7059 LCol (Ret’d) Terry G Senft (RRMC RMC ‘66) has been the RMC Liaison Officer for British Columbia, working with Canadian Forces Recruiting Center Vancouver since 2002. Terry graduated from RMC with a degree in Electrical Engineering followed by a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Manitoba. He served as a Communications and Electronics officer with the Air Force. He retired from the regular force in 1986 and recently retired from the Supplementary Reserve. Following his career in the regular force he worked as a product development project manager for Telus until retiring in 2002.
e-Veritas: Describe the marketing of RRMC/RMC when you were a cadet in comparison to what is now happening at RMC and RMC St. Jean.
Terry Senft: I was initially informed of the ROTP opportunity by two uncles, who had served during World War II and of course I was attracted to RRMC/RMC by the free education and leadership opportunities. While in grade 11, a Canadian Forces recruiter came to my school in small town Saskatchewan. At the time, the military colleges only recruited male undergraduate students. The recruiter showed `On Their Merit/Par leur mérite` which was filmed in 1961 at the three military services colleges. The thirty minute National Film Board of Canada film directed by Donald Wilder was an all-round view of the Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, the bilingual Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, Québec, and Royal Roads, Victoria, British Columbia. The film illustrates the unique and outstanding educational and leadership training sponsored by the Department of National Defence under the Regular Officer Training Plan. Today, there is a requirement for more focussed marketing to young Canadian male and female students and their parents. There are so many career opportunities for young people today and so much more competition between universities in attracting the brightest students each year, that is it now essential to be proactive in marketing RMC, RMC Saint-Jean and ROTP. One of the unique elements of the Red & White program in the regions across Canada is the “personal touch”. We make a special effort to get to know applicants and their parents as much as possible and we reach into communities to help all interested RMC graduates to identify and mentor potential candidates. This is something that the Recruiting Centers do not have the time or resources to do. A broad range of multimedia products have been efficiently produced by the Recruiting Group Multimedia Center in Montreal in the past. Most information, including application forms are available at the Recruiting website (www.forces.ca). CDs and DVDs, such as the `Life at RMC/La vie au CMR` video, are also on the RMC website (www.rmc.ca).
e-veritas: Have you found yourself concerned with any facets of protecting/enhancing the RMC brand since returning as RMC Liaison Officer?
Terry Senft: RMC is now devoting considerable energy to underscoring its strengths, (e.g. significant scholarship and financial aid package) and devoting more attention to students’ needs (e.g. updated residences, sport facilities, safety). The investment in RMC faculty and research is a big selling point. Candidates are attracted to the low student-professor ratio, and the fact that the Royal Military College of Canada has gained RESEARCH Infosource’s designation of “Research University of the Year” in the undergraduate category for the last two consecutive years. I mention to candidates the recent investment in RMC student services and residences. Candidates and their parents are intrigued about the intensive four-component program and the strong focus on leadership training. I find that the recognition of the Royal Military College of Canada, as the Canadian Forces flagship university, is good. Although relatively few BC students have visited Kingston, many students recognize Kingston as a university town with RMC, Queens and St Lawrence College. Despite the geographical challenges, 70 BC students were enrolled in ROTP last year, up from 30 in 2002. Although the majority of successful candidates from British Columbia study at RMC or a civilian university, there are currently 8 BC cadets at RMC St. Jean
e-Veritas: How important are skylarks and ghost stories in the marketing of the military colleges?
Terry Senft: Like many ex-cadets, I have many good stories about skylarks in the military colleges. Cadets frequently display pride and military skills through involvement in skylarks as a leader, participant, fan and/or organizer. The class of 66 RMC newsletter, which is available via the website, www.rmc66cmr.ca, includes a variety of skylarks. In 1966, for example, an ore carrier ship anchored near the college was painted to read RMC. I also recall hearing stories about a ghost in the Commandant’s office at Royal Roads.
e-veritas: As the RMC Liaison Officer, you assist with the development and implementation of plans and strategies for marketing RMC & RMC St Jean programs and courses in the BC area of Canada. What marketing projects are you working on at the moment?
Terry Senft: At present, the recruiting focus is on high school students as well as students in first and second year of college or university. I may focus more on candidates considering postgraduate and distance education programs at RMC in future. RMC Cadets are a great recruiting resource and I coordinate between 15 and 20 trips to BC each year. My goal is to get a cadet into every high school at least once every 3 years. Cadets also come out for major Education and Career shows and the RMC Information Tour events that I sponsor throughout the province. For the past two years, we have participated in the Canadian Universities Events tour with 40 other universities. This two-week tour provides education fairs at 20 major schools. I act as the primary contact for the provision of information, advising, and related assistance to students considering a RMC or RMC Saint-Jean program. I often get leads on potential candidates from guidance counsellors, CF recruiters and sixty Red & White volunteers (RMC Graduates) in different communities throughout the province. I edit a Quarterly newsletter for my Red & White volunteers keeping them abreast of program changes and attraction events where they can help out. I attend a large number of home visits (2 this week) where I respond to any queries regarding the College from the candidates and their parents.
e-veritas: What do you do on a day-to-day basis.
Terry Senft: The fall period is by far the busiest time of the year with attraction activities described above. I also assist the Ex-Cadet Clubs in organizing Cadet Christmas Receptions, where we also invite prospective cadets to meet the extended RMC family. Events like that will generally “seal-the-deal” for any doubting parent. The period following New Years is dominated by mentoring and processing assistance. I run a couple of special programs during the “enrolment phase.” For all successful ROTP candidates from BC, I organize presentations at their graduation ceremonies and issue press releases in home town papers to celebrate their $100,000 scholarship. This gets the attention of a lot of people and is a very effective advertising vehicle. Finally, whenever cadets return home on vacation in May, June or at Christmas, I organize and support them at school visits in their hometowns.
e-veritas: What is the relationship between the Red & White program and Operation CONNECTION?
Terry Senft: The Red & White program has a close connection to Operation CONNECTION. We participate in most regional events of this nature with an RMC booth. Operation CONNECTION, founded in February 2006, provides environmental commands and operational commanders with the tools, information and inspiration to make that connection and attract applicants to the Canadian Forces. The goal of Op CONNECTION is to fill recruiting centres with viable applicants. The CF is looking for support for upcoming events throughout Canada – festivals, ship tours, school visits, vehicle displays, employment fairs, air shows & sporting events. In addition, there is a continuing need to provide contact and mentor names. The CF Recruiting Group prepared senior leaders briefing packages with accompanying video presentation and speaking notes which are helpful in recruiting efforts and provide answers to questions most frequently asked by Canadians interested in joining the CF.
e-Veritas: Do you have any practical tips to share?
Terry Senft: I expect every e-veritas & Veritas reader to recognize their role as a potential CF and military college recruiter. It is important to provide the best possible representation of the CF in general and the military colleges in particular. Tell people what your experiences have been, and how you enjoyed it. It is important to highlight the excitement, the challenges and the rewards. Make it apparent that you’re willing to answer their questions. To help you answer questions accurately, or point the questioners in the right direction for information, familiarize yourself with the Red & White program in your region as well as the local recruiting centre and the key defence websites.
e-Veritas: Since you have been a RMC liaison officer, what have been your favourite special events?
Terry Senft: At RMC I enjoy reunion weekend activities including the legacy dinners, obstacle course and badging parade as well as graduation ceremonies. On the recruiting circuit I enjoy the major Education Fairs and the Canadian Universities events as described above. They are excellent opportunities to get the word out about the Royal Military Colleges.
Interview by E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC ‘03)