Cortes Currents learned that Jason Johnson was going to be Qathen Xwegus Management Corporation’s (QXMC) new General Manager back in June, but at that time he was busy finishing up as Sayward’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Around the time Johnson took over the helm of the Klahoose First Nation’s economic development corporation, I was on vacation for three weeks. We finally sat down on Monday to talk about Johnson’s first five weeks at the helm of QXMC.

Gorge Harbour Marina – Photo by Roy L Hales

His wife is still at home in Sayward, while Johnson lives in an RV on Cortes Island for five or more days a week.

Johnson said a former work colleague with Destination Canada brought the job opening to his attention.

“I looked at it and I thought, ‘Wow!  There’s so much growth with the organization  and so many good things going on that it was hard to pass that one up,’” he said.

Johnson described his first week as a very action packed introduction to QXMC’s operations. He was quickly introduced to Klahoose Forestry, Aquaculture and the Water Taxi before focusing on the two resorts.

Harvesting scallops in Squirrel Cove – Photo courtesy QXMC

“When you’re joining at peak season, particularly when it comes to the resorts, you’re jumping in on very busy times with lots going on. In the case of Gorge Harbour, as an example, some great volume, but also some, dated infrastructure and things that need a bit of care and attention,” he explained.

“You’re also getting to know a whole brand new team and the dynamics of that team. And so I always take the first couple of weeks to be a sponge and learn how things are done.”

He interviewed all 59 of his colleagues at the Marina, to obtain an in depth perspective of the potential and challenges of that operation.

That was at the very beginning of his tenure.

Johnson sketched out his previous employment in the podcast above:

Heading up Desolation Sound on board Goat 1 – courtesy Klahoose Wilderness Resort

“I’m putting together five year plans now for both resort operations and looking forward to working with the board on what that may look like,” he said.

“A lot of planning is going to go into place come October, November. Those shoulder months where we can really spend some time and really plan things out.”

QXMC purchased trailer units for the staff at Gorge Harbour earlier this year and they will soon be moving to a more permanent location.

“We are also exploring moving some of the community infrastructure. The gas, the groceries, that sort of thing closer to the road. That is something that is going to require a lot of planning, a lot of engineering.”

There are also some buildings in the lower part of the resort “that at some point will either need a lot of love or a lot of replacement.”

Some finishing touches are also needed at the Klahoose Wilderness Resort, especially kitchen operations and staff housing.

“So lots of work in the off season for both resorts.”