Board of Governors student representative shares experience

Meet Dave Visentin – Civil Engineering Technology student. Dave is currently finishing his term as the elected student representative on Georgian College’s Board of Governors.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m the proud father of two boys, husband to Faith (who works as a Digital Learning Technologist in Georgian’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and as the Coordinator of College Foundations), lover of the outdoors and lifelong learner.

I have an unyielding determination to challenge myself and I embrace every opportunity that comes my way.

Dave and his wife Faith all dressed up
Faith and Dave

I hold a Business Administration Accounting diploma from Cambrian College and a Culinary Arts diploma from the Culinary Institute of Canada. I hope to graduate from Georgian with honours this year as a 50th birthday gift to myself!

Professionally, I held various positions at Health Sciences North in Sudbury, and in the food services and finance industries. My journey in the culinary world for the better part of two decades concluded with my tenure as a Sous Chef at Casino Rama, which earned me the Eagle Leadership Award, recognizing my skills and dedication.

What’s your Georgian experience been like? What sets Georgian apart from other institutions is the unparalleled support, motivation and student-centric learning environment. The approachable staff and faculty have been especially beneficial since I identify as a natural introvert.

I was very happy to find out during a student-led panel this year that students from across our many campuses have had the same incredible experience in their programs. However, they don’t have Ryan Habkirk, one of the best professors/teachers (and I’ve had quite a few…) I’ve ever had the privilege of learning from. Ryan’s selfless approach to academics and enriching students’ lives goes well beyond the classroom!

Any memorable moments? There are a few! I had the opportunity to speak with first-year students in my program about my journey at Georgian so far and within my industry through the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT). This was especially rewarding since I have a legitimate fear of speaking. I was inspired by my fellow board member and our Vice President of Student Success Suzie Addison-Toor, who said to me earlier in the year, “Focus on what you can do for the audience, the students, and make that your mission.” Believe it or not, I consider standing up in front of the class that day one of my greatest achievements.

During my second co-op with the City of Barrie, the department I was working for was so impressed with my Georgian-gained skills and proficiency that I secured a permanent role as an engineering inspector, which I’m currently doing while finishing my last two semesters.

Dave outside on street wearing City of Barrie construction hat and safety vest
Dave's two kids holding puppies
Dave’s kids

What influenced you to run for the student position on the board? I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of how this governing body impacts students’ daily lives and futures. I really couldn’t have imagined how rewarding sitting on the Board of Governors would be; I’ve been incredibly fortunate and grateful to have had this experience.

I also sit on Georgian’s Civil Engineering Technician/Technology Program Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors for OACETT for similar reasons. I hope my unique perspective – having experienced education both as a traditional and mature student – enriches my contributions to each of these groups.

What skills do you think are important for today’s grads? Humility, persistence and taking a chance on yourself. It’s hard to put yourself out there, especially with the possibility of rejection, but when it works out, it’s amazing.  Either way, a great opportunity for growth!

Any advice you’d give fellow students?

I can’t emphasize enough the value of hard work, learning from mistakes, surrounding yourself with supportive individuals, and not being afraid to admit when you don’t know something. Also, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams – and I’m proof of that. Just go for it!

Who is your biggest inspiration? My inspiration comes from being a positive role model for my children, demonstrating that reinventing oneself and pursuing passions is always possible. I also draw inspiration from my wife, who not only supports but challenges me to be my best self.

Additionally, my parents serve as sources of inspiration. My mother pursued her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree while balancing our family and her career as a labour and delivery nurse, which she worked as for 45 years. I can’t wait to show her the renovated spaces in the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences. My father still, at 86, continues to work diligently in his woodshop, crafting meaningful gifts for loved ones.

Tell us a little bit about life outside Georgian. My roots in Northern Ontario run deep. I love hunting, fishing and the outdoors. My upbringing instilled in me a deep respect for life and the importance of providing for one’s family.

I co-coach my youngest son’s U8 soccer team. I also really enjoy music, especially The Tragically Hip. Whenever I can, I give back – supporting initiatives like the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund and Movember. I’m committed to highlighting these important issues, which have impacted my family and so many others.

Our family is lucky to have three adult Wiener dogs who fill our lives with constant love and affection. During the pandemic, we seized the opportunity to have a litter of Dachshund puppies, who went on to their forever homes made up of close family and friends. 

Student representative position

Interested in running for the student representative position on the Board of Governors? There’s one position available each year open to all students at all campuses. This is a volunteer, elected position. Nominations are open March 4 to 15. The campaign period is March 18 to 29. Voting takes place April 2 to 4.

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