Meet the Team: Hunter Bienvenu
He's a smalltown star, who has worked in everything from bonsai trees to hotels. Set him up with a day of climbing, a Brandon Sanderson novel, and a fresh Weird Al album and he will be happy as can be!
I now bring you Hunter Bienvenu!
Where are you from?
I was born in Pot Creek, New Mexico which is a small community outside of Taos and I was raised in Santa Fe.
Do you miss anything about where you used to live?
Thankfully I live very close to where I grew up and I still have family in Santa Fe, so I visit quite often. I do miss being able to just take the day and drive up the ski basin mountain and go hiking amongst the aspens on a whim. Now it requires a little more planning.
Before working at Kosh, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
One memorable job I had was working for a plant nursery in Santa Fe. I started doing landscaping for clients, and eventually got put in charge of trimming all of the bonsai trees they had for sale. It was very Zen being able to just focus on these little trees, and really opened my eyes to how much people expect instant gratification and want things to look good right away. With the bonsais you often had to trim them in a way where they wouldn’t look good now, but you were planning on how they would look in 5 years.
Is there a particular tree you recommend for a beginner bonsai enthusiast?
The Lego bonsais! But for an actual living tree, Ficus is the best beginner bonsai. I recommend people don't go for an expensive one to start. There are ones for sale that are like 10-year-old trees and go for a lot of money, but all you really need is something that's already started. Then you can really work on training and shaping it how you'd like it to be in a few years.
What did you dream of “being” when you were in high school?
To be honest, I didn’t really have a dream of becoming anything, and I was terrified that I wouldn’t figure it out. Everyone around me was picking majors for college and planning on their future. I decided to go on a journey of discovery and decided to just throw myself at different things to see where life would take me.
You can't leave me hanging like that! What did you throw yourself into? Where did it take you?
I did sound engineering for concerts in Santa Fe, worked in a darkroom developing photos and got into black and white photography, worked in the plant nursery and did landscaping and irrigation setups, taught myself Adobe Illustrator and did some logo creation and graphic design, programmed a few games like 4 dimensional battleship, dabbled in voice acting, tried acting by doing some extra work to start and eventually getting a speaking role in a movie that premiered at Sundance.
And the movie was...?
"Save Me" they had it on Netflix for a few years, but I think they have since removed it.
What is one or two "passion projects" (hobbies, dreams, activities) that get your feet out of bed? Tell me about what has drawn you to those activities.
I started rock climbing a couple of years ago even though I am afraid of heights, and instantly fell in love with it.
What is it about rock climbing that captured your attention?
I think at first it was just another way to push myself. My two biggest fears are speaking in public and heights. I had already pushed myself on the public speaking, so the next step was to work on the fear of heights. Once I started though it was a few things, it was exercise without feeling like I was exercising, and it was also way more mental engagement then I expected. Each climb is like its own puzzle that you need to figure out in order to complete. And finally, it was something that I could do consistently with my fiancé who grew up climbing the dykes in southern Colorado.
I also have a passion for boardgames and currently have a collection of over 100 games. Being able to sit down with friends and enjoy an experience and adventure together is a blast. Current favorite board game is Eclipse: 2nd Dawn for the Galaxy
Who is your hero and why?
My stepdad has always been my hero. He’s been in my life as far back as my memory can go and has always gone above and beyond for me. Some of my fondest memories are going fishing with him on Heron Lake.
What really makes you angry?
It takes a lot to get me angry. After years of working in hospitality, I’ve learned to have a pretty thick skin. What will usually get me going is watching someone mistreat someone else.
What makes you really happy?
Really, it’s anytime I get a chance to do something with my fiancé. Rock climbing, hiking, boardgames, you name it, if I get to do it with the love of my life, I’m happy!
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I’m an introvert at heart. I took a job working the front desk at a hotel to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. I ended up working in hotels for over 10 years working my way up to becoming the Director of Rooms at a 4-star resort.
What is the best book you have ever read?
Dune has always been my favorite book, but lately I have fallen in love with the author Brandon Sanderson and have been reading all his novels. Below is a spreadsheet I keep so I can track all the Sanderson books I've read!
What is the best concert you attended?
Recently I went with my fiancé to see Weird Al perform at the Santa Fe Opera. The whole experience was incredible. He is truly a top tier performer.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’d have to say sushi. It’s my go to birthday or celebration choice, and I feel like with all the variety I would never grow tired of it.
What would you like to be known for?
I hope that people know me as someone who brings happiness to others around me.
If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
I would love the chance to travel back to India in 600 BC to meet and learn from Buddha.
What's your favorite holiday?
March 26th – Make up your own holiday day. The possibilities are endless.
What was your favorite subject in school?
I had really great science teachers growing up that really engaged me and showed me how much there is to learn and explore out there.
Do you collect anything?
Pez dispensers. I started collecting them when I was 6 years old and have continued to grow the collection.
How many do you have in this collection?
I have over 100 Pez dispensers at this point, not sure of the exact count. I always got one in my stocking on Christmas and starting at about age 10 I kept them in their packages. I don't really seek them out, but if I ever see a cool one, I pick it up. My parents still give me one every Christmas.
If you had to change careers, what would you change to?
I’ve already changed careers from hospitality to IT and I think I’m here to stay.
After all that, how did you get into IT?
I've always been fascinated by computers. When I was young my mom brought home an old IBM computer and showed me how to use the 5.25 floppy drive to load an astronomy program. I fell in love right there! Watching the technology improve over the years and thinking back to how it was is just mind boggling. For example, just today I converted how many 1.44 mb floppy disks it would take to have the same storage as a 2 TB thumb drive - 1.5 million!
Do you have a most “exciting” moment?
I had the amazing opportunity of doing two weeks of safaris in Africa. There was a couple of hair-raising moments during night safaris when dealing with the large cats of Africa. Specifically dealing with a few-month-old lion cub and their protective pride wanting to explore the rover!
What is something you are proud of?
I push myself to try and experience new things.
Anything else you would like the public and your Kosh colleagues to know?
You can ask me anything! If I know it, I’ll let you know. If not, we can learn together!