Ben Rudson is a Senior Associate based in the Calgary, Canada office. Ben joined Stroud in September 2017 upon graduating from the Applied Mathematics and Engineering program from Queen’s University. In his spare time Ben is also an accomplished triathlete - he is the reigning Canadian Amateur National Champion in Olympic distance triathlon and has represented Canada at the Ironman World Championships.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY ON SITE LOOK LIKE?
My passion for triathlon plays a large role in my life and subsequently my life on site as well. My day usually begins at 5:00am with a quick breakfast in my hotel room before hopping in the car and heading to the local pool. I aim to be diving into the water by 6:00am and heading back to my hotel by 7:30am. A quick change of clothes and a second breakfast and I am on my way to the client site. Our morning production meeting with the plant’s senior leadership is where we share results from the prior day and align on the daily priorities. I spend the rest of the morning on the production floor conducting speed trials, problem solving, and implementing new solutions and procedures with the operators. I like to head off-site for lunch in order to clear my head and gather my thoughts. When I return from lunch I will follow-up with management and share with them observations from the morning. I quickly crunch some numbers on my computer before heading back down to the floor to check on the afternoon shift. I’ll finish my work day by documenting the day in my journal and charting out the plan for the next day.
My latest work site is on the edge of a city and borders on rural areas. These areas are prime locations for fantastic cycling and running. I bring my equipment with me in the morning and head right from work on some awesome post workday adventures, sometimes as long as 4 hours! I then grab some dinner on my drive back to the hotel, catch up on any emails I received while out cycling and running, and then get everything ready to repeat it all the next day!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR WEEK?
My favourite part of the week is Friday when the whole Calgary office returns home for an internal day. It is great to catch-up with everyone and to share stories, challenges and insights from our respective client sites. Weeks on-site have their ups-and-downs, but I find returning to Calgary and spending time with my colleagues grounds me and helps get me refocused and recharged for the upcoming week. It is also a great time to get a lot of feedback to help progress towards my personal development objectives.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR WORK AT STROUD?
The best part of working at Stroud is that there is never a dull day! When we get brought in by clients they have high expectations of us and make sure that any barriers or challenges that may prevent us from achieving progress are mitigated. As a result, there is lots of internal support in our work - it’s rare to run into hindrances due to a lack of resources, personnel, etc. This allows us to work “full steam ahead” and make a ton of progress and drive massive results in a short period of time.
WHAT WERE YOU SURPRISED BY IN YOUR FIRST FEW MONTHS OF WORK?
I was most surprised by the amount of autonomy and how much trust I was given in my first few months at Stroud. While other consulting firms often shelter new hires and relegate them to behind-the-scenes data analytic roles, Stroud empowered me and within the first week I was presenting findings of my independent work to senior leadership of a major oil and gas company. While I certainly used my manager and other Stroudies for feedback and guidance, I was given full control to build the narrative I wanted to share-out.
WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I am an avid triathlete and take full advantage of living in beautiful Calgary, Alberta. During the summer months I spend most of my time swimming in one of the many outdoor pools around the city, biking in the Rocky Mountains and running in town along the Bow River. Summer weather in the Calgary area is awesome - it is almost guaranteed to be sunny with clear skies with temperatures in the mid-20Cs and minimal humidity. In the winter, most of my triathlon training shifts indoors, but I try to incorporate skate skiing into my weekend routine as cross-training. We have some world-class trails in the Calgary area. Year-round I am an avid urban cyclist and a proud member of #YYCFrostBike - a group of hearty (read: crazy) cyclists who brave the cold Calgary winters to commute by bike. My 2017/18 personal best was -27C with a wind chill of -35C.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ACCOMPLISHING NEXT AT STROUD?
I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to mentor and coach the next generation of Stroudies. I have had the privilege of working with some great line managers and senior members of the company who have been incredibly invested in my personal development. As such, I have seen substantial gains in both my professional and personal lives. I look forward to “paying it forward” so that the next generation of Stroudies are set-up for success and are able to develop as fast as possible.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK AT STROUD?
During fall recruitment I pursued opportunities with several different consulting firms. At the beginning of the process Stroud was low on my radar - in fact I only attended the on-campus info session because a group of friends were going. As I learned more about the company and the faces behind Stroud I grew more and more excited about the prospect of working for the firm. All the Stroudies I met in the recruitment process were very down to earth and I felt comfortable being myself around them. By the time I was awarded an offer, Stroud was my clear preference and I was incredibly excited to join the team.
WHAT SKILLS/ADVICE/ETC. HAVE BEEN MOST HELPFUL TO YOU WHILE WORKING AT STROUD?
Anyone can learn the skills to build spreadsheets and crunch numbers, however, data analysis will only get you part of the way to the solution. Interpersonal skills and empathy are pivotal in determining your success on-site. At Stroud, I work with people from incredibly diverse occupations, educational backgrounds, cultures, ages, etc. - often all in one day! It’s incredibly important that I build and maintain these relationships. These people provide me with tremendous amounts of knowledge, insight, help and resources, and are key to finding success on-site.
Ben’s favorite insights: