Women Leaders in Business: Co-owner of world-renowned mining contractor emphasizes company culture
Manroc is Manitouwadge’s biggest employer but however small on the environment mining phase — and Katie Simoneau wouldn’t change a point
It wasn’t really Katie Simoneau’s prepare to get around the family members business enterprise. But nowadays, as co-operator and vice-president of Manroc Developments Inc., Simoneau just can’t visualize it any other way.
“I’ll hardly ever fail to remember the working day my father walked into my kitchen area and said, ‘I’m heading to be offering. This is your opportunity. You need to have to make a selection due to the fact I have competitor that would like me,’” Simoneau explained with a snicker. “But you know what? I wouldn’t glance back. I’m so lucky to have this chance.”
Established in Manitouwadge in 1986, Simoneau’s father Don acquired Manroc in 1989. The company specializes in what is identified as the Alimak mining technique, which is ideally applied for narrow vein deposits. This mining approach can reduce fees and speed up ore manufacturing for specific sorts of mineral deposits.
Production the system is a big aspect of their enterprise. Simoneau explained that about 85 for every cent of the products they market to clients for their Alimak system is fabricated in-house at their Manitouwadge store. Their producing skills is element of what tends to make Manroc a single of the primary Alimak contractors in the globe.
“We’re very effectively identified in the mining sector,” Simoneau stated. “When you Google mining contractors, we’re in that major listing. We’re lesser, but since of our status, we have worked all across Canada as properly as abroad these types of as Africa and South The us.”
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Simoneau stated that she has no want for Manroc to expand any much larger. With 250 workforce, Manroc is the largest employer in Manitouwadge. But it is continue to small compared to other mining contractors. And that’s the way Simoneau likes it, allowing for the company to be a lot more adaptable and more responsive to client requirements. Supervisors, professionals, and workplace workers tend to be individuals who worked their way up through the business.
“We’re satisfied with the dimensions that we are,” Simoneau mentioned. She included that it is a tight-knit team who get the job done together and play with each other. That is essential to the business, and a significant element of their culture, she claimed. “Any larger, and you start out to get rid of that just one-on-one determination to your purchasers and to your staff. It is effective revenue-intelligent, it works tradition-intelligent — it is a happy medium for us.”
Simoneau grew up with that tradition. She started off doing the job summers at Manroc all through university, earning her Bachelor of Commerce diploma from St. Mary’s University in Halifax. She joined the business comprehensive time following graduation. Over the decades, her father made guaranteed she labored in unique regions of the small business such as mine clerk, payroll, invoicing, composing tenders, deal negotiations, and HR.
“He certainly groomed me for this,” Simoneau explained. “Today, right after getting the enterprise, it’s been a great wealth of awareness, acquiring that working experience.”
Simoneau partnered with Chris Sproule, who took above as president after they purchased the small business in 2014. Sproule’s vocation route parallels Simoneau’s, but from the mining facet. He begun as a miner and labored his way up as a result of supervisor, captain, superintendent, and then moved to the business office.
“I can do the cash component, but I really do not have the mining practical experience,” Simoneau claimed. “I have not been bodily underground accomplishing these work. I need to have an individual beside me who can do that aspect of it.”
Becoming an government in a notoriously male-dominated business hasn’t been considerably of an problem, Simoneau claimed, within the enterprise or out.
“There’s by no means been as well undesirable of a problem the place I felt out of put or somebody is stating, ‘What is she performing here?’ Does it exist now? Unquestionably. And have I had times? For sure. But 99 for each cent of it has been very positive, very uplifting, very respectful.”
Simoneau and Manroc have been identified with awards over the yrs. Manroc gained a 2020 Northern Ontario Organization Award (NOBA) as Firm of the Calendar year (51+ personnel). That similar year Simoneau received a Northern Ontario Visionary Award (NOVA) from Change Thunder Bay in the Business and Qualified Achievement category.
“I was jaw-dropped,” Simoneau said. “I’m quite very pleased. It exhibits you that the tough operate you put in does get paid out off.”
Simoneau explained Kathy Germain, a now-retired HR manager, was a specific inspiration for her.
“She thought in me and pushed me. She would constantly say, ‘You’ve obtained this.’ And naturally my father was a huge mentor.”
But Simoneau credits anyone at the organization, agreeing that Manroc’s size and lifestyle surely lead to the constructive environment. “The complete group – they are all so supportive.”