As a University of the Fraser Valley student, Daniel Huesken was a hard-studying tree planter.
Nowadays, the 27-year-old UFV Geography alumnus is better known as ‘Mr. Maclean’s’.
Pictured punching GPS coordinates while perched above a topographical map of B.C.’s interior forest district, Huesken is featured prominently in Maclean’s magazine’s 2015 Guide to Jobs in Canada — an annual publication aimed at helping youth make ‘informed decisions about post-secondary education and career choices, from hot jobs to jobs of the future’.
Working as a geographic information systems (GIS) technician, Huesken was selected by Maclean’s partially because he opened more doors by extending his education to include UFV’s GIS certificate.
Halfway through his degree, Huesken realized he’d coincidentally accumulated several credits towards GIS completion.
“I figured I might as well extend my education by a semester or so and get my GIS certificate, too.”
That extra accreditation helped him land the GIS job at West Fraser Timber in Williams Lake, where he makes maps with computer software while keeping tabs on timber inventory.
Essentially, tree planting led to tree planning.
“I’d go work in the bush all summer, then come home to study geography at UFV,” recalls the Sardis Secondary graduate.
“Now, rather than being out in the bush in the middle of nowhere, I’m sitting at a desk. It’s a little more comfortable.”
Huesken wasn’t sure if he was being pranked when Maclean’s first came calling.
“When they flew a photographer from Vancouver to Williams Lake I knew it was real,” he said. He was told the magazine found him via LinkedIn, the popular business-oriented social networking service.
Though he hadn’t used the account “in forever”, it was all Maclean’s needed to set the wheels in motion. The photographer’s visit caused quite a stir in his usually quiet office, leading a new nickname: Mr. Maclean’s.
“We’ve had some fun with it for sure. It’s not something that happens every day.”
The national exposure could be seen as a natural evolution from the days Huesken spent as a member of the UFV Geography Undergraduate Society. He earned the Doug Nicol annual geography department scholarship while in his final year in the BSc in Geography program in 2012, and was that year’s UFV Undergraduate Research Excellence Award (UREA) winner for Geography for his work in the Luminescence Dating Laboratory.
In 2012, Huesken was also awarded a prestigious NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) to conduct further research in the Luminescence Dating Laboratory. He then joined UFV professor Olav Lian and others conducting research at Kelly Lake with colleagues from NASA.
“Dan was one of our top Geography students,” Lian recalls.
“He has a very positive personality, which together with his enthusiasm and keenness for research made him a positive role model in my lab.”
Huesken was simply following his passion.
“I loved it,” he says of his UFV experience, “especially my work with Olav.
“The entire geography department was like a family to me, and it still is, actually.”
Maclean’s 2015 Guide to Jobs in Canada can be found at newsstands across the country, or online for Maclean’s subscribers at macleans.ca.
Other ‘cool jobs’ include: dinosaur maker, scientific glass blower, and gay wedding officiant.