HENRY MURPHY

Perhaps you can think of a person who has travelled around the world, or someone who can claim to have done something few other people have, and maybe another person who has led a successful career. However, it is quite rare to meet someone who has done all three. From working on nuclear weapons, to traveling the world with a dinosaur bone exhibition, to teaching civil engineering at the College, Henry Murphy has lead quite an interesting life.  Read more about Henry’s adventures.

At the tender age of 17, Henry began his career by joining the Royal Canadian Air Force as an air weapons technician during a time when the Cold War was still casting a chill over the globe. His role saw him performing maintenance on Bomarc nuclear missiles, servicing the 20mm cannon on the CF-104 Starfighter, and stationed him in Germany for four years.

After nine years in the military, he decided it was time for a change.  Henry attended the trade school in his home town of Bathurst, New Brunswick and earned his red seal in welding and steel fabricating. He quickly found work in the oil patch, followed by a move to Brenda Mines outside of Peachland. It was the close of the mines that made Henry look for new challenges, which led him to Okanagan College where he completed the Civil Engineering Technology program.

“I wanted to go back to school to go further in my career as a fabricator and welder. I couldn’t go much further without more education, so I came to OC.” After completing the program, he was hired at Northside Industries as a welder. With his education, he quickly advanced in his career.


“They found out that I had all this training and they said, ‘Wow! What are you doing down here? We need an estimator.’ So I went from estimator, to estimating manger, to engineering manager, and all the way up to plant manager.”


During his time at Northside, life gave him an amazing opportunity to travel the world.  The Xterra Foundation in partnership with the Chinese government decided to put on a touring exhibition of ancient dinosaur fossils found in Canada and the Gobi desert in China.

“It was the greatest show on Earth,” remarks Henry.  “After a medical leave from Northside, I went to work for Adria Woodcraft and I designed most of the facades for the show, all the trusses and the walls and stuff.”  Afterwards, the Xterra Foundation hired him to supervise the setup and teardown of each show at destinations around the world including Canada, the USA, Japan, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.  Each time the show needed to be set up or packed up, Henry would take a leave of absence from Northside for three weeks to supervise.  “I travelled the world for four years with the dinosaur exhibit.”

When asked about his memories at Okanagan College, Henry fondly recalled his time there and his graduation.  “It was a three year course, civil and structural [engineering], and it was demanding. Graduation was my most memorable memory at the College. What a party!”


Most recently, Henry returned to his roots at Okanagan College and has been a Lab Technician in the Civil Engineering Technology department for the last five years.


Henry has one piece of advice for today’s students: “When I give advice to students, it’s about your ability, your motivation, and your attitude. Your ability is what you’re capable of doing. Your motivation determines what you do; if you’re motived or not. Your attitude defines how well you do it. So if you have those three qualities, then you’ll do very well in here and anywhere in your life.”

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