On the last page of every issue of Industry West, we find a Saskatchewan business person or leader to answer our version of the Proust Questionnaire. Marcel Proust made the questionnaire famous, believing that 35 specific questions could reveal a person’s true nature. We grabbed this idea—you’ve probably seen it in Vanity Fair—and made our own version. The first five questions are ours, and then we ask our subject to pick their favourite Proust questions to answer.
Say hello to Benson Thoudsanikone, CEO at PBN Construction.
- Where are you from? Born and raised in the Queen City. I am proud to be a first-generation Canadian, my parents are originally from southeast Asia (Laos).
- Where did you attend school and what did you study? I am a professional engineer AND a CPA (clearly the editors of IW were running low this month on interesting candidates for “The Last Page”). I earned a B.Sc. Civil Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in 2004, an MBA from the Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business at University of Regina in 2010, a CPA/CMA designation in 2012 and I am studying for the ICD.D (Rotman Directors Education Program) now.
- What is your career history? After university, I was young, naïve and had big dreams, so I moved to Vancouver to work in consulting at EBA Engineering (now Tetra Tech). Like the prodigal son, I then moved back to the Motherland in 2007 to work at SaskPower where I spent nine years in power production, supply planning and business development. In 2015, I left SaskPower to help start Kitsaki Vegetation Services and was the GM. I am now the CEO of PBN Construction where I have been for the last three years.
- What’s the best piece of business or career advice you have or have been given? “Sometimes you have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” I took it to mean to never be complacent and to always grow by continually challenging yourself in new situations.
- What’s your favourite thing about Saskatchewan? In no logical order—the sunshine, the friendly people and of course…the Roughriders.
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? The simple things in life…a clean house, hot coffee, fresh sheets and finding a crisp $20 bill in the pockets of your newly washed jeans/
- When and where were you happiest? February 3, 2013—the birth of my son, right then life suddenly had different meaning. Second happiest was Superbowl XLVIII when the Seattle Seahawks routed the Denver Broncos 43-8. A small tear rolls down my cheek when I think about both to this day.
- Which talent would you most like to have? Superstrength—because you just never know when you need to save a school bus full of children falling off a destroyed bridge or when you need to open a stubborn jar of pickles from your pantry. Close second is “Blue Steel” from the movie Zoolander.
- What is your most treasured possession? My exquisite collection of sneakers and fine training shoes. I hope to open a museum someday.
- How would you like to die? If I’m going to go out…I’m doing so saving the universe just like Iron Man did in Avengers: Endgame. Sorry not today, Thanos.