Senior Economist with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) is a challenging and exciting position for UK native David Chaundy. A six-week contract with APEC turned into a six-month contract which today adds up to over 15 years. “It fits with my values of trying to make a difference on policy topics.” David contributes to APEC publications and research reports and presents to business conferences. And he is a past president of the Atlantic Association of Applied Economists where he created a student competition to stimulate an interest in economics.
David earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Cambridge and a Master’s of Economics from the University of York. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical and family studies at a Christian-based university in Texas. “I felt called to go there. The intent was to become better equipped to serve in a local church.” He found people hospitable and kind. “I was on campus and there was a large proportion of international students, so we met people from different cultures. That contributed to the environment.”
David used his musical gifts in a chorale and concert band. He had been raised in the Salvation Army and played in brass bands as a youth. Today he plays piano and has written Christian worship songs, some of which have been shared at his local church in Dartmouth. He also started a program to encourage youth to become engaged in church and community. David is reflective about his mix of religion and economics. “My beliefs shape my values and how I work and relate to people. Most days it does not affect the economic analysis I do, but my values sometimes inform my view of economics in certain areas.”
We need opportunities and people to match those needs and facilitate economic growth.
David met his New Brunswick-born wife in Texas and they moved to England for three years before coming to Halifax in 1999. “Job prospects for economists in New Brunswick are limited, so Halifax was the best possibility to have a career and be somewhat close to family.” David says the discussion about the role of immigration in our economy is more complicated than just wanting more immigrants. We need a higher immigrant retention rate. “We need opportunities and people to match those needs and facilitate economic growth.” David has worked with ISANS on immigration issues, and says as an immigrant, it’s important to him to feel accepted as part of the community. “This is where I am and this is where I am going to live. I don’t keep wishing I was in the UK.”
Although British culture and language are similar, he found there was a learning curve. “It’s a gradual process but things worked out. We bought a house and started a family.” His two children have inherited their dad’s musical abilities. “With kids and roots, I don’t want to move. It takes a long time to reestablish relationships, change community, church and employer. We’d like to make it work here. ”