The Jobs Where You Grow interview series showcases the career path and dedication to the forest products sector of people who have reached management positions while working in production at Resolute Forest Products. Their professional journey provides insight into the career growth opportunities available in the forest products industry.
Can you tell us about your responsibilities as head of the heavy machinery department?
I work collaboratively with various employees on everything related to the processing of roundwood, rough lumber, by-products and dryers. I also plan the manpower for all the heavy machinery at the Saint-Thomas sawmill to ensure we have enough employees to meet our needs.
Can you tell us about your career path at Resolute and how you went from production to your current position?
I started my career by doing a course to become a forest technician and then I worked as a summer student in the area of the 54th parallel (in the forest in the Nord-du-Québec region), but it didn’t really interest me. So I applied to Resolute to work in production. I was hired at Girardville and then transferred to Normandin, also in production. I was an ISO coordinator from 2000 until 2007. Then Resolute offered me training in forest products processing, a program that lasted three years. It made it possible for me to become a supervisor at Normandin and Girardville, as well as a replacement at Saint-Félicien on occasion. For the past four years, I’ve held various management positions at the Saint-Thomas sawmill.
Why did you choose to live in Lac-Saint-Jean?
I’m a native of Normandin and I’ve always wanted to work close to home, so I knew I was going to stay in the Lac-Saint-Jean region. The Saint-Thomas sawmill is great and the atmosphere is quite pleasant. It’s easy to work with the people here; they’re dynamic and they want everything to go smoothly. I’m very happy in this region and I want to keep getting ahead here, in the region I come from.
What is your connection to the forest?
I first studied to be a forest technician. I was attracted to the forest from the start. Since then, I’ve always been in forestry, with 30 years of service at Resolute, including 27 years in planing, which proves I really like it! In my spare time, I like to spend weekends at my cottage in the woods; I go there quite regularly. But when it’s too hot, I head for the beach! It’s pretty obvious that I’m drawn to the forest; all my hobbies are related to it.
What would be the best advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in the forest industry?
You know, Resolute is a big company with many job offers and opportunities. If you really want to move up, you have to make your own way. There are also opportunities to get involved within the organization. So, to grow, you have to want to learn and get involved. The doors are open here; you just have to make sure you act on the opportunities. Plus, if you aren’t keen on a department, there are always opportunities for a career change and people to help you make the right choices. The best advice is to keep an open mind, to want to learn new things and to go for it when the opportunity presents itself.
By Charles Martel, an intern working at Resolute’s Saint-Thomas sawmill under the Forest Products Association of Canada’s Green Dream Internship Program