Summer Jobs: Dave Button, Vice-President, Administration

By Dale Johnson Posted: August 3, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Dave Button says he learned about physical stress by parachute jumping.
Dave Button says he learned about physical stress by parachute jumping. Photo: U of R Photography.

This is part of a series in which some leaders at the University of Regina talk about their summer jobs.

What was your best summer job, and why?

As a Royal Military College cadet, for my summers during University I traveled from Kingston, Ontario, to Chilliwack, B.C., to military engineering training. This involved the entire gamut of practical combat engineering where we learn how to enable the movement of friendly forces and deny the same to the enemy. As such, we build roads, bridges, heliports, water treatment, mine fields and booby traps, and dismantle the same.

What was your worst summer job, and why?

Prior to University I worked as a grocery clerk in Cold Lake, Alberta. In the summer it wasn't bad, but in the winter the store also had an option to deliver groceries to the customers’ homes. This wasn't so much fun in northern Alberta when it was minus 40 and windy!

What was your most interesting summer job, and why?

The engineering training was always interesting. Since we had to learn to both build and destroy all infrastructure, I recall with interest our troop toiling for 20 hours one day to build a heliport halfway up a mountain. The next day we were a few kilometres away building a bridge and heard a huge "kaboom" in the direction of our heliport and we knew that the other troop had been given the assignment to destroy our work – all part of realistic training.

What was your most unusual summer job, and why?

During one of the summers of military engineering training, I had an additional three weeks of "airborne" parachute qualification. In addition to a lot of running and thousands of pushups, I did eight military jumps, with the culminating jump as a night time jump with an 80-pound pack, snowshoes and rifle.

What lessons from you summer jobs have stayed with you?

All of the military training provided significant leadership, organization and time management skills that have been valuable throughout my career. The airborne training really showed how much physical stress and endurance you can really manage. There is always more in you than you think, so never give up!