Alum of the month: Douglas Groenendijk

Douglas Groenendijk grins while standing in a vast green field with a mountain range behind him.

January 13, 2023 - 10:00am

Since graduating in 2019, Douglas Groenendijk has appeared on the reality TV series, Farming for Love, and started developing business plans to start his own farm, Legend Dairy Farms.

Groenendijk graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Major in Finance. He was a right-side hitter for the Mariner men’s volleyball team. And during his time on the team he received the 2019 PACWEST Championships Most Valuable Player, Championships Semi-Finals Player of the Match, and First Team League All-Star. The Mariners won gold at PACWEST in 2019 and silver in 2018.

We caught up with Groenendijk to learn more about his time at VIU, his experience being on a reality tv show and what’s next for him.

Why did you choose VIU for your education? 

After spending a few years studying off the Island I wanted to come back and study at VIU to build a network to help root myself on the Island. 

Tell us a bit about your experience at VIU and in your program.

Commuting from Cowichan meant I spent lots of time on campus in between classes and volleyball practices. I took advantage of this time to really focus on my studies talking with fellow classmates, visiting and asking questions with my professors during their office hours or working out at the VIU gym. The business program really gave me the knowledge to understand the inner workings of running your own business. The Canadian Institute of Financial Planning financial courses VIU offered have been some of the most practical courses I took.

You were a member of the VIU men’s volleyball team and the 2019 PACWEST Championships MVP. How did being part of the Mariners impact your life/educational experience at VIU?

Being a mariner has made me always strive for excellence. Whether it was in the classroom or on the court. I was always trying to improve and become better student and player. Made many lifelong friends from being part of the mariner squad. The success of my final year as Mariner also helped me get recruited to play professional volleyball in Europe where I spent a year playing professionally.

What are you most proud of since completing your program at VIU? 

This summer I was selected for the Dairy New Entrant Program! The objective of the new entrant program is to encourage and facilitate people to enter the dairy industry as new producers. There were many steps to get to that point, I put together a very extensive business plan and presented it to a committee of industry experts. This program will significantly help me start my own dairy operation, Legend Dairy Farms.

Douglas Groenendijk holds a black and white dog while standing in a field.

You are one of six Canadian farmers on the CTV reality series Farming For Love. Why did you apply to be on the show?

I never planned on being part of a reality series, but the opportunity was presented to me and I thought it would be a great chance to find someone really special through a very unique experience. Didn’t think I would end up being selected, but I’m happy to be a part of the first season of Farming for Love

What has it been like to be part of a reality television series and is there anything that has surprised you?

Going through the whole process before, during and after, I have learned a lot about myself and how to communicate my feelings and emotions with others. 

Why did you decide to help out in the family business? 

I found my passion for dairy farming at a young age, following my dad around the farm, falling asleep in the tractor while he worked, learning to drive a tractor and working with the cattle up close through 4-H. Having experienced some interesting years away from farming in university, playing volleyball in Europe and working in several other farm and non-farm settings, has deepened my resolve to make farming my desired career choice. I thrive in its dynamic and diverse activities – from milking to feeding cows and all the field work.  

Are there any aspects of your degree you use in your career of choice?

My time completing my degree at VIU was well spent, it gave me the knowledge to run my own business, from running project comparisons, marketing my own eggs, or budgeting. My business degree has been very useful since graduation. 

What is it like being a farmer in this day and age?

It’s challenging with the current state the economy, rising interest rates, inflation, increase input costs and all the other challenges farmers face. The industry is continually evolving, and I love to learn and be challenged by doing it better. 

What’s next for you? 

The next step will be to get my own dairy farm, Legend Dairy Farms, up and running. Hoping to start production in the first half of 2023, so lots of work ahead of me.

Tags: Business Administration | Finance | Mariners | Our Alumni

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