Chris Browton, Executive Director

In Abu Dhabi for WorldSkills 2017, from left: Mike Sury, Manager of Programming & Resource Relations, SCA; Chris Laue, Dean of Trades, Grande Prairie Regional College & SCA Board Member; Chris Browton, Executive Director, SCA; Todd Matsuba, WorldSkills Trainer in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

1) When did you begin working with Skills Canada Alberta?

I started as the Communications Coordinator at Skills on August 27, 2001.

2) How did you first get involved with Skills Canada Alberta?

I was Master of Ceremonies at a Provincial Awards Ceremony held at NAIT; this would have been pre-2000. Back then, we used to rotate the Provincial Competition between NAIT and SAIT – two critical stakeholders that are still heavily vested in us today. We moved Provincials to the Expo Centre full time back in 2001.

3) What is your role with Skills Canada Alberta, and what types of programs/initiatives etc. would some of our Skills followers be contacting you/communicating with you about?

As the Executive Director, a key function of my role is ensuring the operational side of the organization (our great Staff Team) supports the strategic-side (our Board of Directors), so that we serve our stakeholders and clients, as effectively and efficiently as possible.

4) What has been one of your best memories/experiences while working with Skills Canada Alberta?

There have been so many great moments… but, I still get really excited and energized at Awards Ceremonies at every level of Skills – be it Regional, Provincial, National or WorldSkills. Still, for me, I can vividly remember Mike Scheideman winning the Gold at WorldSkills Leipzig, Germany back in 2013 in Refrigeration. Winning any medal at the WorldSkills level is exceptionally difficult, as anyone who has tried can attest. The following year, we anointed Mike and his Expert, Todd Matsuba as our Alumni and Volunteer of the Year, respectively. Mike’s last words in the video we shot to commemorate the award still give me goosebumps to this day. You should watch it.




5) What is your favorite thing about working with Skills Canada Alberta/why do you like working here?

That’s easy – the people! We have the best Skills Team in the country… I’m biased, but I’m right. And our technical volunteers are exceptional in their skill-sets and as people. I feel fortunate to have traveled with many of them to WorldSkills Competitions.  It’s at these events where we spend more time together and I get to know them on a personal level rather just their role with Skills.

6) Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

I’m a sports nut. Hockey is #1, but I’ll watch just about anything on TV or live… even golf! You could cancel everything else in my cable package, but don’t take away my sports channels. 

7) If you could learn any trade or technology, which one would it be and why? 

I think it would either be carpentry or cabinet making. I can watch our competitors in those events for hours at a time. I’m in awe of anyone who can take a natural product (with its own imperfections) and turn it into something functional or structural or artistic. Those that perform these skills at a high level do so seemingly effortlessly and it’s inspiring to see true craftsmanship.