Renowned engineer Dr. Albert Koehler who was key in bringing post-secondary engineering education to northern BC will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the University of Northern BC’s virtual convocation on June 25.
Koehler is an engineer, entrepreneur, former city councilor and a past-president of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce.
The author of several publications, Koehler has registered several patents and was the founder of Tribotec International Ltd., A & A Tools Inc., and the Maintenance Technology and Training Institute of Canada Inc.
“Life is not a rehearsal, it is given to us only once,” Koehler said of being bestowed the honour. “Let’s fill it with something meaningful and not waste it.”
Koehler has received the Community Service Award by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia for his continuing contributions to the well-being of the Prince George community where he was named Prince George Citizen of the Year.
Koehler won the Business Excellence Award from the Federal Business Development Bank multiple times and received the Rotary International Service Award for Professional Excellence.
He served as the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany for all of northern B.C. for nine years, sat as a Prince George city councilor for seven years, as well as a director for the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George for four years.
He received his bachelor of science degree from the Engineering School in Cologne, Germany, and followed that up with Masters and Doctoral degrees from the Technical University of Aachen, Germany where he was an assistant professor for six years.
To read the original Media Release from UNBC – Click here
Koehler will receive his Honorary Doctorate at the College of Science and Management ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on June 25
The Prince George Community Foundation hosted their annual Citizen of the Year dinner and awards ceremony at the Coast Inn on Friday evening. This year’s Citizen of the Year award recipients were Chuck Chin, Noreen Rustad, and Albert Koehler.
Koehler is most well known for being a past councillor for the City of Prince George.
He was instrumental in ensuring that an engineering program came to UNBC.
“It means a lot for the community and for the region because we are very short of engineers, scientists, and architects and we need them to have our community growing,” Koehler tells PrinceGeorgeMatters.
Albert has volunteered on numerous committees over his time in Prince George.
He was the past president of the Yellowhead Rotary Club, he’s been involved with the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition, Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, Barkerville Heritage Trust and Prince George Symphony Orchestra, to name a few.
“It feels as if I am special although I’m not special but I feel very honoured no doubt about that,” says Koehler about receiving the honour. “For me it’s representing volunteerism and I’m just one of them. Maybe I’ve championed something here or there but to bring something to fruition to success a team is required so at the end it’s a team effort.”
On Monday I was honoured by Mayor and Council for my years of service. I really appreciated all the kind and thoughtful words and comments from all the councillors and Mayor. It has been a privilege (given to me by the residents) to serve for 2 terms. Thank you for also including Jutta, my wife, as I couldn’t have done this all without her support.
And someone at the City must know of my love of nature, as I was presented with this beautiful painting that fits perfectly into our home decor by a local artist, Oliver Ray. Thank you to everyone that made this presentation happen.
B.C. is burning again and obviously not much has been learned from the fires last year when it comes to getting them under control. I hear people saying that this will probably be normal in the future and there is little we can do about it. Rubbish.
I do not accept that and do not believe it. When it all started all of a sudden last year climate change may have had an impact, but can certainly not be held responsible for all fires.
Naturally, we have to continue fighting the fires, but there should be an equal focus on fire prevention. We cannot prevent thunderstorms, but we can adapt and minimize the available fuel and remove dead wood for instance. Our fire fighters deserve all the praise and certainly have to be commended for what they are doing. Sad however, that the resources are so limited which allows small initial fires to get out of control. Our government does not seem to understand the impact these fires have on our society. I am not just referring to the potential loss of life and assets, but also to the huge impact it has on our economy: our tourism industry will take a dive, our forestry industry has to deal with huge losses, the damage to our health and well-being is devastating. The overall costs are high and have to be carried by the tax payer. All that is impacting our economy which inevitably will lead to job losses.
The current horrendous fire in California has been started by an arsonist.
The bad fire in Greece has been started by an arsonist.
According to an analysis of fire causes, close to 40 per cent of all B.C. fires last year started due to “human causes,” arson included. Yes, arson.
It can be assumed that the “close to 40 per cent” for human causes can be applied this year as well because many fires started without a thunder storm near, days later. As a matter of fact, completely new fires are still showing up lately without a thunderstorm.
