Monday, May 27, 2024

Alumni Spotlight with Eugene Tobin

Where and when were you born?

I was born in a government-run hospital in Stephenville Crossing, NL, on Friday, August 12, 1960. I make note of a government hospital because we lived in Stephenville with a hospital on the Ernest Harmon American Air Force Base and it was operated Americans. My parents told me they had to drive out of town for me to be born.

What is your current job and list some things you like about it?

I am currently employed as a Senior Development Officer (Development Officer II), with the City of Grande Prairie in northern Alberta. Things I like about my job is engaging with and providing customer first service to the public, industry stakeholders, internal departments, external agencies, senior management, and City Council.

How does it relate to your diploma or certificate?

In 2008, I earned a Diploma in Civil Engineering Technology, Corner Brook campus. I also hold a Diploma in Computer Aided Drafting from Westviking College in Stephenville, 1996, (now a CNA’s Bay St. George campus), and a Diploma in Mineral Technology from Bay St George Community College, 1983 (same CNA campus). I apply the knowledge I acquired from all three CNA programs over a 27- year time frame every day.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your lifetime?

The hardest thing I have ever did in my lifetime was saying goodbye to a co-worker who was critically injured in a traffic accident. He rolled over on a dirt road just outside our camp in northern NL in the summer of 1989. He passed away a short while later in a helicopter on his way to hospital. Tragic.

What’s your favourite place in the world?

My favourite place in the world is in a chalet at Pirate’s Haven Resort in Robinsons, on the southwestern coast of NL with other privateers and great friends. Adventure awaits!

Can you describe an experience that changed your life?

The experience that changed my life was the birth of my children and consequently living my life precariously through them as they grew into young adults. Difficult to describe really … life changing, what a ride and now I have grand kids to spoil!

What’s your favourite movie or book?

I love a good western, so for me it must be Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood. It was directed by Eastwood and won four Academy Awards. The other great movie on my list is The Godfather, it won three Academy Awards. As for books, anything Stephen King will do just fine, but a shoutout to Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

The past 21 years I have been focused on municipal government roles. Back in the day, I applied for a coordinator position at my place of work, and I approached HR about my chances of an interview. I was told, without hesitation, that I was not management material, mid-management, maybe, someday, not today. From that date forward I was motivated and determined to make it to senior management, and I did! After which I applied for a job at my former place of work, not because I wanted it, but to show that individual my resume. Proof I made it and was misjudged!

What challenges did you face in launching your career?

The biggest challenge in establishing my career was earning my Diploma in Civil Engineering at CNA while working full-time and raising a family. I attended the required classes/labs during regular school hours and made up the time at work by coming in early, taking a short lunch, working late, and coming in on weekends, if needed. I paid the tuition upfront and was reimbursed a percentage of it, but only if I passed a course, and there were 10 courses, one course a semester for five years. Money was tight for us, failure was not an option, and I would not have succeeded without the support of my wife and family.

What advice would you give to your CNA first-year self?

To my first-year self I would say stick with it. Some classes will be difficult and challenging at times. There will be instances when you get frustrated, want to abandon it all, and question a topic or a lecture that you feel is a complete waste of time. However, I can attest that after you graduate and are working, you’ll come across a problem, and you’ll recall what was learned that day and you’ll apply it to an issue with confidence. Trust me, you can do this!

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Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.


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