Saturday, June 22, 2024

Alumni Spotlight with Keith McDonald

Where and when were you born?

 I was born in St. John’s, NL on Dec. 2, 1977.

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

I am the Manager of Mechanical Services for the St. John’s Regional Fire Department. I currently look after the day-to-day operations of Fleet Management, which consists of overseeing the repairs and completing the purchasing of vehicles for the department. One of the aspects of my job that is rewarding and enjoyable is building fire trucks! It’s a task that not many people get the opportunity to do. You put pen to paper designing the truck you want and you are very involved during the build with the manufacturers. Depending on the truck you are building you have a tangible product in 18-24 months that started on paper.

How does it relate to your diploma or certificate?

In completing my Automotive Technology program, I learned about metal, hydraulic and digital electronic construction. When constructing or repairing a vehicle or piece of equipment, these are very important aspects which have to be considered to end up with a good product. 

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

Deciding whether to work and stay in my home province, or to work outside the province to develop my knowledge and skills further. I did eventually work in remote camp jobs in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, which allowed me to learn new aspects of my career which I can apply daily in my current role.

What’s your favourite place in the world?

I have been fortunate enough to travel this country and some of the United States with my working career and see places that are breathtaking. But nothing beats home, especially when you can see family and friends daily. 

Can you describe an experience that changed your life?

 When I welcomed my kids into the world and watch them grow into young adults.

What’s your favourite movie or book?

My favourite book would have to be Death on The Ice as my great grandfather was one of the survivors. Shawshank Redemption would be my favourite movie, as the main character basically shows you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

It is, I wanted to be in a role and be involved in an industry that allowed me to apply what I had learned from my education and time working in the field as an automotive and heavy equipment technician.

What challenges did you face in launching your career?

Finding a local opportunity to do what I currently do. Fleet management is a role that can include fleet design and construction but those roles are limited in some marketplaces.

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

 Use the tools and knowledge you learn in school and in the workforce to create opportunities for yourself.

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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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