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Enzo De Benetti

Employee Profile: Enzo De Benetti
Consultant, RAC Spectrum & Telecommunications

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Words attributed to Chinese philosopher Confucius more than 2,400 years ago seem to apply to Enzo De Benetti today.

So, too, does the Confucian curse ‘may you live in interesting times.’ For more than 35 years at CN Rail, De Benetti loved the job and the people.  As retirement loomed, the still-young man and his wife, Brenda, had planned to travel to a bucket list of places: Spain, France, Peru. They also had a granddaughter on the way.

Then, COVID got in the way.

Their well laid plans were postponed.

And De Benetti embarked on a second career happily. De Benetti first walked up from Montréal’s Central Station into CN Rail’s corporate towers in the spring of 1984. When the Thunder Bay, Ontario native arrived in the city that would become his adult home he fell in love, twice. First with the European flavour of Montreal’s arts and cultural scene.

Then with the physiotherapist, Brenda, with whom he would raise three children in their home on Montréal’s South Shore.

As a young man, De Benetti says he always had a passion for “finding out how things work, trouble- shooting, making them better.” Engineering was a natural fit, and studying electrical engineering held particular interest. It was toward the end of his four years at Kingston’s Queen’s University that CN came calling. He was recruited at an on-campus career expo.

“I didn’t have a clue that I would have had the career opportunities I did,” he recalls.

His early years at CN took him across Canada, with signals and communications projects in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and BC. He installed one of Canada’s first fibre-optic networks, countless radio dispatch and signal systems, and – later – positive train control technology that would be adopted in the United States.

He retired as the technical lead for wireless technologies at CN. A new chapter beckoned. But the global pandemic hit. Original plans were postponed, and De Benetti started writing a new storyline at the Railway Association of Canada (RAC).

There is a spectrum of radio frequencies that are critical to modern rail systems’ safety and efficiency. They need a guardian. Someone who can protect them from encroachment by non-rail actors. De Benetti is now RAC’s point-man for interactions with government and rail companies across Canada and the United States.

He works with the various players to keep an up-to-date database of radio sites and web apps, and to ensure the frequencies are kept clear of interference. If additional spectrum is needed, he works with government to secure it. In short, he uses his extensive knowledge and people skills to make sure everyone is communicating well, loud and clear

It’s quite the second act. How long it will last is not clear. He and his wife still want to travel the world. And they are most anxious to make it to Indiana to meet their new granddaughter in person for the first time. Making do with virtual events until the pandemic allows otherwise, De Benetti continues to make the most of his unexpected second career, too.

With clarity reminiscent of an ancient sage, he says: “If you enjoy what you’re doing and the people you’re working with, why stop?”

Find out more about other RAC Staff Members.