Pottie, who is to take over the NSPE reins on Friday, has owned and operated a private business for more than 20 years. He has also led the operations of a number of facilities in the province, including Exhibition Park, the East Hants Sportplex and, most recently, CFB Halifax Curling Club, according to a news release issued on behalf of Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell.
"It is important for the general manager of the provincial exhibition to have significant facility management experience, knowledge of the
industry and experience in business," Colwell said, in the release, adding that the attributes Pottie brings from his previous experience will make him a “valuable member” of the NSPE management.
Bruce Kennedy, chairman of the NSPE commission, agreed.
“What we’ve been lacking is leadership at the management level,” Kennedy told the Truro Daily News. “We’ve been operating with interim employees and an interim board and we’ve been trying to hold things together and operate as best we could without any sort of leader,” he said, of the situation the NSPE has been in since last winter when the province took over the facility and released the previous board of its responsibilities.
In recent years the NSPE debt level had grown to approximately $1 million and last year the facility was declared insolvent following a financial review by a chartered accountant.
“Now with leadership at the highest management level, the racetrack and exhibition and all the other events that take place there, which are multiple, they now will have some guidance and the staff will have guidance from some leadership that has been missing, Kennedy said.
And like Colwell, Kennedy said Pottie’s past experience is an “integral” part of securing a successful future for the NSPE.
“And we’re hoping that his experience in those endeavours will spin off to some opportunities here,” he said. “He appears to be very excited and willing to accept the challenge no matter how big (to make the facility work).
“He wants to jump right in. He’s ready to roll,” Kennedy said.