Bennet Den Hoed: Emerging Professional, Enthusiastic Connector
Bennet Den Hoed was excited to begin his post-secondary journey at the University of Alberta because he was ready to step out on his own. He’s a triplet, and he says it’s a running joke in his family that he and his sisters all decided to attend different schools after being in the same classes throughout their childhood.
He’s now in his fifth and final year of mechanical engineering. “University was a really good spot for me to find out who I was,” he explains, smiling. “It helped me get out there and meet more people than I’d ever met before.” Meeting others in the industry is one of the reasons he chose to attend APEGA’s Emerging Professionals Summit in 2021—he was also looking forward to finding out more about the profession.
Den Hoed chose mechanical engineering because of the emphasis on physics and the opportunity to learn a multitude of skills. “It’s considered a diverse field, kind of a jack-of-all-trades to some extent, which was very appealing to me. I figured I’d go to challenge myself.”
An ego check for an extrovert
When he began his courses, he realized he would have to put in the work. “They took all those smart kids from all over Alberta, and Canada, and elsewhere, and put them into one room, and now you’re just kind of middle of the pack. It’s a very good ego check to realize I’m not top of the class anymore.” He said the natural smarts that got him through high school didn’t cut it for a couple of exams, and in his second year, he taught himself to take better notes and study. After that, he met his goals for academic success.Den Hoed considers himself an extrovert. “I have a personal mantra and goal in life to go into every new interaction wanting to make a positive impact with anyone I meet.” He says beyond getting a degree, he believes success involves accumulating goodwill, friends, and connections. “I’m very people-centric.” Den Hoed has struggled with the isolation caused by the pandemic—he patiently waited for in-person classes to resume so he could once again be around his peers and friends.
APEGA’s Emerging Professionals Summit
The Emerging Professionals Summit was one of the first engineering conferences he’d ever attended. “I was in the midst of being fairly isolated, and I am the emerging professional, so I jumped on the opportunity to get a little more involved.” He appreciated having many sessions to choose from and tried to pick those that best suited his personal interests. “It was very neat to hear from some technical people, and some very inspirational people, as well.”
He enjoyed the closing keynote, given by author Nicholas Boothman. “He spoke about how to use interpersonal skills and connections in business, which resonated with me. I very much enjoy making connections and building relationships.” He says one of the tips that stuck with him was when meeting someone new, you should make eye contact long enough to determine their eye colour. “It’s something I hadn’t really thought of, but it’s a neat idea.”
He left the conference with 21 pages of notes and new connections with fellow students and experienced engineers from across the province. He even met some of his virtual connections from the Emerging Professionals Summit in person on campus after returning to university.
Den Hoed recently completed his iron ring ceremony, and graduated in June, saying he will be the quintessential emerging professional when APEGA’s next virtual Emerging Professionals Summit happens in September 2022. He’s looking forward to getting to know the APEGA community better, continuing to grow, and seeing what gems of advice he gleans to use in his burgeoning career.
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