The general manager of Whiteface Mountain Ski Center will step down from that job this fall as he prepares to become the pastor of his church.
Bruce McCulley, 50, confirmed Friday that he will retire in September after 31 years of employment with the large, state-run ski area to enter into the ministry with High Peaks Church in Saranac Lake.
"This is something that's always been one of my passions for a long time, to minister in the church," McCulley said. "This has been a goal of mine for some time and now I'm ready to pursue it."
Bruce McCulley, general manager of Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington, will retire in September to enter into the ministry with High Peaks Church in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise file photo)
"He's been a great general manager," Jon Lundin, spokesman for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority which runs Whiteface, told the Enterprise. "He's been terrific in leading the mountain during his time as general manager. His technical expertise and the respect that his employees have for him are terrific tributes to the work that he's done."
McCulley began working for at Whiteface in his late teens and has stayed there for his entire adult life. He first started as a lift operator and snowmaker, and later moved into supervisory and foreman positions.
He was promoted to assistant general manager in 1996 and served in that capacity until August 2009, when he replaced Jay Rand as general manager. Rand left the job to become executive director of the New York Ski Educational Foundation.
"This has just been great for me," McCulley said. "Anybody who likes the things I like - the outdoors, the people, etc. - this has really been just a dream job. Working for the Olympic Authority, Ted Blazer, the great leadership - it's just been really great.
"Thirty-one years goes by fast," he added. "I have this passion to serve and to minister in the gospel, so the opportunity is here and I feel like it's time to do that."
McCulley said he's watched things "change dramatically and significantly" at ORDA over the last three decades. He said the authority has improved its operations.
"I've been able to have my fingers in a lot of different things, and that's been great," he said.
McCulley is ordained as a minister now, although he said he will take classes as part of his transition into the role of pastor for High Peaks Church.
"This is a great opportunity for me to pour my heart into the gospel," he said.
Pastor Don Curry of the New Testament Church in Massena has served as interim pastor for High Peaks Church since Jan. 1, 2011. Before he entered into the interim role, Mike and Kim Stanley led the church.
"He's extremely well qualified, not just from a leadership perspective, but from a biblical and theological perspective," Curry said. "He's a very capable leader with one of the purist pastoral hearts I've ever seen.
"The church will be in extremely capable hands," he added. "I believe he will lead the church as a genuine positive light for the Tri-Lakes area. I think he will do a remarkable job."
McCulley's father and grandfather also served in the ministry.
Lundin said that between now and September, ORDA will be in a "transition period" as it prepares to appoint a new general manager. McCulley said he hasn't talked in great length with ORDA leadership about his role in that transition but is willing to help in any way he can.
McCulley lives in Vermontville with his wife Zoe and their son Micah, who attends elementary school locally.