'Working with foundations students, you get to see everything again for the first time through their eyes'
Q: What is your education and background?
A: I completed my trades training at BCIT to obtain my Red Seal certificate in the steamfitting and pipefitting trade. I’ve got a B Gas ticket for the Province of British Columbia. I’m also Red Seal-certified in Plumbing and am currently working on obtaining my Provincial Instructors Diploma at VCC.
Q: What is your area of interest?
A: I am intrigued by how the brain works to process information. I want to know more about how people learn, so that I can better serve my students.
Q: When did you know you had found your discipline?
A: Initially I graduated high school and was all set to attend UBC in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts Degree and then continue schooling to become a lawyer. I was offered a laborer position for the summer, which led to being offered a pipefitting apprenticeship. After the summer working out in the sun, building, creating and learning how things work, I just couldn’t picture myself in a law library studying to the wee hours of the morning.
Q: Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?
A: I previously worked on the design build team that created the new Trades building at OC in Kelowna. During meetings with the owner’s representatives, I could tell they appreciated their employees as they were making decisions that reflected the instructor’s needs. They also went the extra mile to consider energy and environment in the design, which comes at a higher cost but tells you a lot about a company’s values.
Q: What do you like most about the work you do?
A: Working with foundations students, you get to see everything again for the first time through their eyes. It’s neat to be able to experience the nerves and the excitement with them the first time they light a torch or burst a sprinkler head.
Q: Favourite teaching experience?
A: I had completed a Planting the Seeds teaching workshop and was able to immediately apply what I had learned to the classroom lesson. It was the first time that I had the chance to take the required learning material and offer an alternative way to learning the key points without just assigning reading and self-tests.
Q: Who gave you the best advice you ever received?
A: Rolf Meyer once gave me a framed picture of the quote, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” along with a little history lesson, the original poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public back in 1939 when threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks. I’ve lived through some very stressful days, but nothing quite like the British experienced. Many times, I’ve thought of this quote to help get me through a tough time.
Q: What advice do you have for new students?
A: My advice to new students is to ask questions! Get greedy about your education, ask the questions needed to get clarification so that you fully understand.
Q: Why do you think people should study trades?
A: Honestly, the trades aren’t for everybody but, if you like working outside, building with your hands, if you are a creative person, a problem solver and a team player it might be a good fit for you. Having a trade is something you will never lose. Red Seal trades are recognized in many countries around the world, offering good paying work abroad and travel opportunities. It can be a stepping stone and has the ability to open doors to many other career opportunities such as project management, estimating, business owner or teacher.
Q: If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently?
A: If I could go back in time and do something differently, I probably wouldn’t. I can see that even the worst things that I have lived through played a part in me becoming who I am today.
Q: Where are you the happiest?
A: I am happiest when working on a design project because it’s never really felt like work. Or, at home with my family watching sunsets on my deck with a blanket and a glass of wine.
Plumbing and Piping Trades Certificate
Learn the necessary skills to find employment in the industry as an apprentice plumber, domestic or commercial gasfitter, steamfitter/pipefitter or sprinkle system installer. These foundation courses include aspects of residential, commercial and industrial piping systems with a focus on developing practical skills.
This 25-week (750 hour) program takes a student with little or no previous experience in the piping trades and supplies them with the necessary skills to seek employment in industry as an apprentice Plumber, Steamfitter/Pipefitter or Sprinkler System Installer.