Service to country and community has driven the career of Peter Northover, who is set to leave his post as Shire of Cranbrook chief executive after nine years in the job. Mr Northover had an unconventional path to local government. He served in the Royal Australian Air Force Active Reserve as a maritime operations officer, and worked alongside former Australian governor-general Michael Jeffery. He joined the Royal Flying Doctor Service in 1981 and worked for a decade as the general manager of the WA branch. “I loved the RFDS and I am still passionate about it — it is something that will never leave me,” he said. After 30 years with the RFDS, an “out-of-the-blue” offer led Mr Northover and his family to the Great Southern. “It was an opportunity for me to experience the joys and the close friendships that you form in a small regional community and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” he said. With little experience in local government, Mr Northover brought a fresh set of eyes to his new role as Cranbrook chief executive. “My mantra from that day I arrived in Cranbrook was one of courtesy and respect,” he said. “I’ve been lucky because I’ve had a really supportive council from the day I got here. “It’s been a good partnership and I’ve loved every minute of it.” Mr Northover said he was proud of many achievements during his time at the Shire. “The development of our aged care has been terrific, the repurposing of the IGA here in town to create a really vibrant regional community hub has been really exciting and has been a really great outcome for the community,” he said. Mr Northover said the most rewarding part of his time as chief executive was working with the Cranbrook community and his team. “We’ve got amazing staff. They are really committed, passionate and professional people that go out of their way as best they can to help out,” he said. “I have had four Shire presidents in my time and they have been fantastic. “It is nice that the council has the respect, faith and the trust in the management team and the staff to just get on and do the job.” Mr Northover said he hoped to spend his retirement travelling around Australia and finishing his book about his time with the RFDS.