All posts by Kady Hobbins

Employee Spotlight: Claudine Gagnon

Meet Claudine Gagnon, Business Development or, en Francais, Développement des affaires at NMB. Claudine has worked with Northern Mat & Bridge since April, 2019 beginning her journey as an administrative assistant, then moving into her current role. Learn more about Claudine, her bionic leg and how she got it: 

What motivates you to get up and go to work?

Presenting our products and their benefits to Quebec companies is my motivation. Matting is a technique very little known in Quebec, and having the chance to present an ecological, effective and brilliant product is a source of motivation in itself.

What has been your favourite project so far?

I had the chance to learn new things on every project we’ve had in Quebec since I came onboard, and I would say each was a favourite in its own particular way.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I have three steel plates and several screws in the right ankle as a result of a motocross miscalculation. I did motocross until having my first child, and now I find the same adrenaline in mountain biking.

What would you like to ask our CEO?

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Who’s your favourite team and why?

I don’t really watch sports on TV – if I do, I like to watch motocross races or extreme sports.

How do you define success?

There is no success unless you are happy. To me, success is finding the balance between personal & professional aspects of your life.

Say hi to Claudine next time you stop by the Quebec office!

Employee Spotlight: Jennifer Clarke

Meet Jennifer Clarke, Accounts Receivable at NMB. Jennifer has worked with Northern Mat & Bridge for three years, beginning her journey as a receptionist, then moving into her current role. Learn more about Jen and her favourite adrenaline boosting fitness activity (we’re tired just reading about it!): 

What motivates you to get up and go to work?

If I am going to be really honest here, My two-year-old daughter is my number one motivation – she inspires me every day with her energy and natural curiosity.

My bonus is having great people to work with who provide support when needed. I have not worked for another company that shows their appreciation for every employee from the office to the field as much as NMB does. Not one person is left out or minimized.  You could not ask for a better group of people to be a part of.

What has been your favourite project so far?

Everyday there is something new. I can’t really say there is one project that I enjoy over the other – all of them have different levels and aspects to learn from. I think the learning is probably the best part.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I enjoy CrossFit. I entered a weight loss contest five years ago and that is where I first tried it. There is a bit of adrenaline seeing how much you can push your strength (I got pretty strong!). I had some issues with my lower disks before the competition and unfortunately after the competition ended I and had to step away from it, but given the chance to get back into it again I would. I didn’t win the competition, but walked away proud of what I accomplished and learned a lot about myself.

What would you like to ask our CEO?

What were your expectations for Northern Mat & Bridge 20 years ago?

Who’s your favourite team and why?

I do enjoy watching most sports. Football is my preference – if I really have to choose a favourite team it would be the Calgary Stampeders, probably because I was born in Calgary.

How do you define success?

For me, I feel most successful knowing I am a hard worker and that I’m honest. My colleagues can depend on me to provide the knowledge that I have gained over the years and trust that I am here to work alongside them and not afraid to take on the unknown.

Say hi to Jen next time you stop by the accounting department!

Employee Spotlight: Dean McIlwrick

Meet Dean McIlwrick, Heavy Equipment Operator at NMB. Dean has worked with Northern Mat & Bridge since October, 2018 and brings decades of valuable experience to our team. Learn more about Dean’s role with Northern Mat and who his favourite team is (you may not have heard of them yet):

What motivates you to get up and go to work?

Boredom is an enemy of mine. I’ve always loved new challenges and experiences. The opportunity to learn something new makes for a great day. I also enjoy crew members that like to enjoy themselves a try to make work fun. I’ve learned a ton here in the last year – I wish I had come here five years ago.

What has been your favourite project so far?

The Valard/Fortis line replacement along highway 47. Laying access over challenging terrain, creek crossings, highway approaches all help pass the time.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I was born in a tiny town in Saskatchewan, grew up in Vanderhoof, BC and started my career as a small engine apprentice at PG Yamaha in 1988 (just dated myself). It wasn’t for me so I moved to logging equipment in ’89. I have operated every type of machine they would let me – I supervised crews and ran a commercial thinning test project for Weldwood in Hinton many years ago.

What would you like to ask our CEO?

How do you plan to mitigate the political hurdles we have at this time? How challenging do you expect the next few years to be?

Who’s your favourite team and why?

My son’s school football team. They play for the enjoyment of it, learn a ton while they are doing it and don’t even know it yet.

How do you define success?

Learning to be satisfied. Which is different for everyone. For me it’s finding a place I fit in, stay challenged and enjoy what I’m doing.

Employee Spotlight: Liz Martin

Meet Liz Martin, Transportation & Dispatch Coordinator in Ontario. Liz has worked with Northern Mat & Bridge since July and works hard every day to ensure our teams, products and services get where they need to be efficiently and safely. Learn more about Liz’s role with Northern Mat and her very cool background that helped her develop that great work ethic:

What motivates you to get up and go to work?

