Loney takes helm of Summer Festival

The following article appeared in the February 13 edition of The Highlander. jb

By Mark Arike
Staff writer

The Highlands Summer Festival has its first general manager.
On Feb. 5, the local theatre company announced that the board of directors had appointed local resident Ken Loney to the newly formed position at a January board meeting.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” said Loney, who served on the board for two years. “It’s going to be interesting to work through the various challenges that make the general manager’s position do what the board of directors wanted it to do to start with.”
The Festival received a $108,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to establish the three-year, part-time position. As a member of the board, Loney worked on the grant application in its early stages before knowing that he would end up applying.
“I helped write the application on the front end,” he laughed, “but it got to a point where we had to draw a line. I backed away from it and the rest of the board took it over.”

Ken Loney served on the Highlands Summer Festival's board of directors for two years before being appointed to the position of general manager. He starts the job on March 3.

Ken Loney, The new General Manager of the Highlands Summer Festival. (Photo by Mark Arike)

Loney had a chat with his wife Wendy before submitting his application on the final day of the job posting.
“It was a long discussion,” he said, explaining that he and his wife enjoy taking trips in their fifth wheel.
“The discussion was to realize that our summers are shot for three years. But the way we do our road trips, we do them at other times of the year.”
As general manager, Loney will work an average of 25 hours per week to oversee the business side of the operation and assist with the launch of a new youth program called Early Stages.
“I’m really kind of excited about that. I have a support role there in terms of making the arrangement for things that have to be in place for a program like that to succeed.”
The four-week program, which launches this summer, will connect post-secondary theatre students with local elementary school children.
Highlands Summer Festival president Jack Brezina is excited to welcome Loney to the position, which has a March 3 start date.
“We are delighted with the selection,” said Brezina in a press release. “Highlands Summer Festival has grown to a size where it needed a permanent employee to help manage the company throughout the year.”
Loney plans on pursuing grant opportunities and hopes to see the position continue after the three-year contract ends.
“If we do it right, we will generate enough new revenue to be able to make it into a full-time position that is funded by the revenue stream of the Festival.”
In addition to his new-found duties, Loney has a passion for music. He is a member of the Highlands Male Chorus, Festival Singers, and three different bands.
“That’s plenty,” he chuckled, adding that he builds guitars in his spare time. “Right now my guitar building is suffering due to a lack of hours to devote to it.”


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