Before entering college administration, Randall Heidt had been a newspaper man. He first worked as a reporter in his hometown at the Calgary Sun, from where he was editor at a pair of community papers in Alberta and later at the Prince George Citizen daily newspaper.
While editor at the Rocky View Times and Cochrane This Week, Heidt won a national sports photo award for a shot he took at a rodeo. The photo frames a horse on one side and an airborne rider on the other, his face smashing into a fence post.
Heidt had worked at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George before accepting a position as vice-president of strategic initiatives at North Island College.
He says moving his family to the Comox Valley has been “absolutely fantastic.
“I can’t believe what an incredible community it is. It reminds me of Calgary when I was growing up, in terms of it was a smaller community. People didn’t know how great it was. And then we had the Olympics there, and it totally changed it.”
Besides the entire Valley, he’s been enjoying spending time in Campbell River, where his job takes him several times a week to their NIC campus.
“I think it’s probably one of the best places to live in Canada. It’s been pretty great here.”
He and his wife Sandra have a son, Austin, and daughter, Samantha, both of whom are sporting types. Like his father, Austin is a hockey player. This year, he played defence on the local midget Tier 1 team and — as a 15-year-old — was an affiliate player with the Glacier Kings junior B team.
Samantha is a goalkeeper/player on a local soccer team. Last year, at age 11, she earned two shutouts playing in net on the 12-year-old Northern B.C. team that competed at the BC Summer Games.
“I was so impressed with how high level the soccer is here,” Randall said. “It’s excellent soccer because they play so much more outdoors (than up north), and excellent coaching.”
Randall has wasted no time immersing himself in the community, coaching soccer and hockey — “This is my 16th year of coaching” — and joining the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. He and Sandra also volunteered at Vancouver Island MusicFest.
At NIC, Randall has been impressed and inspired with the dedication of teachers at ElderCollege, designed for students on the far side of 55.