Set for building

Multi-time graduate and former student-athlete Cameron Henschel ’05/’11 found his passion in building renovations.

By Meaghan Drury ‘12

After finishing high school and taking a year off to consider his options, Cameron Henschel ’05 had joined the Canadian military and was looking to enter postsecondary in a related field, leading him to Mohawk’s Police Foundations program. He joined the college’s Varsity Volleyball team that year as well.

In 2005, he graduated from the program and in 2006 from Advanced Security Management; the same year he and his teammates won the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association (OCAA) Gold Medal for Men’s Volleyball. “It’s been 18 years this summer, since we first played together at Mohawk and I’m still friends with many of [my teammates],” says Cameron.

After graduation, Cameron spent three years exploring his interests and opportunities with volleyball – considering playing with a European league – before changing his focus and returning to Mohawk for the Construction Engineering Technician – Building Renovations program, graduating in 2011 with honours. “At the time I thought, even if I didn’t pursue it as a career, the home building skills that I would develop in the course would help me for the rest of my life,” says Cameron. ”And I ended up falling in love with it.”

With his new diploma in hand, he started out by framing houses then moved on to learning more areas of the business. He says, “The sense of accomplishment of building something with your hands and being able to take a pile of wood and then weeks later seeing a fully built house is pretty gratifying. From there, I didn’t want to go back to anything else.”

He spent the next ten years developing his skills in the construction field while making connections and building relationships with other people in the trades. “Many guys in my class started their own companies right out of school. I wanted to take my time and try out all the different aspects of the business before being the boss,” he says. In April 2021, Cameron was ready to start his own company, Henschel Home Solutions. Within weeks, he was booked well into the fall.

Having developed his skills in the trades the way he had on the court as an athlete, Cameron now sees them working together in his day-to-day life. A project he worked on recently had a few issues in the process from design changes to permits. “Had I not had the years of varsity where you have to adapt and adjust, I might have thrown in the towel. Instead, I sat back and analyzed the scenario and saw how to come at it from a different angle to fix it from there,” he says. “The one thing sports really helped me to learn is keeping your head up for whatever comes at you, because you can’t predict everything, especially in construction.”

Correction: In the printed version of this story, we mistakenly said the Men's Volleyball team won gold at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championship tournament, not the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association (OCAA) championship tournament. In 2006, the men's team placed 5th at the national tournament.