UBC Engineering : Alumni Spotlights
Ken Finch (CIVL '68)
succeeds in business
But engineering is what got him there
"I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be an engineer," says Ken Finch
, who graduated with a BASc in Civil Engineering in 1968.
After finishing high school in Merritt, B.C., UBC
was the logical choice for Ken
who remembers his
five years at university as "some of the best of his
Currently President and CEO of Kal Tire, Canada's largest retail and commercial tire dealership, Ken considers his days at UBC in Civil Engineering as a combination of intellectually challenging courses and great social activities-particularly, he says, the socials with the nurses.
He had originally intended to study electrical or mechanical engineering, but once he arrived at UBC he discovered an aptitude-and a passion-for structures, and joined the Department of Civil Engineering.
He then spent 12 years working as a civil engineer, ending up as Chief Engineer for Permasteel Engineering in Vancouver.
Working at Permasteel, a design-build contractor, Ken found a lot of satisfaction designing both family houses and commercial buildings and then seeing his designs become reality.
In October 1980, Ken joined Kal Tire.
was both pleased and surprised to find out how much his
engineering education helped him succeed in business.
"There's an indirect link between engineering and business," he
"The training you receive as an engineer-the ability to problem solve by gathering the facts, evaluating all aspects of a problem, parsing it out logically and coming to a solid conclusion-that's invaluable in good business."
is now firmly of the belief that business training should be made available to all engineers while they pursue their education.
"Most of the engineers I went to school with have ended up in senior management, and business skills are crucial," he
Ken took over the role of President from Tom Foord in 2005, and continues to enjoy being part of a successful business and a successful team.