Parksville hires director of engineering and operations

Bob Harary is excited to be on Vancouver Island for the first time where he will bring his 27 years experience to lead the engineering and operations department. - Auren Ruvinsky
Bob Harary is excited to be on Vancouver Island for the first time where he will bring his 27 years experience to lead the engineering and operations department.
— image credit: Auren Ruvinsky

It took months to find the right job and complete the paperwork and then it all came down to the border agent when Robert “Bob” Harary drove from California to take his new job as Parksville’s director of engineering and operations.

Harary, his wife Debbie and their two beagles, were confident about their paperwork, but it was still nerve wracking to drive all that way and depend on a single person to grant him a work permit.

Coming from the rough economy of California, Harary had searched locally and then branched out until he ended up applying not only out of state, but out of the country.

“My wife and I had considered moving to the Pacific Northwest,” he said, but they’d never been to B.C. before visiting for the job interview in January, for which he had to get a passport.

He said he instantly “fell in love with the area, it’s a really beautiful place.”

Originally from New Jersey, Harary attended Arizona State University and spent the last 27 years working in California, Nevada and Arizona, mostly for municipalities in some form or another.

After a week on the job in Parksville, he said that while there are minor cultural and policy differences, “this type of work is exactly what I do.”

Among other things, he has worked on large water projects including a $110 million pipe that went just 12 miles through city streets. This will be valuable experience for the city’s new water intake for the Arrowsmith Water Service.

He also feels his nine years with the City of North Las Vegas provided valuable experience in terms of the complexity of a growing city and issues between developers, the city and citizens.

Since North Las Vegas is much larger and was the second fastest growing city in the country, he got to experience his favourite part of the job — completing capital projects.

“That’s what really drives me, that’s the most fun,” he said, remembering taking his kids Stephen and Jessica to work sites when they were young and showing them things like “dad’s road.”

“We’re working directly on things that serve the public,” he said. “If you work hard for Donald Trump, what happens? He gets richer? Who cares? Here you get to see real life stuff, serve the community.”

After his first week in Parksville Harary said he is impressed by the city staff, who “have a real sense of pride about what they do, the people really care about the city and what they’re doing.”

Harary is proud to be able to say he cares about what he’s doing. As a kid he had Tonka trucks and tractors, he said he would build roads in his yard and talk becoming an engineer before he knew what it was.

His other first impressions of the area include being impressed with the parks and the amount of community involvement. He said the city’s pavement is in average shape and the city’s water is good, but nearing capacity at peak times.

“The selection committee was extremely impressed with Bob Harary,” said chief administrative officer Fred Manson. “Both from a technical and personal level and we are pleased to have him on board to work with council, senior management and staff.”

Harary joins the senior management team, along with the CAO, director of planning, director of finance and the fire chief. His office is in the public works building on Herring Gull Way and he can be reached at 250-951-2477 or


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