Thursday, 16 April 2015 10:19

From hard-working Hamilton to S.E. Alta, new MHC VP ready for the job

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When David Petis decided to take the position of the Medicine Hat College’s  vice-president, advancement and community relations leaving his role at Brock University as vice-president, university advancement, he did his homework.

Petis talked to those in the know and discovered Medicine Hat College has a solid reputation in regards to programs and is fiscally-responsible in regards to funding.
However, Petis also felt a kinship with the community rather quickly. He says when he found a spirit of entrepreneurship, pride and welcoming warmth with the city and the region, he knew he was in the right place. He loves Medicine Hat already.
Petis has held his college position since April 1, but already he’s noted the family atmosphere, the beautiful scenery with the coulees, the top-notch sports facilities and the support of healthy living.
“Not that you’re not aware of the reputation, but feeling it firsthand is great ... Letting the community speak for itself goes a long way,” explains Petis. “I know the short period of time I was here initially the community decorum and civility and courteousness (was impressive). I felt it; I truly felt it.”
According to college officials, Petis will oversee an increasingly-integrated program of communications and marketing, services to alumni and friends of the college, government and public relations, events and conference planning, grants, development and donor relations, and other areas that are under review. He will also oversee regional stewardship which includes responsibility for the Brooks Campus.
Petis also will, on the president’s behalf, manage matters pertaining to private sector fundraising and advancement efforts.
Next to the president, the vice-president is the college’s chief external affairs presence.
Petis says MHC President Dr. Denise Henning is proud of the steps the college has taken to improve the post-secondary institution as a student-focused facility, and its commitment to be a regional leader in regards to technology, partnerships with different facets of organizations and business.
“We want to be able to offer more to the community,” explains petis. “The president (Dr. Denise Henning) is proud of the steps taken on how to become more of a part of the southeast ... The Brooks Campus is important. We have an impact here and in the southeast. Stewarding those new innovations out there and investing in opportunities. We went to a (Brooks Bandits) junior hockey game. We were impressed with the community side and junior hockey team were able to partner for the new scoreboard. (It’s a) wonderful example of how partnerships can share in accomplishing something. That’s really great.”
The college also indicated Petis has held senior positions at the University of Alberta, as well having held positions at University British Columbia, and York University. 
He has led teams and campaigns that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in private support spurring on equally-significant government partnership funds from all government levels. He has also led award-winning major institutional rebranding and marketing campaigns.
Petis, a native of Hamilton, says his earlier jobs gave him a good foundation from which to start.
“It’s an honest, hard-working group, lots of steel mills,” says Petis who at 18, got the opportunity to work at Stelco as a summer student which gave him a good starting point.
He wants to work with the region and get out there and get acclimatized to the region and find out what the alumni thinks.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor