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 a maintenance supervisor?
I manage the mechanical team. So, in addition to planning the required workforce and drawing up schedules, I have to manage the human resources behind it all. I also make sure we have the materials required for maintenance, and I support various equipment maintenance or renewal projects. Of course I make sure that the appropriate methods are respected during mechanical work (hot work operations, heights, enclosed spaces, etc.), so that everyone works safely and in the most efficient way possible.
Can you tell us about your career path at Resolute and how you went from production to your current position?
I was a sawmill mechanic from 2003 to 2016. Then, in 2017, I became a mechanical planner at Normandin before coming to the Saint-Thomas sawmill. When I arrived here as maintenance supervisor, I became a manager with a work team to oversee. In fact, I spent only a few months in production. I spent the rest of my time doing mechanical work, as both an hourly and a salaried employee.
Why did you choose to live in Lac-Saint-Jean?
My father worked as a diesel mechanic at La Doré and as a dryer operator (fixed steam equipment) for Resolute, so I’ve always heard good things about the industry. It was obvious that I had an attraction for mill mechanics, so the position of mechanic at Resolute was the ideal choice for me. In addition, when I started my studies in 2001, there were many opportunities to advance in the field and it was a rather sought-after occupation. So I wanted to stay in Lac-Saint-Jean to continue working here and enjoy everything that the forest has to offer. I really like going into a harvested area and seeing how it has already started to grow back only six short years after harvesting.
What is your connection to the forest?
The forest is important to me and I believe we have to take care of it. We want the trees to regenerate; it’s like a garden that is constantly growing. My recreational activities take place in the forest: fishing, hunting, walking and motorcycling. I really love going into the forest! I’ve had a cottage for six years, and my family and I enjoy it a lot, which is why it’s also important to preserve the forest.
What would be the best advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in the forest products industry?
The forest products sector offers many opportunities, especially at Resolute, because you can enter as a laborer or mechanic, climb the ladder very quickly and become a supervisor or manager. There’s a lot of room for advancement and openings in the industry and the company; you can start in one business segment and finish your career in a completely different segment, while staying with the same company. The best advice is to be on the lookout for job openings and not be afraid to embrace available opportunities. We start in a certain position, but one day there can – and probably will − be new opportunities. So we have to be open to what may come our way.
By Charles Martel, an Intern working at Resolute’s Saint-Thomas sawmill under the Forest Products Association of Canada’s Green Dream Internship Program