Candidate Profile: Meka Okochi For Mayor

Name: Meka Okochi

Current Occupation: Vice President & Director of Economic Development at Regina Regional Opportunities Commission (Regina’s Economic Development & Tourism Agency)

Voter Information: Phone: 306-552-9664, Email: [email protected] , Website: www.meka2012.ca , Twitter: @meka4mayor, Facebook: www.facebook.com/meka4mayor

• Professional engineer with experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors.

• Has worked in oil and gas, infrastructure, technology innovation, business development and economic development.

• Previous work experience: Leader, Business Development for SaskEnergy; Vice President, Innovation and Business Development for Communities of Tomorrow (an economic development partnership focused on municipal infrastructure innovation).

• Education: Master’s degree with Distinction in Chemical Engineering, specializing in Environmentally Sustainable Process Technology (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden); currently completing his Ph.D. thesis in Environmental Systems Engineering (University of Regina, Canada); published author in the field of sustainable municipal infrastructure and recipient of a number of scholarships and awards.

• Global experience: Has lived, studied and worked around the world; grew up in Lagos, Tokyo and Paris; studied and worked on continents as diverse as Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and Australia.

QUESTION AND ANSWER

1. Briefly, why are you running for mayor?
This election will be crucial in defining Regina’s future, and the kind of city we leave behind for future generations. Today, Regina is experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity. But our city also faces a number of important decisions and challenges that could undermine the greater opportunities that this season offers. We need fresh thinking and thoughtful, responsive leadership to move Regina forward. I am hopeful I can offer that new energy and fresh insight. And together, we can make Regina a vibrant world-class city, with advanced physical and digital infrastructure; a high quality destination for individuals and families to live in.

2. What is the single most pressing issue facing Regina? How would you solve it?
Infrastructure. Without a doubt. We have a huge infrastructure deficit running into the billions. Without sound infrastructure, we can’t sustain livelihoods and a strong economy.

Here is what I plan to do to address this issue:

1. Investment in the development or adoption of new infrastructure technologies, or the improvement of existing ones in areas of high-priority needs for Regina;

2. Positioning of information and communications technology as a key infrastructure deployment and management tool to make Regina one of Canada’s smartest cities of the future;

3. The exploration of innovative infrastructure funding mechanisms that are stable, flexible and predictable; and

4. Advancing and implementing a well-thought out and forward-looking long-term public infrastructure plan.

3. Beyond immediate concerns like housing, the stadium and infrastructure renewal, what “big idea” project do you want to work on that nobody seems to be talking about?
Developing and implementing a long‐term science and technology strategy for policing, emergency response and public safety.

4. Name something the last council got right.
The development of the City’s new Official Community Plan, Design Regina.

5. Now, point out their biggest mistake.
The poor handling of major projects such as City Square Plaza and the Stadium, which has resulted in divisive public debates.

6. What are you reading these days?
Tons and tons of emails from Regina residents!

7. Beyond your residence, do you own any property in Regina or in the immediate area?
No.

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FUN QUESTIONS!

1. What is your favourite Regina restaurant?
The one I eat in when I’m starving.

2. Who is your favourite Regina artist?
Lloyd Dubois.

3. What actor would play you in the gritty cable drama, Queen City Hall?
Matt Damon

4. How would your character die?
Die? I live forever…

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PICK A SIDE

Cats or Dogs? Dogs

Vampires or Werewolves? Is that all you got?

Boxing or Roller Derby? Roller Derby

Steak or Sushi? Sushi

Hill Towers or Legislative Building? Legislative Building

Quance Street or Dewdney Avenue? Dewdney Avenue

Artesian or Wascana Park Gazebo? Artesian

Prairie Dog or Richardson Ground Squirrel? Prairie Dog…isn’t that the name of this magazine? Let’s go with that.

Giant Grasshopper or Stegosaurus? Giant Grasshopper…only because of the beer.

Saskaboom or SaskAdvantage? SaskAdvantage

Bike or Sports Car? Sports Car!!

Le Macaron or Five Guys? Five Guys…I’m hungry right now…first things first

The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? The Beatles…I still want a yellow submarine!

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BONUS QUESTION: Make up your own question (And answer it, of course!)
What is your favourite Regina coffee shop?
Atlantis…had to give a shout out to my fav hangout spot!

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Find out about all the other people running in this election on our Candidate Profiles page. And follow all of our online election coverage — including interviews, analysis and podcasts — on our Regina City Election 2012 page.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.