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Alumni Engagement

Machine Shop alum inspires new grads to keep learning

July 30, 2020

Don Fletcher gives alumni address at February convocation ceremony

Twice a year, Red River College students flock to the Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall with a gaggle of family members in tow. They don distinct caps and gowns, transforming into a sea of black with flashes of red (tassels – not feathers). They wear their regalia with pride: this is the moment where students become graduates; they’ve earned their wings and now it’s time to fly.

This June, Red River College had to adapt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting a virtual convocation in place of our traditional in-person celebration. But back in February – what seems like a lifetime ago – we were able to salute our grads at the Concert Hall in style.

Don Fletcher, an RRC Machine Shop Apprentice grad of 1982, welcomed our Winter 2020 grads to the RRC alumni community with a memorable speech.

His main piece of advice to students?

“With hard work, perseverance, and some good old-fashioned luck, everything you do will come back to help you.”

A self-professed workaholic, Fletcher worked as a conductor for CN and in construction for three decades before he decided to work solely on creating his own products.

“My education at Red River College laid the groundwork upon which I was able to tackle a diverse range of career choices, building complimentary skills that all led to my “Eureka” moment,” said Fletcher.

Inspiration struck in the bathtub of all places, and the idea behind his latest invention, Nice Trim Fit, was born.

“I was able to design and build Nice Trim Fit using the very skills I learned at Red River College nearly 40 years ago,” he said.

Nice Trim Fit is a sealing system that’s easily installed on tubs, showers, backsplashes, baseboards and even toilets to protect them from mold, mildew and leaks. It’s not only effective – lasting longer than traditional sealants – but also environmentally-friendly, reducing waste by eliminating the need to be replaced.

The product is now available at most home improvement stores, as well as online. Fletcher says that RV companies, hotel chains, and cruise lines are also showing interest in Nice Trim Fit.

“It’s really taking off now,” he said. “I just have to get manufacturing up and running to meet demand.”

Success hasn’t been instant – it’s taken a lot of grit, determination, and patience. But now that Nice Trim Fit is gaining momentum in the marketplace, Fletcher is ready to start working on the other inventions he’s thought of.

“I’ve got a list of inventions I’m working on – I have three I want to put out this year that are all environmentally-sustainable,” Fletcher said. “These next three are even better than Nice Trim Fit.”

With a podcast, a potential reality competition television show for inventors, and more exciting things on the horizon for Fletcher, he maintains that he still remains an inventor at heart – and that’s what he intends to focus on.

“This is a part of me – I’ll always be inventing and creating. I’m an artist.”

Fletcher believes that life never stops providing you with opportunities to learn. As a lifelong learner himself, he plans to keep on learning, adapting, and innovating. We look forward to seeing where life takes Fletcher next!

You can read more about Fletcher’s journey from general contractor to serial inventor here.

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