#YQLNEIGHBOURS Bramwell (Bram) Strain, City Manager

Photography by Melissa Villeneuve

Last August, Bramwell Strain was appointed as the new City Manager for the City of Lethbridge. He moved to the city from Winnipeg, MB, where he worked most recently in provincial and federal government as a deputy minister and assistant deputy minister handling portfolios such as infrastructure, education, and economic development. He’s been married to his university sweetheart Michelle for almost 27 years and they have two daughters, aged 20 and 24. Bram is a live music and wrestling fanatic with a warm personality and a quirky sense of humour.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness to me is contentment, where you literally feel you have everything you need.

I don’t know if I’ve found perfect happiness yet. I feel like there’s more to do. I’m not done yet. Ideally, when I’m a little older and retired, if I can look back and see that I did the best I could with what I have, that’s probably my future idea of contentment.

Which living person do you most admire?

In a certain aspect, I admire politicians. They put themselves out there, right or wrong, whether I believe or don’t believe in what they’re saying or what they espouse, they put themselves out there in public life. I see that all the time… and they get nothing but abuse.

Which phrases do you most overuse?

I don’t even know if I recognize that I overuse things because to me, I use them at the perfect time. I know I do it, I just don’t know what it is I do.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to play guitar and sing. But I can’t do either of those things and I’m not committed to learning so… (Bram laughs) it’s probably not going to happen. I think I’m a good singer, so I sing a lot. But I’m not.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I like to think I’m a compassionate person. I understand the full 360 of an argument. It’s a blessing and a curse. I see all sides of an issue. It allows me to find middle ground, it allows me to find win-wins, but at the same time I wish just once in a while I could be on one side of a story.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Those I admire most are the unsung heroes - the EMS, the firefighters, the policemen, soldiers, nurses, teachers, people that pick up garbage or clear off snow… people that are doing good things each and every day to make a difference that never get reported. They do what they do for the goodness and betterment of society.

What is your motto?

I only can control the things I can control but I can influence a lot and I can make a difference. And that’s kind of what I live by. I always say if you don’t like something, you can vote with your feet, because basically if you don’t like it or you’re not happy, vote with your feet, change your life, move on. You’re not stuck in anything.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I don’t think it’s happened yet. I know I’ve done some things that had impact. I’ll be very interested to find out what that’s going to be in my contentment years to look back and say “oh yeah, I did that.”
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