Saturday, January 27, 2018

Encore Profile - Robert Scores a Hat Trick as an Encore Hustler

Rob Ferens, hailing from frigid Winnipeg, Manitoba, has scored a Encore Hustler hat trick.  A hat trick, for those who do not follow hockey, is when a player scores three goals in a single game.  Rob  scores in education, catering and event security.

Seven years ago, Rob retired as an employee for the city of Winnipeg.  He spent his career working in the automotive maintenance departments of city Transit and Police Service.  His retirement, to pursue his Encore Hustles, made sense when he turned 55.  By that time his age combined with 33 years of service meant Rob was eligible for a pension that was close to his full time income.  According to Rob it didn't make sense to keep working for essentially $20 a day.

With the security of that pension he was able to retire to pursue his dream of being a chef.  For years, prior to his retirement, Rob ran a side business as a caterer.  Rob, an enthusiastic member of his church choir,  always enjoyed helping out at parish events and would often volunteer to cook for choir fundraisers.  One day he was approached by a fellow parishioner and asked if he would be interested in catering a wedding.  In time this grew into Feren's Feasts that specialized in weddings, holiday parties, church events, picnics and corporate parties.

Post-retirement Rob enrolled in the culinary program at the Louis Riel Arts & Tech Centre, a local community college, and a year later his graduated as a Red Seal Chef, a much coveted certification in the culinary arts.  After graduation Rob transitioned from being a student to a member of the faculty, spending five years working at Louis Riel in the both the Culinary Arts program and the Automotive Technology program.

Last year Rob left the Arts & Tech Centre to accept a position with the Louis Riel School District as an Educational Assistant working at Bistro in the Park, a learning program with the goal for students to achieve life and work skills.  The bistro is a full service restaurant that seats 45 and is open to the public three days a week.

During all this time Rob has continued running Feren's Feasts and has even developed a steak spice called Rob's Rub that he markets by work of mouth, no pun intended.

"BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!" like TV pitchman Ron Popeil like to exclaim.  For in addition to his culinary ventures, Rob has for the last 17 years been a partner in a security team that provides security for local events, such as the Winnipeg Fringe Festive, where he may put in 16 hour days when necessary.  Thus completing his Encore Hat Trick.

Rob has been fortunate to pursue an encore career based on a passion for two important reasons.  First he was able to lay the groundwork for the career by building his catering business while still working full time at his day job.  Secondly he has the security of an employer pension that allowed him to have a safety net while he was obtaining his Red Seal certification.

Now to sweeten that pot even more, Rob turned 62 last year and he elected to begin receiving his Canada Pension, a program akin to US Social Security.

Currently he plans to work within the school system until he turns 65 and then he will take his second "retirement" when he will begin receiving an Old Age Security Supplement on top of the Canada Pension.  After Retirement 2.0 Rob will slow down with only catering and security to keep him busy.

I also forgot to mention that Rob is married to Sandy, a teacher, who is retired from the school system.  A few years ago she spent a semester as a volunteer teaching elementary school children in rural China.  Sandy is leaving the door open on repeating that experience but this time Rob may accompany her.  After all Rob has a wok and would enjoy comparing recipes and learning new techniques.

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