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Alumni News

Alan Dick

Alumni share gift of wisdom with Class of 2016

June 15, 2016

Thank you to our distinguished alumni keynote speakers who addressed Sheridan’s newest graduates during Convocation week from June 6 to 9. Here’s a snapshot of the hard-won wisdom they shared with the Class of 2016.

Nathan Buhler
Nathan Buhler (Architectural Technology, 2007)
Co-founder, BLDG Workshop
Twitter: @bldgworkshop
Nathan Buhler is a notable Canadian architect with a passion for custom home, cottage renovation and addition projects. He co-founded Toronto-based design firm BLDG Workshop with fellow alumnus, Jorge Torres. One of Buhler’s recent designs, The Bunkie, was unveiled at Toronto’s 2013 IIDEX interior design show and was featured in The Globe and Mail.

Nathan's advice to the graduating class:
- Your life is going to grow and be built brick by brick. If you want those bricks to stand the test of time, you need to build on something that you know is true, and unalterable, and straight and strong.

- The secret of life is to find the one thing that matters to you.

- If the one thing that matters most in your life looks like giving, the more it has the power to direct your life into one of happiness and fulfilment.

- I heard a very wise man say that people almost always over-estimate what they can accomplish in one year, and they always under-estimate what they can accomplish in 10 years.

Alan Dick
Alan Dick (Business Administration – Marketing, 1981)
Senior VP of Strategy, Jacobs Engineering; Past President,
Alpert & Alpert Iron and Metal

In February 2016, Alan Dick was appointed Senior VP of Strategy for Jacobs Engineering, a Fortune 500 professional services company. Prior to this, Dick was President, Alpert & Alpert Iron & Metal in Los Angeles, California. In 2012, he was Executive VP and CEO, Global Recycling for Aleris International in Cleveland, Ohio.

Alan's advice:
- Generosity comes in the form of your time. Look for opportunities to give away your abilities for somebody else’s benefit, not looking for a pay day in return.

- Do not become so focused that the truly important things in life suffer. I am not saying that your career won’t have to take priority at times. Simply ensure that it isn’t the only thing in life that matters.

- Be humble. Remember that you didn’t make it to this place today all on your own. As you embark on your careers and enjoy success, it will be because others helped. Someone gave you that chance.

- When you write you story, will you be able to say that you lived in humility, with gratefulness for what you have been given?

Randy Pilon
Randy Pilon (Business, 1982, Sheridan lead donor)
President & CEO, Virox Technologies Inc.
Twitter: @ViroxAHP
Randy Pilon is President and CEO of Virox Technologies Inc., a global leader in hydrogen peroxide-based infection control products. He credits his time at Sheridan for laying the foundation for his success. After graduation, Pilon joined Bausch & Lomb where he rose through the ranks to become the company’s youngest vice-president. In 1998, he ventured out on his own to launch Virox.

Randy's advice:
- Think about what will be, not what is. We need thinkers and creators, not imitators. I encourage you to think beyond the obvious. Be your own brand; don't wait for a ship to come in - swim out and find one.

- Have a plan, even a rough one. Set some goals for yourself, with timelines. Make them aggressive yet realistic. Find out what the obstacles are and plan around them.

- Go from good to great. You will find out pretty quickly what your competencies are. 80% of sustainable growth companies have a niche or focus; they do something very well and become the best at it.

- Life is 5% about what is happens to you and 95% about how you deal with it. In your career you will have up days but also you will get frustrated and discouraged at times. How you choose to react to situations will define you and your path.

Zaib Shaikh
Zaib Shaikh (Theatre and Drama Studies, 1997)
Film Commissioner & Director of Entertainment Industries, City of Toronto
Twitter: @Zaib_Shaikh
Zaib Shaikh assumed his position as Toronto’s Film Commissioner & Director of Entertainment Industries in May 2014. Born and raised in Toronto, Shaikh is a well-known actor, writer, director and producer. He is probably best known for his starring role as Imam Amaar Rashid on CBC’s international hit comedy, Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Zaib's advice:
- You're unique because you bring your 'me' to the collective 'we'. Thinking about the ‘me’ only gets you half way there. It’s the ‘we’ that makes the magic happen.

- In 2016 and beyond, more than ever, you'll find yourself better equipped to meet the world head on if you are able to accommodate, accept and embrace the diversity around you.

- I learned that I had been given not just a gift, but a responsibility.

- The hope is that the energy and momentum of this moment will propel us all together as a group towards helping create a smarter, more valuable and much better world.