News: Ontario News

Meet Michael Burnie - next up in our MISA Ontario Membership Series

December 22, 2016  
Posted by: Jacqueline O'Hara
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Michael Burnie is the IT Coordinator for the Township of Springwater,.  When asked, what is the most rewarding part of his job he replied:

 “I’m a big fan of process automation. It’s great when I can call upon my programming background to build forms and business processes that save the organization time and resources.”.

Michael was wonderful enough to take time from being a one-man IT Team and spend the very limited time he has to help wrap up our membership series for 2016.


Obligatory first question, do you follow us on our social media to get the most up to date information about us?

I do now! The app was particularly handy at the last conference.

Glad you found the app helpful for InfoSec!  We will be using it again for the Annual Conference at Windsor. How did you first get involved with MISA Ontario and what was your first impression of us?

Springwater’s previous Clerk told me about MISA after I landed my position at the Township. I specifically remember him saying something along the lines of, “if you’re in IT and not in MISA, you’re NOBODY!”. Not long after that, I attended my first MISA conference and quickly learned that he wasn’t just being funny. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful.

Everyone reading this I want you to know that Michael’s previous Clerk, who said that awesome quote, said that all by himself. Michael, mind confirming? 

He absolutely did; however, I contacted him to be sure. He decided to do what Clerks do best—complicate things—by changing his original quote to: “if you’re in IT and not in MISA, you’re missing countless networking and professional development opportunities that can't be easily realized in the municipal sector.” I think his new position must have made him less fun.

I personally love it, let’s put it on a T-Shirt.  Moving on, how has MISA Ontario helped you in your development and career?

I’m still new to the game but I’ve already brought many ideas to my work that I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for MISA. I’ve also made connections with people much more intelligent than I. On the smaller scale, I got a standing desk because of a conversation I had with a few colleagues at the dinner table. Strangely, that was one of the most valuable conversations I had at the last conference because it’s improved my overall health.

What are some of the benefits that you take advantage of as a member? (i.e. Webinars? Job Postings, Forums, related news articles, etc.…)

I periodically check the website for news articles and details on the upcoming conferences. The discount on the conferences is a huge help too.

What is it about our association that makes municipalities like yours renew every year?

It seems municipalities hold the conferences in high regard, which is why we will be renewing. The community and the resources MISA offers are the icing and cherries on top!                     

MISA Ontario is known for their conferences have you attended any?  If so what do you remember most our conferences when you have attended them?

This past 2016 conference was my first MISA conference experience. All of it is still fresh in my mind, but the most memorable moments come from connecting with other municipalities and vendors. Who could forget the hypnotist? That was a blast.

Can you give me an example of how you have been able to connect with municipalities and/or vendors since joining our association?

I probably met more people in a few hours of the MISA conference than most people might meet in a year! There was an abundance of other attendees in similar situations in terms of experience because there’s such a vast diversity of people. Fortunately for me, there were many members who are one-man IT teams like myself and I learned a lot from them. Shout out to Mike at the Town of Erin for being so helpful, even long after the conference!

Shout out to all one-man IT teams!  That must be quite the challenge, being a smaller municipality it must be great to be able to connect with those who share the same experiences as you.

Absolutely. I learn new things each day with this job and even more so from the other IT professionals I’ve met at MISA.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

Even though I’m not in great shape, I try to bike to work every day during the warmer months. I’m surprised that I’ve kept it up for this long, especially without being run over.

That’s fantastic!  The fact that you can bike to work daily and opted for a standing desk just proves you’re in better shape than most.  Especially in a career in IT, it’s critical to keep your health as top priority in order to the best job you can.  Got any fitness tips you can share for the coming winter?

I’m probably one of the last person to ask for fitness advice! That said, I think people need to be more open to do little things like going for walks. It’s not exactly an intense workout, but it clears the mind and it feels so refreshing after being out in the cold. Plus, according to Neil Pasricha (one of our keynote speakers), it’ll help make you happy if you can do it 3 times a week! I also believe that if it takes too much effort to start a routine, it probably won’t stay on your routine. For example, I recently began doing a 15-minute workout at the office after hours. This way, I don’t have to sign up for a gym membership, drive to the gym 3-5 days a week, have a change of workout clothes on hand, and so on. I just stay a bit late after work and I have a shower when I get home. It’s the lazy approach to exercise!

What TV shows, podcasts, apps, YouTube channels or websites are you really into recently?

I’d last an embarrassingly short amount of time in the wilderness due to a lack of the internet, YouTube, and Netflix. Stranger Things was the last show I really enjoyed. Lately, when I feel like doing something productive, I’ve been tuning into Cybrary.it. It seems to be a good (and free) resource to work towards certifications or just to learn.

I hear Stranger Things is amazing.  Will have to check out Cybrary.it.  Sounds helpful and who doesn’t love free? 

No doubt there are many IT professionals who struggle with limited training budgets. I hope it helps at least one of them out.

Finally, it’s important to get the word out about us, what would you tell someone who is thinking about being a MISA Ontario member?

If you’re in IT and not in MISA, you’re nobody!

Well you are definitely somebody, thank you so much Michael for this interview.  Have a fantastic holiday break and we’ll see you in the new year and hopefully at the annual conference in June!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thank you so much for this interview Michael.  You can connect with Michael on his LinkedIn profile. To learn more about the benefits and fees of our membership you can click on the links below.


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