Canadian PGA president Lindon Garron wandered into a reception for Canadian visitors to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando last Friday and was immediately hit with the question about when the new association executive director would be named.
Garron wasn’t biting, but as it turns out, the successful candidate was his sidekick that evening, somebody who had been doing the job, for all intents and purposes, for the last three months, albeit with an interim designation.
Director of education Gary Bernard had been doing the job since the end of October when Steve Carroll, who eventually landed with the Royal Canadian Golf Association, resigned after five years on the job.
As he listened to Garron being asked about the identity of the new executive director, Bernard already knew it was him – but not for very long.
“I was told that this is between you, your wife and your dog,” said Bernard, who says he didn’t even tell other family members about his new post until it was announced to Canadian PGA members and the media on Sunday.
The dog didn’t even spill the beans and this one, despite the efforts of a nosy blogger, stayed quiet until the official announcement.
Bernard says it came at the end of a long, exhaustive process that included face-to-face meetings with McKinley Solutions and the Canadian PGA selection committee.
“I think it’s important that our members understand that the selection committee and the search firm were absolutely diligent and I thank them for that,” said Bernard.
“I think every member should feel sure that they didn’t just throw a bunch of names into a hat and pull them out and say, `Well, we should pick Gary or Joe or Bill or whoever,’” he added.
A diligent search effort was definitely required with several issues facing the Canadian PGA including employment, another attempt to pass the Professional Advancement, Career Enhancement (PACE) program and a return of the now dormant Canadian PGA Championship, among others.
Bernard admits that it was a long and drawn-out process for him.
“I must admit that it’s like any job thing or trying out for a team. You’re hoping that it will come eventually to an end and maybe a little quicker than it did,” said Bernard.
“Obviously, being the successful candidate, I’m thrilled with the whole process. It was well done, both from a search firm perspective and from the perspective of our board members who were on the selection committee,” he added.
“It’s a long way from working at a club and working as an apprentice,” said Bernard.
However, it’s his history of coming up through the ranks in the Canadian PGA that he feels will help him in his new post.
We’ll take a look at what Bernard feels will be his strengths in tomorrow’s blog.