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City Council Welcomes New City Manager

City Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Bramwell (Bram) Strain as the new City Manager for the City of Lethbridge.  

Mr. Strain is coming to Lethbridge from Winnipeg, MB, where he has 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. His first day on the job will be Aug. 15 when he takes over from Kathy Hopkins, who has served as Interim City Manager since Dec. 1, 2017 and has aided City Council through the process of selecting a permanent city manager. 

"Through a rigorous recruitment process, we have found a new city manager who embodies the qualities we were seeking to lead our organization into the future. Bram Strain has an outstanding breadth of experience in leadership, innovation and change management that will serve Council, our organization and our community very well. We are proud to welcome him as our new city manager," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "The quality of candidates we attracted through this recruitment process was incredible. That says a great deal about the quality of our community and the reputation of our municipal organization. As Council, we are also extremely grateful for the support Kathy Hopkins has provided to us and the strong leadership she has provided for our organization during this transition." 

In his various roles, Mr. Strain has had direct responsibility for more than 2,000 employees in unionized environments and has overseen public programming and capital budgets of up to $1.8 billion. Since 2016, Mr. Strain has served as a deputy minister in the Government of Manitoba in the ministries of infrastructure as well as education, training and immigration. His background in federal government includes serving as Assistant Deputy Minister for Western Economic Diversification, Regional Director General for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Director General for Service Canada, and Associate Regional Director General for Veterans Affairs Canada.  

"I am honoured to take on this new challenge, and I look forward to making Lethbridge my home. I intend to work effectively through a strong management team and to work hard to foster a well-functioning, transparent civil service that develops and implements well-thought-out strategic and operational plans, yet remains nimble to respond to ever-changing circumstances," says Mr. Strain. "Throughout my career, I have worked directly with elected officials and have a deep respect for their time, dedication and commitment to the public good. I believe political direction is key in representing the needs and desires of the community while the civil service directly applies policy and generates new, innovative ideas for efficiency that improve service provision and increase value for taxpayers." 

City Council appointed a four-member committee in late 2017 to lead the search and recruitment of a new city manager, following the announcement of the retirement of former City Manager Garth Sherwin. The committee, consisting of Mayor Spearman and Councillors Jeff Coffman, Belinda Crowson and Joe Mauro, engaged a recruiting firm to invite applications as well as search out candidates from within and outside the City of Lethbridge. Five initial candidates were short-listed and interviewed by the search committee after which two final candidates were interviewed by all members of City Council.

Please refer to the backgrounder below for details on Mr. Strain's career background. 


Media Contact:
Gerald Gauthier, Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge



Previous Career Highlights for new City Manager Bramwell Strain

  • 2017-2018          Deputy Minister, Manitoba Infrastructure, Province of Manitoba
    Department head responsible for Infrastructure, including the full transportation network, motor carrier enforcement, water and flood protection, airports and emergency measures. 
  • 2016-2017          Deputy Minister, Education, Training and Immigration, Chair of Public Schools Finance Board and CEO of Healthy Child Manitoba, Province of Manitoba
  • 2012-2016          Assistant Deputy Minister, Manitoba/Saskatchewan, for Western Economic Diversification
  • 2009-2012          Regional Director General, Prairies and Northern Territories Region, Citizenship and Immigration
  • 2001-2009         
    Director General, In-Person Service Delivery Channel, Service Canada
    Associate Regional Director General, Western Region, Veterans Affairs Canada
    Regional Director, In-Person Service Delivery, Service Canada, Manitoba Region
    National Regional and Community Presence Coordinator, Service Canada
    Director, Human Resources Services, Human Resources Development Canada, Manitoba Region