If someone had told Rick Bennett when he was working at a “dead-end” job after high school that one day he would be a project manager for the 25th largest company in the world, he would have laughed. Today, Bennett enjoys a successful career as a certified engineering technologist and he attributes that to the education and skills he gained at NBCC. Let’s chat more with Rick about his story:
Why did you choose NBCC?
After working several different dead-end jobs for about five years after high school, I received a phone call saying that employment insurance was going to help me financially to go back to school and pursue drafting. That started my path to attending NBCC.
While taking general drafting at NBCC St. Andrews, a Civil Engineering student visited the classroom to demonstrate auto-CAD and other technologies they were using at the time. I was wowed at the depth of knowledge she had after just a two-year program and said, “I want to do that!”
I made the move to NBCC Moncton to take civil engineering. I was accepted into Pre-Technology which I had to complete before enrolling in Civil Engineering Technology.
I truly thought that I was in over my head because the course was very difficult, but I stuck with it – I put in the time and hard work and got through it. My instructors were great, very supportive and helped me out a great deal when I was having troubles.
Tell us about your time at NBCC ... funny stories, fond memories, teachers who made a difference, etc.
The Instructors were always there for me and I had the utmost respect for them. College was fun but a lot of hard work as well. I played on the hockey team and took part in Winter Carnival. Overall it was a great deal of hard work, but I came out trained for a career with tangible skills.
What path did you take since you left NBCC? Describe your profession now (title, employer, description of job).
In the fall after graduating, I worked for a consulting engineering firm for ten years. During that time, I oversaw the construction of sub-divisions, water reservoirs, water and wastewater treatment facilities. Today I oversee a state of the art water treatment plant, operated by Veolia Water, and have the highest certification level in the industry. I supervise seven employees and manage the budget, daily operations and maintenance for not only this facility but three others facilities located within Atlantic Canada. The majority of the people I work with are also NBCC alumni.
What have been your personal and professional accomplishments and community involvement since leaving NBCC?
I am married with a beautiful family and they always come first - barring an emergency at the plant of course! I work actively in the community to promote our company because I am proud of where I work and what I do. I am very pleased with the position that I have and the role I play on a daily basis. Going into work every day is rewarding. My accomplishments include becoming a certified engineering technologist, a Class 4 water treatment plant operator and also certified in all remaining disciplines. I am always proud to tell people that I am a NBCC alumnus and have had opportunities to speak to high school graduates about the great opportunities that NBCC has to offer.
What is the best kept secret about NBCC?
College is fun. You’ll meet people that become lifelong friends. I still keep in touch with friends that I made at NBCC. I think it is the best bang for the buck when it comes to post-secondary education; it is very affordable for the value of education as you come out ready for the workforce.
What would you tell a prospective student about NBCC?
If you put your mind to it, the opportunities are there. NBCC opened many doors for me to get into the profession that I’m in today. NBCC is a great option because they are local and in multiple communities throughout the Province.
My daughter and her friends are saying that they want to go to NBCC because they see what I was able to do with a two-year program. I tell people to come on out and see what I do on a daily basis and the variety of work involved. I still have NBCC instructors visit my plant annually and that is so gratifying. I do about 25-30 tours a year.
What is your favourite thing about your life/job now?
I’m healthy and have a fantastic family. I’m proud to be a project manager for the facilities that I am overseeing. It is truly a pleasure to come to work every day, and I believe that the education I received from NBCC allowed me to have the life that I live today. Without NBCC, I would not have been financially able to do many of the wonderful things that I have done with my family.
With my position and the company I work for, there are opportunities for my family and I to relocate throughout the World. Life is fantastic, it really is. In the past prior to NBCC, I had many dead-end jobs and I often think, “Where would I be if I hadn’t gone to college?” I’m very proud of what I have achieved and where I come from. Our past is what has made us who we are today: NBCC has definitely played a major role in my past for sure!