The head coach of the George McDougall Mustangs football team is preparing for a different sort of contest – a City council election campaign.
Chris Glass, who has been coaching the Mustangs for seven seasons and previously coached the Airdrie Raiders midget football team, said he was motivated to enter the race for a chance to be part of the municipal decision-making process, particularly when it came to sports facilities and resources.
“One of the things that I noticed while coaching football in Airdrie is that we lacked the facilities to host provincial, national, and international events here,” he said.
He explained that dearth of amenities is why he took the initiative in 2019 to gather like-minded individuals to form the Airdrie Turf Field Project Society. The society’s sole goal is to lobby and obtain funding for the installation of artificial turf at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park.
“I’m not the type of person to wait for somebody else to do something,” Glass added.
Outside of coaching, the sports enthusiast has been in the aviation industry for more than two decades, having worked for WestJet and the Edmonton International Airport. He said he currently works for Flyht Aerospace Solutions, building aviation software.
In 2006, Glass’ job had him move back to Calgary, where he is originally from. Upon his return, he said he couldn’t afford to buy a house in the city, which led him to purchase a home in Airdrie.
However, after getting to know people in the community, Glass said Airdrie became more than just where he would lay his head at night.
“Airdrie became home for me relatively quick after that,” he said. “Once you start coaching enough kids and meeting enough parents and meeting enough community members, you start to put down roots in a place.”
Glass added that even though his main motivation in running for council is the turf field project, he will advocate for other important projects and initiatives as well, if elected.
He said this includes proper resource planning for a proposed recreation centre on the west side of the city, and policies and projects to help boost sports tourism in the community.
“As much as I’m a passionate football guy who wants to see the turf field get built here – I started to see that I could really accomplish some things that I think are important to me,” he said.
The first-time candidate said his solutions-focused approach to problem-solving and his humble nature is what makes him a good fit for the job, explaining that focusing on a cooperative effort toward an outcome is most efficient in getting work done. He added that one of the most important attributes of a City councillor is approachability.
In regard to the field turf project, Glass said he was able to be successful in his advocacy because of his connections in the community, which allowed him to cut through red tape. He wants to ensure other individuals with ideas and fewer connections aren’t left out of the process.
“My concern is, what happens to people that are just as passionate about things that may not have the same connections or may not have the same ability to meet people and go to things?” he said, “How do we get their concerns heard? How do we get their projects on the docket?”
Glass’ ultimate goal, he said, is to develop Airdrie into a community that caters to individuals in all walks of life, and has services and amenities to keep business local and attract others to the area.
“I would like to make Airdrie a destination for sports, a destination for festivals, a destination for small businesses, and a destination for engaged citizens,” he said. “I want to take the city I know and love to the world out there that may not know about us already.”
A campaign website for Glass is not entirely up and running as of press time, but will eventually be accessible via chrisglassforairdrie.com