It often is reported that there is a fire but “only a few acres in size.” Such a fire gets out of control fast and the circumference increases to a length that requires many individuals, plus equipment, to fight it.
Two hundred military personnel can most likely not change much. It is too little too late, and should have been 2,000 or more and the fitting equipment along with it.
In closing, it is extremely frustrating that we in beautiful B.C. are obviously unable to get a handle on it.
Albert Koehler Sr.
REPOSTED FROM PG CITIZEN JUNE 28, 2018
There will be at least two new faces on Prince George city council after Oct. 20, with Tuesday’s announcement that Albert Koehler will not be running a third term.
Rookie councillor Jillian Merrick let it be known earlier this month that she would not be running again.
To both Koehler and Merrick, thank you for your work on behalf of the residents of Prince George. The city is a better place because of your commitment to public service and you earned every dollar of your city councillor income.
Koehler’s letter to mayor and council announcing his decision was a textbook in personal and political class.
Instead of talking about the many hardships of public life, he stressed only the positives, starting with how honoured” and blessed he felt to have been chosen by local voters to make important decisions on their behalf.
He thanked his council colleagues for the respect he was given. He thanked Mayor Lyn Hall for his leadership. He wished Merrick “all the best for the future” and he wished the remainder of his council colleagues – all seeking re-election Oct. 20 – “much success.”
His reasons to not run again were simple and straightforward. Five young grandchildren. A bucket list that isn’t getting any shorter, the impending retirement of his wife and some health concerns.
Even with those considerations, he said the decision still wasn’t easy. He loved the work because it was more than just a job, he loved the people, he loved making a difference.
Koehler did things his own way during his seven years on city council. He paid for his election campaigns exclusively out of his own pocket. He spoke firmly but carefully at the council table. He let his warmth and sense of humour shine. And his pocket of Werther’s candies (a reflection of his German background) seemed bottomless.
How Koehler saw his role on city council was reflected in his remarks made during Monday night’s debate on increasing the pay for the mayor and councillors elected this October.
“The question is ‘why are we here?’ For the mayor it is a full-time job, no doubt,” he said. “(But) when it comes to us councillors, I have a different opinion.”
Coun. Terri McConnachie, hardly an obvious political ally of Koehler’s, echoed the sentiment.
“This is not my full-time job, it’s my privilege,” McConnachie said. “A large portion of what we do is public service.”
Not everyone feels the same, both on council and in the public. Some feel paying a part-time wage for putting in the full-time hours councillors are expected to contribute is a barrier to broader representation. Coun. Murry Krause made that argument, supported by Merrick.
But Koehler framed it best with his question – why are we here? If someone wants a seat at the city council table strictly to be gainfully employed and cash a cheque every two weeks, they need to find a different job. Political service should be taken up out of a sense of duty, of giving back to the community.
That’s why Koehler was there and that’s the desire that motivates most people who let their name stand for public office. And when they do get elected, they feel – to use Koehler’s words – honoured and blessed by the trust placed in them by fellow residents to do essential work.
That’s not a job, that’s a calling.
And that’s not romanticizing political responsibilities, that’s properly placing the emphasis on constituents over putting in time and getting paid.
Particularly in light of the federal government’s move to claw back tax-free allowances, the current mayor and council deserve the raises, the first in four years, that will go into the effect for the next city council,
After all, if they wanted to really get paid, they’d apply to work in the bureaucracy where the real bucks are, not in the public eye.
Albert Koehler will not be seeking a third term on council.
“I have come to the conclusion/decision not to let my name stand for re-election in October,” he said in a letter to mayor and council, and released to the media Tuesday.
Koehler said there were a couple of determining factors in his decision, including his age, his health, spending more time with family, and a desire to knock items off his ‘bucket list.’
“I am not the youngest anymore and have a family now with five grandchildren, aged between two and eight years,” he wrote. “Further, my bucket list does not seem to get shorter when it comes to travel, building a cottage and more time for various projects and activities. My wife is planning to retire and we would like to have more time for doing things together. Well, finally and probably most important, I got quite a health scare some months ago. Something that requires close monitoring with the next ‘inspection’ in coming December/January.”
