By Вen Li
After enduring seven years of MacEwan Hall expansion and other hijinks, Students’ Union General Manager Bryan Pryde is leaving for the sunny beaches of Australia.
"My proudest moment is finishing that building," recalled Pryde. "There was no construction in the job description and it wasn’t discussed in my hiring… Six months after I started, I had to tell exec to throw out their designs. I thought I would lose my job."
Pryde guided dozens of elected student officials through several incarnations of the $10 million expansion and redevelopment, and will be remembered for spending, at times, up to 40-50 per cent of his time on the project.
"The nice thing about Bryan was that he helped it along, always according to the direction of executives," said SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Gavin Preston. "He was absolutely instrumental in expansion and redevelopment and the contracting process."
In addition to keeping SU operations on track, Pryde was supportive of the elected officials.
"As a commissioner, whenever I’ve needed something I would go see him. Bryan will make things happen," said SU Academic Commissioner Mark Counsell.
"Someone as welcoming of students and at the same time as competent as he is will be hard to replace," Counsell added. "He’s a rare breed. In the SU, Bryan is the only person who understands the entire organization and knows every staff member and what they do."
As the general manager, Pryde was also the interface between ever-changing elected officials and permanent SU staff. In fulfilling that role, Pryde has gained insight unavailable in the corporate environment.
"I never used to have political savvy, I think I’ve gained a bit," said Pryde.
Along with SU officials, Pryde more than doubled the organization’s revenue from $4.8 million to $10 million annually, in part by expanding their conferences and events services. Pryde is humble, however, about his contributions to the stability of the SU and to students.
"I’d very much like to think I’ve had very little impact on the organization," said Pryde. "It’s great seeing the successes a lot of the exec have had."
According to Preston, Pryde will be missed for his knowledge of the organization and the intricacies of the university.
"For a while, the new person won’t be the same resource as Bryan," said Preston of Pryde’s institutional knowledge and experience. "A lot of staff liked Bryan. He was good at what he did and easy to work with."
Pryde and his wife Jeanne will depart for Australia, and are considering starting a resort hotel or another business.
"The job kept me young," said Pryde. "I’ll miss this place. I’ll miss the staff the most, the vast majority of whom were hired while I’ve been here. I’ll miss watching execs change from the beginning to the end of their terms. They don’t see it since it’s part of the job but I do."
Pryde’s last day is Aug. 7, 2003. The SU is currently seeking a new general manager.