Within the last year, three alumni of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen’s have launched their careers upon graduation at Dane Creek Capital Corp., a privately held Canadian merchant banking venture dedicated to the pet industry. The five-year-old company offers financial and management support to companies in the companion animal sector. Its portfolio features various manufacturing and retail locations across Canada and includes frozen raw pet food brands, natural pet health supplement brands, pet specialty retailers and alternative protein ingredient suppliers.

As Analysts at the organization, the three Queen’s Engineering alumni—Lauren Boyne, Rasmus Hvid, and Alessia Martino—are excellent examples of the interdisciplinary nature of the engineering profession, evidence that the skills easily transcend traditional roles for engineers. We asked them to share some things about their evolution and experiences at Queen’s and as engineers.

How did you choose engineering? What was the inspiration?

Lauren: I chose engineering because throughout my high school education I really enjoyed problem solving and wanted to pursue a career that would challenge me to consistently find ways of improvement in any area of a business.

Rasmus: I’ve always been fascinated with understanding how things work and the impact that innovative and good design can have. Mechanical engineering posed an obvious fit in that it would provide me a foundation for how the tangible things we interact with everyday work and how they can be improved upon.

Alessia: I have always been interested in learning more about how things work and problem solving, which is why I went into engineering. To me engineering also seemed like a perfect foundation for any career path I may choose down the line. I always wanted to keep as many doors open as possible and with my engineering degree I feel as though I have done that, and that my career has endless possibilities because of the foundational skills it has taught me.

Lauren Boyne

How did your training—and your previous positions—prepare you for your role today?

Lauren: The biggest thing my degree taught me was how to effectively work in a team and also how to efficiently learn new skills. This really prepared me for my previous positions and my current role because all the projects that I have worked on have entailed working in a group!

Rasmus: The most important thing I’ve taken away from my time at Queen’s is the importance of carrying out thorough due diligence on the system you’re working on. When I embark on a new project, past failures have trained me to theorize all the possible ways which something might fail, how I can evaluate said issue in a low-risk environment and what other solution or improvements may exist.

Alessia: My engineering degree taught me a unique way to solve problems which I am able to apply to my role today. Being able to see a problem from a different perspective and use data to draw conclusions is something that I was taught through my engineering degree at Queen’s. I also held multiple summer internships at a large Canadian bank. Here I was able to take a dive into the business world and identify and practice how my skills acquired from my engineering degree could be applied to business.

Rasmus Hvid
What lessons have you learned that you’d like to share?

Lauren: I think that an important lesson that I have learned is that in order to be successful you need to put in the work. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions because people are always willing to offer you help!

Rasmus: It’s never too early to start focusing on what the next step in your career or life is. The last year of networking helped give me an understanding that although success always comes as by-product of hard work, it’s almost always intertwined with a serendipitous moment. And although unplanned, a fortunate discovery still requires you to be looking in the first place.

Alessia: A lesson I have learned is that if you are willing to put in the time and effort you will see results.

If you could speak to yourself 10 years ago, what advice would you offer?

Lauren: I would tell myself that it is important to pursue my passions and that you truly can do anything you want as long as you are willing to put in the work.

Rasmus: Buy Bitcoin.

Alessia: If I could speak to myself 10 years ago, I would tell myself to not sweat the small things. I like to remind myself of the quote, “If it won't matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about it.”

Alessia Martino

Who inspires you?

Lauren: My biggest role model is Michelle Obama because she is an incredibly hard worker and has consistently been driven to follow her passions. Another person who inspires me is my mom, who is constantly thinking of new ideas and is the most tenacious person I know.

Rasmus: In general, I find inspiration from those who saw what everyone else missed. In recent times, the most glaring example of this is the meteoric rise of Gamestop (GME) in the face of market manipulation from institutional investors. In this case, a small group of retail investors from Reddit’s WallStreetBets uncovered what was happening behind the scenes and the rest is history.

Alessia: Someone who inspires me is Elon Musk. I am inspired by his vision for the world as well as his passion to show to the world how you can make a real change. I also admire his work ethic and his display of passion towards what he works on.