Koehler was first elected in 2011 and crusaded against perennial tax hikes imposed by city council. He funded his own campaigns in both 2011 and 2014, choosing not to fundraise as most other candidates do.
He said the decision not to run was a difficult one as he very much enjoys the position.
“I feel very honoured to have been elected twice by a good number of our residents,” he wrote. “I feel blessed to have been part of important decisions that we made over the years leading to huge betterments in our city. Many results of these decisions will, as you know, show up later and will have a tremendous impact on a positive change of Prince George.
With seven years on council and eight years as the Honourary Consul of Germany for all of northern B.C. he has served 15 years in public service while chairing an industrial operation until just a few years ago.
“I thank all of you for respecting me and my opinion,” he wrote in his letter to council. “All of you are extremely qualified for continuing with the work on council and I wish you much success at the coming election, and Jillian (Merrick) all the best for the future, wherever it leads you. Further, without the superb leadership of our mayor we would, in my opinion, not have been as successful as we have been and the work at council would not have been as enjoyable as it was (still is). Thanks Lyn.”
He also gave a nod to the administrative staff and thanked them for all the assistance.
Koehler’s decision to not seek re-election means there will be at least two new faces on city council after the October 20 election. Jillian Merrick announced last week that she will not be seeking re-election. Kyle Sampson has announced that will be running for city council.
You can now add Albert Koehler’s name to the list of city councillors not running for re-election in Prince George.
He joins Jillian Merrick on the list on who’s vacating their spot on the council as we inch closer to the October 20th Civic Election.
The 71-year old says he wants to take a step back following a personal situation earlier this year.
“A while ago I really wanted to run again but then I had to re-evaluate everything because of my age and a health scare, which caused me to think about everything again.”
“It was a difficult decision but everything in life has an end and that has always been me, I’ve been there for two-terms, have done many other things and we’ll see where my health is going and hopefully it’s OK but I don’t know that yet.”
Koehler has five grandchildren and would like to make room for others.
The local politician has been active on several fronts over the past eight years but refuses to look at his accomplishments in an “I” or “Me” sense and instead implemented a more team-first approach with his fellow council members using terms such as “We”, “Us” and “Ours”.
“I have raised awareness or taxes and tax increases and I have led the campaign to get the fluoride out of the city’s water but council has done this and I just started that. I have been active on the education side especially the engineering program at UNBC for the last 20 years.”
“However, it was council and the city who has supported this, so it was not I, it was again we and who knows, without the city or without council it might not have been there.”
Coun. Albert Koehler announced he won’t be seeking reelection in October in an email to local media on Tuesday.
Koehler is in his seventh year on city council.
“My decision has been difficult because I very much enjoy the work on council and feel very honored to have been elected twice by a good number of our residents,” he wrote in the email.
“I feel blessed to have been part of important decisions that we made over the years leading to huge betterments in our city.”
Koehler thanked the public and his council colleagues for their support and cooperation.
He said he plans to spend more time with his family and his wife, who plans on retiring soon.
“Further, my bucket list does not seem to get shorter when it comes to travel, building a cottage and more time for various projects and activities.”
Prince George, B.C. – Another major sporting event is coming to Prince George.
Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris confirmed today in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Kin 1 the city will host the 2022 BC Summer Games (July 21-24).
Morris said the decision to grant the Games was made by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and was based on several factors the city scored well in.
“Which includes the facilities we have here and the sports venues.”
Acting Mayor Albert Koehler said he welcomed the news another major event is coming to town.
“We have the facilities, our city has a good reputation, we have all the accommodations that are required for big events. It’s good for the city and it’ll certainly bring in some revenue. So why not?”
The BC Games Society estimates over 3,700 athletes, coaches, managers and officials will participate in approximately 18 sports.
It also estimates the economic impact of the BC Summer Games is $2 million.
The provincial government contributes over $2 million annually to the BC Games Society to support the BC Summer and BC Winter Games.
The City of Prince George has committed $45,000 cash and another $50,000 in-kind to host the event while the BC Games Society will contribute over half-a-million dollars.
The last major sporting event the city hosted was the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Prince George last hosted the BC Summer Games in 1990 and before that the BC Winter Games in 1981.