ERCA general manager resigns after 15 years with organization
ERCA General Manager Richard Wyma in Windsor, Ont., on Thursday, April 25, 2019
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Essex Region Conservation Authority general manager Richard Wyma has decided to explore other pursuits and resign from his position after spending 15 years with the organization protecting the region’s watersheds.
Wyma spent the last 11 years of his career at the helm of ERCA as its general manager/secretary-treasurer and executive director of the foundation.
“On behalf of the current, and past Boards of Directors, I want to thank Richard for his many years of service to the Authority,” said Kieran McKenzie, chair of ERCA. “Under his leadership, the region is stronger, healthier, and more sustainable.”
Wyma is looking forward to spending more time with his family and will be returning to earlier interests by joining and growing his wife’s communications agency, a news release from ERCA stated.
The resignation comes about one month after ERCA announced it had been the victim of online fraud, with nearly $300,000 having been transferred into falsified bank accounts.
At the time, ERCA said the first transaction was in the form of an electronic transfer from to the fraudster in the amount of $61,876 on July 14 and another on July 27 in the amount of $230,865.
McKenzie tells CTV News Wyma has chosen to leave to spend more time with his family and pursue other career opportunities. He said he was not pressured to leave, but that the board is moving forward to ensure the conservation authority is best protected from potential future incidents.
“That didn’t translate into any specific pressure but as the investigations unfolded and continued to unfold on numerous levels, there certainly are some measures that have been implemented and will be implemented,” he said.
The former general manager spent a decade in the far north of Canada before returning to ERCA in December 2009 to become the general manager and executive director of the conservation foundation.
Wyma's successes as general manager include authorizing a five-year sustainability plan, putting in place a new land securement strategy, and Conservation Land Management plan to guide land acquisition and future infrastructure management and needs in conservation areas.
He also developed new partnerships with universities, industry and senior levels of government-related to phosphorous and water quality, climate change, fish habitat, and natural heritage and supported new local efforts connected to stormwater management.
The Essex Region Conservation Foundation received imagine Canada accreditation while Wyma was executive director in 2014, making it one of just 140 foundations across the country at that time “that demonstrated excellence in board governance, accountability and transparency, fundraising, and staff and volunteer management.”
Wyma spearheaded fundraising to help build the Cypher Systems Greenway, the Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub and other projects in the region.
“ERCA continues to make a positive impact in the region’s watersheds, and though there remains much to be done, a great deal was accomplished over the last 11 years under Richard’s leadership, which has greatly benefitted the sustainability of Windsor-Essex, the Place for Life,” said McKenzie.