As previously announced, Mike Birett, CIF’s current Managing Director, will be leaving his post at the end of 2020. Mike has been with the CIF since its very beginning in 2008 and has been serving as Managing Director since 2011. During his time at CIF, Mike has been an invaluable resource to many communities and a key player in many critical projects.
The real better practices
A friend in the industry once teased me that the CIF blog wasn’t really a blog because it didn’t provide opinions. So, with an incredibly challenging year coming to a close, I wanted to pause and share a few thoughts with you.
When the CIF was first created, it was envisioned to be nothing more than a funding agency that would operate for an initial three years. Twelve years later, it has become so much more. From my perspective, the CIF ultimately became a platform where those that chose to do so, could engage in collaborative efforts to design, develop and test innovative ideas and technologies that in many ways made Ontario a quiet leader in the recycling industry. The success of the CIF is the result of the hard work of literally hundreds of people from across multiple continents. Hundreds of projects later, those collective efforts have saved tens of millions of dollars for our taxpayers and are a credit to the many municipal and First Nations staff, service providers, consultants, producer organizations and industry experts who made it all happen.
On a personal note, to suggest it’s been an incredible experience working at the CIF would be a gross understatement. Over the years you have given myself and the rest of the CIF team the opportunity to travel throughout the province and see firsthand the unique challenges various rural and urban municipal and First Nations staff face. Yet, no matter where we went as CIF staff, one thing always struck me and that was the remarkable number of decent, hard working people we encountered that were just focused on trying to do the best they could for their community. So, in the midst of what has been a very tough year for all of us, I want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank the many program and operations staff, communications and customer service people, admin, finance and by-law enforcement folk, drivers, operators and, in particular, the ‘roadies’ who worked with us over the years and continue every day, without a lot of fanfare or acknowledgement, to deliver successful programs.
So, what are the real better practices we’ve learned through CIF? It’s very simply that change is possible if we can open ourselves up to new possibilities and not be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way. It’s about putting aside politics and working together for the betterment of our residents.
As the outgoing Director of the CIF, I want to express my sincerest gratitude for all the support you and the CIF staff, both past and present, have given me over the years and, like you, I look forward to seeing what the new year brings. The new CIF team are a great group of dedicated professionals and I believe that with your ongoing support, interest and involvement they will accomplish great things in 2021. But for now, I want to wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday.
Managing Director at the Continuous Improvement Fund, 2011 to 2020
Mike is planning a semi-retirement, with more time for his family and outdoor adventures, balanced with some part-time consultant work. After December 31, 2020, you’ll be able to reach him at email@example.com.