Ontario Tech student union president wants to focus on student representation

Ontario Tech Student Union President, Owen Davis in front of the campus library. Photo credit: Dennis Price

Earlier this year, Owen Davis opened up a new chapter in his life when he ran for the position of student union president and won it. Davis officially started his new role this past May.

The 22-year-old London native is a nuclear engineering and management student at the now rebranded Ontario Tech University. This semester marks his fifth year at the university.

Davis starts his mornings by eating eggs for breakfast every day, sometimes with bacon or on a bagel, but always eggs. He doesn’t drink coffee with breakfast or by itself, it’s a drink that Davis has never consumed, according to his long-time roommate, Kaitlyn Brown.

Brown has been Davis’ roommate since they were both first-year students. She is in the same program and found the news of Davis running for student union president shocking, but the results of the election didn’t have the same effect.

Once Davis puts his mind to something, Brown says he gets it done.

Davis is the bridge between students and the university, as well as staff and faculty. The responsibility to represent more than 10,000 university students didn’t hit him until much later.

“It didn’t feel like something or real until I sat foot into my office for the first day,” Owen says.

A typical day for Davis is insanely busy, but he’ll never complain about it.

When you see him on campus, he’s a very calm and composed person, off-campus he’s very much the same. Brown says she saw how much work Davis is putting into his job as student union president.

“But to Owen, it’s part of the job, and I think he likes the hectic nature of it,” Brown says. “It keeps him on his toes.”

Currently, his focus is student union president but there is a future after his presidency.

He was inspired to take a path in nuclear engineering because of a graduate of the program and current senior advisor in stakeholder relations at Ontario Power Generation, Matthew Mairinger.

Davis saw him as a tremendous role model in terms of where he is today in the nuclear engineering industry. On top of all that, Mairinger is under 30, which Davis found truly inspiring as someone in his early 20s trying to get into the industry.

His young age is why he is a huge advocate and leader of ‘North American Young Generation in Nuclear’, a group which provides opportunities to young nuclear enthusiasts to connect to industry professionals.

That inspiration changed his career goal dramatically, even after he first stepped on campus back in 2015. At first, Davis wanted to be a nuclear operator.

“So like Homer Simpson at a nuclear power plant where I operate the reactors,” he explains. “Obviously a bit better than him.”

Davis’ career goal in nuclear engineering slowly evolved to project procurement, which involves ordering all the parts and development in refurbishment projects at nuclear reactors.

Now his goal is to have more of a leadership role as a project manager who oversees every aspect of the agenda and generally tells everyone what to do. This is not a surprising fact given Davis’ current position at Ontario Tech.

Davis’ primary focus as president is to do one thing that he felt he wasn’t getting enough of as a student: representation.

That isn’t a knock against the previous student union administration but Davis feels he can build upon their work and improve as a president throughout the year.

“It’s been awesome to watch him grow as a student, as a person, and as a President,” Brown says.

And yet, Davis sometimes doesn’t feel he is doing enough in his job as president. When he is questioning himself, Davis’ core group of friends remind him what a fantastic job he is doing.

“When someone acknowledges it… what I’m doing is good,” he says. “that is the best sort of compliment.”