Before becoming a student, Dagan Nish had a wide range of work experiences under his belt – teaching English as a second language in Indonesia, acting professionally with credits on shows like Supernatural, and paying the bills through heavy lifting at a warehouse.
But an injury left him looking for other career options powered more by his mind than his muscles. A career pathfinding program highlighted his interest in helping others after emergencies. This stemmed from witnessing the impact of historic wildfires while growing up in the Okanagan and his experiences in Indonesia, where he observed natural and human-caused disasters and terrorist events.
The facilitators of the career program recommended Dagan consider a career in emergency management which led him to the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s (JIBC) Bachelor of Emergency & Security Management Studies (BESMS) program.
The program was a perfect fit for his interests. “The classes covered an extensive range of subjects and learning materials, while the shared professional experiences of others and their diverse points of view helped connect the dots between theory and real-world application.”
The BESMS program is held entirely online, which came with its benefits, even pre-pandemic.
“The freedom it provided gave me space and time to continue working as an actor, which in turn allowed me to finish school without any student debt. The autonomy and lack of fixed daily schedules also allowed me to get married, travel the world for a year, and start raising children, all while completing my education.”
I didn't realize how much I had gotten out of the program until I got active in the field ... my training prepared me to outpace the expectations of others and provide valuable support in times of crisis
It also helped prepare him to collaborate with colleagues remotely and network without being face-to face, a necessary skill when you can’t rely on body language and vocal nuance to help convey your messages.
While juggling his capstone graduation project at JIBC and working at an Apple Store, Dagan experienced his right-place-at-the-right-time moment. He was invited to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA, for a month to support their global corporate crisis management response to COVID-19 shortly before it was declared a worldwide pandemic.
“This opportunity was a dream come true resulting from years of networking, hard work, patience and tenacity. Managing the most demanding research project of my degree and the new professional responsibilities I was entrusted with during that time was an exhilarating month that called upon all of my education and determination to make it through.”
Once back home in the spring of 2020, his JIBC training in policy development and implementation, as well as his extensive research on policy for his capstone project, enabled Dagan to confidently interpret new COVID-19 safety policies and help implement them at the Apple Store, where he worked.
Shortly after completing his degree program in 2020, Dagan was hired by Whitecap RSC Medical Inc., where he’s worked ever since to provide COVID-19 safety management in the local film industry.
It’s a natural combination of two of his professional interests: acting and emergency management. He manages a team that essentially works to keep film sets safe from COVID-19 – designing operational standards, assessing and managing risk, maintaining compliance with safety protocols, responding to the discovery of positive cases and ensuring business continuity plans are in order.
As part of the business continuity work, he advises executive decision-makers when circumstances threaten the company’s ability to continue filming, and there’s a chance they’ll need to pause production temporarily.
Ask Dagan how his JIBC education prepared him for the role, and he rattles off a long list of courses and subjects that he taps into regularly.
“I didn’t realize how much I had gotten out of the program until I got active in the field. But once I got there, it was obvious my training prepared me to outpace the expectations of others and provide valuable support in times of crisis.”
For more information on JIBC’s Bachelor of Emergency & Security Management, visit jibc.ca/besms.