attention of some industry leaders and last December I was approached with the opportunity to join Kitchen Door Catering in Burnside to help establish firm operating procedures to accommodate their continued growth.
Since its arrival, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on a number of industries but few have been hit as hard as the tourism and hospitality industry. We have seen the permanent closure of several small restaurants and businesses, and there will almost certainly be more to come in the slower winter months - whether or not we see a second wave of COVID-19 here in Atlantic Canada.
Unfortunately, I was one of the countless professional casualties when the first wave of COVID-19 arrived in Atlantic Canada, and I was laid off in March. Since the time of my first job, I had never been unemployed- it was a point of personal pride. Luckily there has been a silver lining in my circumstance, since I have been able to spend more time at home with my daughter over these last few months.
With the ongoing challenges of climate change, COVID-19, and the potential for an economic recession, this election is unlike any we’ve seen before. This year has not only shown us that global events can have a profound impact on how we live our daily lives, but also that as individuals we can work together to affect real change in our communities, countries, and world. It is clearer now more than ever before that we need to vote for representatives who have the broader interests of the municipality at heart, as well as not forgetting the concerns of the constituents who elected them. We need to look for new solutions and new representatives to step up and take the lead on these critical issues. We need a Councillor who has proven they will fight relentlessly to ensure District 13 has strong representation at City Hall. With my experience in the hospitality industry I have proven to have that work ethic: I have skipped birthdays and celebrations, and worked 70+ hour weeks, along with almost every statutory holiday and weekend for the past 18 years, and I plan on bringing that same work ethic to representing District 13.
That is why I am running to be your next Councillor. I have made the choice to invest long-term in this community for my wife and my daughter, and I ask that you do the same.
On October 17th, vote for a new voice: Send me to City Hall.