My kids and family first and foremost, but it’s not hard to get up and go to work at a job you love. Knowing that a new challenge or learning experience is ahead of me each day excites me to come in each day and see what problem I get to solve, or what I get to learn about.

What has been your favourite project so far?

Developing the transportation department and improving on inefficiencies has by far been my favourite. Transportation is my passion, so to have this opportunity really is amazing!

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I am a Mennonite. I grew up in St. Jacobs and that’s where my ability to cook/bake/build and my work ethic really developed.

What would you like to ask our CEO?

If I had one question, it would be: “What drives you continually better yourself and your community, and how do you pass that along to those (of us) who work under your direction?”

Who’s your favourite team and why?

The Green Bay Packers.  I’m a cheese head through and through. Not sure why or how, but I grew up loving them, their team spirit and their ability to work together and be victorious.

How do you define success?

Success is a feeling inside you.  If you are happy in your life, and your contributions to society then you are successful.  Your job title and pay rate is irrelevant if you are living a life that makes you happy.  Success isn’t measurable, and is defined differently by everyone.  If my kids wake up smiling and can appreciate the little things in life like quality time with friends and family, more than they appreciate material items, I feel I’m successful.  I work hard every day to advance myself and my knowledge of the industry…I am my best me every day, and that’s success.

Employee Spotlight: Kyle Hovey

Meet Kyle Hovey, Eastern Health, Safety and Environment Manager. Kyle has worked with Northern Mat & Bridge for a year and a half and is passionate about his role. Learn more about Kyle’s role with Northern Mat and where he got his love of cooking from:

What motivates you to get up and go to work?

I always joke with people and say safety never sleeps but in all seriousness working in HSE and being apart of such a great team is really what gets me going! It is really motivating for me with all the support I get from the HSE team and all facets of NMB alike; our unwavering commitment to HSE and doing the right thing is a large part of what makes us such a great organization to be a part of.

What has been your favourite project so far?

One of my first ones definitely stands out, we were matting on top of live railway tracks to help facilitate the demolition of a highway overpass. The planning, the practice and the execution were a safety person’s dream. This was my first exposure to the skill and precision required to be a safe heavy equipment operator. I have a large picture of the project hanging in my office that serves as a fond memory.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I grew up in the back of my parent’s butcher shop. It has shaped my love for cooking all things meat. I love experimenting with the BBQ, smoker, sous vide, cast iron, dehydrator etc… downtime at my place usually involves some tasty treats.

What would you like to ask our CEO?

Two questions:

We are celebrating 20 years at NMB, what is the vision for the next 20 years and what would you ask of the employees beyond their day to day to help achieve this vision?

What is the best meal you have ever had?

Who’s your favourite team and why?

The HSE Team obviously… but if we are talking sports I am a Cheese Head – I love the Green Bay Packers. They are my favourite team as I grew up idolizing Brett Favre, not to mention their rich history and how they are so successful in a city of only a little greater than 100,000 people.

How do you define success?

I define success two-fold; First the goal setting component, everyone has goals for themselves or as part of a team both professionally and personal.

We work hard, gain knowledge to hopefully attain our goals and achieve success. To me the ultimate success would have to include a positive impact made along the way, whether it is building someone else up in their role, sharing knowledge or improving culture. To me success goes well beyond the typical economic measurable.

Employee Spotlight: Hollee Heal

Meet Hollee Heal, Health, Safety and Environmental Field Coordinator. Hollee has been with Northern Mat & Bridge for a year and a half, and works with our teams every day to ensure that safety brings us all home. Learn more about Hollee:

What motivates you to wake up and go to work? 

Being in the field knowing I have a crew to support; I don’t want to let them down. I’m there to help get the job done as safely and smoothly as possible. If something does go wrong, they can rely on me. 

What has been your favourite project so far? 

That’s a difficult one. I’ve travelled from BC to SK and everywhere in-between. The people are what make it a great job. After that, it’s the view: our jobs around Hinton always seem to put people in good spirits – it must be the mountain air. 

What’s something most people don’t know about you? 

If you can pick up on my accent, you’ll know I’m from Newfoundland, but I also grew up in the USA and have dual citizenship. 

How do you define success? 

The only person who can define your success is you – it’s different for everyone. It’s not how much you make, what you own, if you’re married or if you have kids. You should never let other people decide that for you. For me, if I look back at a challenge and I’m truly happy with my results, even if they aren’t perfect, then I know I’ve been successful. 

When it comes to snacks, do you like salty, sweet, or both? 

Both- salted caramel is my kryptonite. 

What initially attracted you to working at NMB? 

When the oil sands slowed down I knew I still wanted to be on shift work. I like the challenges of the field, the different work environments and the travel. What really sold me on Northern was that employees aren’t just a number, they are a work family and they take care of their people. 

Say hello to Hollee next time you see her on a job site! If you’d like to nominate a coworker to be a featured employee, email bouellet@northernmat.ca.