• Sunday, December 9, 2018

Industry Insight: For the love of a challenge - Subscriber Access Only

By BCShippingNews 26 October 2016

Ken Burton describes the choices he’s made in his career as “if the door was open, I was prone to step through it.” Indeed, moving from a background in fine arts, through to medical forensic photography, then the many opportunities presented to him during a career with the RCMP, and finally to Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, it’s difficult to determine which part of his career is the highlight — his time on RCMP patrol boats on B.C.’s coast; his leadership in the Millennium project to trace the route of the St. Roch with a 20-metre aluminum catamaran; his experiences onboard the recent Crystal Serenity voyage through the Northwest Passage; or his current role as Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Regardless of identifying the highlight, there are constant themes throughout Burton’s career that remind one of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” Burton is one of those rare examples of a leader who usually chooses the road “less travelled by” and always excels at the task at hand. And clearly, he loves a challenge.

BCSN: The easiest way to start is at the beginning. Could you provide an overview of how you came to be the Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum?

KB: It’s been an interesting evolution. My background was originally in the arts. I worked at museums in Ontario as well as producing documentary films at Toronto Western Hospital where I became interested in medical forensic photography. Through an early mentor who worked at the Ontario Provincial Police Forensic Lab, I applied for both the OPP and RCMP with the intent on moving into the forensic lab. Being a police officer was the furthest thing from my mind — trust me, they were more apt to be chasing me.