Former Liberal MLA Wilf Hurd has been named SFU's new director of government relations replacing Ken Mennell who retired last year. Hurd, who worked briefly in the university's media and public relations office in the late 1970s, was first elected to the provincial legislature in 1991 representing Surrey-White Rock and re-elected in 1996.
He served as opposition education and advanced education critic and was a colleague of David Mitchell, VP-external relations, who was also elected in 1991. Hurd left the legislature in 1997 to run in the federal election, but was unsuccessful.
Both before and after his stint as a MLA Hurd worked in communications and government relations in the private sector, most recently with Weyerhauser Co.
“It was an interesting experience in the legislature. It gave me an appreciation for the other side of the fence,” he says.
“I spent a lot of time dealing with government from one perspective. It gives you an appreciation for what ministers and members of the house face on a daily basis.”
He says one of his major tasks will be “to assist the excellent work the university is doing in accessing government and improving relations with government. I have a lot of contacts in both Ottawa and Victoria so I'm hopeful I can use those contacts on behalf of the university.”
Hurd says he will also be spending “a fair amount of time” focusing on local governments such as the Surrey and Burnaby councils. “Universities interact with government at all levels. It is a broader interaction than in the private sector,” he notes.
Mitchell adds, “In addition to his knowledge of government and the legislative process, Wilf will play a key role in coordinating our relationships with governments and public sector agencies.”