For a guy who didn’t quite know what he wanted to do with his life when he graduated from high school, Russell Dyson hasn’t done too bad.
Now the administrator with the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, Dyson was born at the old West Coast General Hospital in November of 1963.
One of two children born to Jack and Mary Dyson, Russell attended the former Faber Elementary School until Grade 7 before attending Shawnigan Lake School.
Dyson wasn’t very far from home while at Shawnigan as fellow students Alberto and Ron Girotto were also from Port Alberni.
His favourite school subject and teacher were synonymous. “I liked physics, which was taught by Mr. Lane,” Dyson said of Stephen Lane, now head of science at Shawnigan.
“He made the subject interesting, relevant and fun.”
Active in athletics, Dyson participated in rugby, squash and rowing in school. The highlight of his time with Shawnigan was a three-week cultural trip to England when Dyson was in Grade 10.
Dyson didn’t have any heroes per se while growing up but he was a hockey fan. “I liked Jean Beliveau from the Montreal Canadiens and I didn’t like the Edmonton Oilers,” Dyson said.
He graduated in 1981 but didn’t immediately move on to college or university right away.
“I had no clue what I wanted to do yet,” said Dyson, whose father passed away during his graduation year.
“I took a year off and worked at the Crofton Pulp Mill and on construction projects.”
He also skied a lot during his time off and inadvertently found direction. He met some people who were into landscape architecture, something Dyson hadn’t heard of. “It married my love of the outdoors and being active with design and planning,” he said.
Dyson attended then Malaspina College for two years of arts courses then a landscape architecture program at the University of BC, where he graduated in 1988.
The Comox-Strathcona Regional District parks planning department was where Dyson first worked after UBC. “It was different than school but it was what I expected,” he said.
Dyson moved to the Lantzville Improvement District as an administrator before moving home to work as the city clerk in Port Alberni. He assumed the administrator’s post at the ACRD earlier this year.
Dyson is lanky but sturdily built, so it’s no surprise to learn that he’s a farm boy. He and wife Jennifer own 170 acres in the Valley where they raise beef, blueberries and produce.
“I love the outdoors and animals,’ Dyson said. “And it’s physical work like sports but it’s different.”
When he’s not reading reports, statistics, or office correspondence Dyson tries to get in a little personal reading, and is trying to finish The Man That Killed by Fraser Nixon.
Dyson’s favourite movie is Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, which Dyson says is an exceptional character study. “It’s Clint at his best.”
If he could visit any other time period it would be the 1970s, not for the disco but for the hockey. “I’d like to watch the Montreal Canadiens dynasty again.”
The Dysons have one son – Edward, 19, who plays hockey and is a goaltender with the Dawson Creek Rage.