Uncle’s inspiration, mother’s support lead to Tanya’s dedication to project

Posted on September 16, 2007
Filed Under Metepenagiag | Leave a Comment

Late Chief Mickey Augustineaugustine-tanya-g.JPG 

Late Chief Mickey Augustine, Tanya Augustine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Her mother Linda’s constant support and belief in education gave Tanya Augustine the confidence to leave Metepenagiag to make her own way in the world.

            The death of her uncle, the late Chief Michael “Mickey” Augustine, brought her home.

            “I came home when Uncle Mickey died in a car accident on his way home from Halifax,” she says. “It was very important to be with my family. Until then, whenever I visited and left to go back to Fredericton, I felt as though I was going home. After that week, I felt like I was leaving home. It didn’t feel right.”

            Tanya had moved to Fredericton in 1995. By 2003, she was an assistant manager at Sweetwaters, a large lounge, bar and nightclub with five bars and two dance floors.

            That was her first experience in administration, opening and closing the bars and making sure everything balanced, all inventory was accounted for and staff schedules and wages were properly maintained.

            Chief Mickey Augustine died November 24, 2003. Council elections were held at Metepenagiag  in June of 2004.

            Noah Augustine was elected chief. Jan Morrison, who had held the job as executive administrative executive assistant with Metepenagiag Heritage Park Executive Director, Pam Ward, transferred to the Chief’s office.

            After a competitive interview process, Tanya became Pam’s new executive administrative assistant just as the Metepenagiag Heritage Park project was set to go ahead. Metepenagiag Heritage Park Inc. and its funding agencies set up jointly approved administration systems for the construction phase of Metepenagiag Heritage Park .

            To prepare to operate the financial controls required, Tanya took an eight-week accounting software course at the New Brunswick Community College Miramichi campus. Since then, she says, she has learned a lot from the park’s chartered accounting firm. In addition to the annual audit, periodic mini-audits are conducted by various funding agencies.

            A management committee meets monthly to review construction progress as well as contracts issued.

            Augustine issues purchase orders and prepares payment claims for each of the three elements of the project. Each order and invoice is signed off by the managers, the executive director and the board of directors.

            “The funding partners have been good,” says Augustine. “They make the reimbursement payments within about 30 days. No one can say we didn’t do it right.”

            The managers make progress payments to the subcontractors regularly. That means Tanya’s work has to be done promptly and correctly to ensure adequate cash flow for the project.

            Life for Tanya has been hectic since the start of construction a year ago. She has already processed payments in excess of $5,000,000. As the construction phase winds down, she is working on the grand opening and beginning to prepare for the operations phase.

            That includes training programs and payroll for the 20 employees the park will have by next summer. She is also setting up the accounting systems for admission fees, facility rentals and boutique revenues.  The park’s annual operating budget is expected to be in excess of $400,000.

            Tanya operates mostly behind the scenes at Metepenagiag Heritage Park but her enthusiasm, dedication and her incandescent smile flash on whenever the need arises for help with a tour or hospitality for a visiting group.

            MHP Executive Director, Pam Ward, also values Tanya’s ability to share her administrative and project management experience in future, large, community-driven, cultural and tourism projects.

            Tanya has settled into the community for the long haul. She has bought a home and lives with, in her words, “the most wonderful guy ever,” Patrick “Paddy Joe” Ward.

            “I think this is our biggest opportunity for local employment. There are many spin off business opportunities as well as the direct jobs,” she says. “People here are looking for an opportunity to be self-reliant. Also as a member of the community, I think it is important for our people and people everywhere, to be able to see the record of our time here.” 

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