Northwest Community College
Dr. David Try: Bilingual, dual citizen, a pianist for official events, and policy and management expert sharing his experience with those he teaches, mentors, and coaches.
Dr. Try moved to the city of Terrace in 2004, after retiring from a 33-year public service career in policy and management. Since moving to Terrace, Dr. Try has been an active member in the community and well known for his presence as a coach and workshop facilitator through the consulting business he co-owns with his wife, Susan, and for his teaching at Northwest Community College.
Academically, Dr. Try completed his BA in Economics at Carleton University in 1992, and furthered his education through achieving his MBA from the University of Ottawa in 1999. Additionally, Dr. Try has a Masters Degree in research from Bradford University in the United Kingdom which he graduated with in 2006. Dr. Try also graduated with his PhD in Management from Warwick Business School at Warwick University in the United Kingdom in 2005. Moreover, Dr. Try has his Certified Management Consultant Designation and is an Accredited Executive Coach. Dr. Try’s commitment to continuous learning is evident through his academic achievement, and through how he acquired all of his degrees while maintaining demanding full time employment.
Dr. Try can be described as a ‘true generalist,’ as his professional experience includes assignments in every aspect of corporate management. In his public service career, he worked in policy for the federal government, including post-secondary education, agriculture, and health areas. Dr. Try has worked in many government departments, including all of the central agencies. His career has included opportunities to work with the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputy Minister communities, including an assignment as the executive assistance to a deputy minister at the Privy Council Office.
Dr. Try now lives on the Kitselas First Nations Reserve just outside of Terrace, with his wife Susan Bevan. Ms. Bevan has worked for the Kitselas First Nation for 22 years, and currently serves as director of health. Together, Dr. Try and Ms. Bevan own and operate Bevan-Try Management Consulting, where they offer coaching, consulting, facilitation, and workshops to clients sharing their expertise in coaching. As a consultant and coach, Dr. Try has an extensive history of providing assistance to individual clients and organizations across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Some of Dr. Try’s recent work as a consultant includes working with Leadership BC to facilitate leadership workshops; working with the Northern Health Authority in team building and executive coaching and conducting governance research for the Northwest Treaty Tribunal. Through his coaching and consulting, Dr. Try focuses on identifying core issues and innovative solutions, in addition to identifying new horizons and helping others identify and achieve their goals. Dr. Try describes that his “personal priority centers on making a real difference for people and organizations in Northern BC.”
Dr. Try’s focus on making a difference in the lives of others extends well beyond his work as a consultant as well. Dr. Try began teaching students at the University of Ottawa in 2001, as a lecturer sharing his management experience with undergraduate students through managerial economics courses. Since Dr. Try has ‘retired’ and moved to Terrace, he is a full time faculty member at Northwest Community College, where he instructs a wide variety of courses and topics, including but not limited to management, economics, law, communications, strategy and business courses. Additionally, Dr. Try has held various administrative roles at Northwest Community College, including acting as Chair of Health, Coordinator of Business, Coordinator of Computer Technology, and Coordinator of First Nations Public Administration. Dr. Try also leads various workshops in Northern BC, including workshops on business planning and performance management.
Beyond his consulting and teaching, Dr. Try is very active in the community in Terrace. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Terrace Public Library and is the Director of the Terrace Airport Society. Dr. Try is also on the Northwest Community College Board of Governors and was the Vice Chair of the Northwest Community College Education Council. Moreover, Dr. Try is an active entrepreneur, sharing his first-hand experience from running his business, Chill Out Bath and Body Shop at Skeena Mall in Terrace, with his students.
In the ACE Program, Dr. Try shares his entrepreneurial experience through teaching the first course focused on providing entrepreneurs with a framework for analyzing their skills and applying them to opportunity in the community. We asked Dr. Try about his favorite part of working with up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the community is, and he described that for him, the “best part of teaching the program is the opportunity to work with young people – not always young in age, but young in spirit.” Dr. Try explained that the enthusiasm students show about realizing their dreams as entrepreneurs is the best part of spending time in the classroom working with students, as although the entrepreneurial process can be overwhelming, “underlying is that enthusiasm of this belief in their heart and this dream in their heart of something they can do.”
Additionally, Dr. Try describes that he enjoys watching the progress that entrepreneurs make and the success they experience as they go through the program. “Some of the students go from having a dream and a total belief that they can do it to an understanding of what specific steps they have to take to do it. Other students have a dream, but don’t know what the first step is.” Dr. Try explains that through the ACE Program, he sees students “grow in knowledge and experience.” In Dr. Try’s opinion, “the key element is a program coordinator who loves them, hustles them…and points them to the next step of the path.”
What advice does Dr. Try have for entrepreneurs working on the next step in their path?
“Take the next step, whatever that means.” Dr. Try also explains that for entrepreneurs, “successful business is about doing a lot of little things adequately.” Dr. Try elaborates, noting that “[i]t’s going to be about having a facility that’s attractive, having a business model, enough money, enough complimentary products, a sense that you’re serving the needs of your community, your clients, or your patients.” Dr. Try also explains that it’s important to know which activities to do yourself when running a business, and which to obtain support from others with expertise in that area. Dr. Try emphasizes the value in creating a plan that lists out “[t]hese are the key things that are going to make my business successful, this is my role in those key things, and these are the things I’m not going to touch. For me, it would be that I’m not going to do my own finance, I’m going to pay an accountant.” For prospective entrepreneurs considering applying to the ACE Program, Dr. Try notes that the ACE Program “can help you understand the steps that are necessary to realize your dream, but we can’t provide you with the dream itself.” He explains that “[w]e can help you with the knowledge of what steps are required,” but that “[y]ou have to come with a dream, it doesn’t have to be a focused or exact dream, but it has to be a dream of some kind.” Dr. Try also explains that “The teachers that come up and spend time with those students do it because they love it, they want to be here,” to participate in entrepreneurs’ journeys of realizing those dreams. He notes “[t]he collective wisdom of the teachers in the classroom is frankly immense.”
We at ACE are honored to have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Try’s wisdom and expertise, and work with Dr. Try and the entire teaching team as students continue along their entrepreneurial journey. In his free time, Dr. Try enjoys pursuing his next adventures. Some of these adventures include going to farmers markets and biking. Dr. Try describes that he “really enjoy[s] just being [him] and the wind, and getting / staying a little fit is a good feeling too.” Dr. Try adds that a great adventure for him includes “[p]eople, sunshine, and a purpose” (Visit Terrace, Dr. David Try). If you see Dr. Try speeding past on his bike or out enjoying the sunshine in Terrace, make sure you say hello. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Try and his work, make sure to visit these links:
Dr. David Try is an educator of the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program. Many Aboriginal Entrepreneurs have graduated from the award winning ACE Program, which focuses on bridging Aboriginal culture with the key elements of entrepreneurship and business creation. The ACE program made possible through the collective efforts of our partnering regions, communities, institutions, and faculties.