From the time he was a young boy, Dan Dupuis has dreamed of working with airplanes. However while growing up, the high cost of earning a pilot’s license was prohibitive for his family.
After graduating high school and beginning to work, it didn’t look like Dupuis’s dream would be possible.
“I got married pretty young,” he says, which made it difficult to stop working and begin studying for a career change.
It wasn’t until someone connected with Red River College asked Dupuis about what he would consider his dream job to be, that things started to come together.
Dupuis didn’t hesitate. “I answered that my dream job would to be to work with aircraft.”
Shortly thereafter, in 2007, Dupuis began his studies at Red River College. He enrolled in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Diploma program.
Back in elementary and high school, Dupuis was not a strong student, and found studying frustrating. “I didn’t read very well,” he says. “I didn’t like the kind of school work we did.”
However, for Dupuis, studying something that he was passionate about made all the difference.
“Working with aircraft was right up my alley,” he adds.
Dupuis’s interest in and passion for working with aircraft paid off. At his 2008 graduation, Dupuis won an award for achieving the top mark in his class.
For Dupuis, a challenge in his studies was that of finding time and space for studying. Dupuis and his wife have six children, and Dupuis credits his wife for supporting him through his studies at Red River College. “My wife would make sure that I had the quiet space and time that I needed in the house in order to study,” he explains.
The knowledge and passion of his Red River College instructors inspired Dan throughout his studies.
“The instructors were great. They were very understanding, and shared a lot of stories from their personal experience in the industry.”
He recounts listening to the stories that his RRC instructors shared about dealing with aircraft in remote locations like Africa, where they had to tough it out without proper equipment.
After graduating, Dupuis’s first job was at Winnipeg Aviation, and he went on work for Air Canada. He is now employed at Riverside Aircraft Maintenance in Selkirk.
Dupuis appreciates that his classes gave him the chance to learn about aircraft maintenance from a variety of perspectives. “Red River taught me how to be open to learning new things,” says Dupuis. “In aviation, you’re always learning.”
Dupuis has been able to transfer what he learned at the College into a side job.
A few evenings a week, Dupuis works in St. Andrew’s, Manitoba maintaining two privately owned aircraft from the Second World War. His job is to ensure that both aircraft are maintained in good working order. Both aircraft, an A-26 Invader and a Harvard aircraft are still functional, and are flown at airshows and special events.
As for this part of his job: “I love it,” he says.
Profile by Amanda Thorsteinsson (first year, Creative Communications)