CEO, ProVantage Automation Corp
Chair of the National Board of Directors, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME)
About ProVantage Automation
An engineering firm that designs and builds automation control systems to improve manufacturing
We don’t make the widgets. We create the machinery that makes the widgets.
The concept was formulated over pizza and beer
19 months old
About Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Association, resource and advocate for manufactures and exporters
The first chairman was John A McDonald (first Prime Minister of Canada)
The role as Chair is a volunteer position
Passions of Rob Hattin
Super Tuscans (fine wine)
On Canada and Canadians
No one goes destitute in Canada by failing in business.
It’s hard to fail in Canada.
Canadians need to participate more in global markets
There is a skills shortage in Canada
A concern is about Canada’s place in the industrial global market
Three parts to innovation
Three keys to success
We made a plan. It turned out to be crap but it gave us the discipline to find other opportunities
Other insights from Rob Hattin
A CEO has a 10 year effective life
The Brand means a lot but it’s the people that really make the difference
We need more women in manufacturing especially in leadership roles
Innovation is meaningful change and Canadians need to get off their butts to innovate
The world is your oyster and the world is going to chew you up
You have one chance at ethics – don’t screw that up
Entrepreneurs, you need to nurture your health and relationships. Remember that while working those late nights.
You need to become number one at what you do
It has to be fun
More information about this guest
Click below to listen to or download this radio interview:
Insights from this inteview with Ron Foxcroft
About Ron Foxcroft
Wears at least three hats
Chairman & CEO Fluke Transport
Chairman, CEO and Founder Fox 40
Professional Basketball referee
Kicked out of high school
Trained to become a basketball referee
Paid 75 cents to referee his first game and told that he was lousy and would never make it as a referee.
Ten years later he refereed the basketball Olympic game
If you want to be respected, learn to listen.
Fluke Transport is the most challenging hat he wears. Trucking is not for the faint of heart. It is high volume with low profit and fraught with complications. It depends on people and trucks – both which occasionally break down.
I knew nothing about trucking before I bought the trucking company
How did he buy Fluke Transport with no money?
How did he add 20 trucks with no money?
Everybody has a hot button – a deal making button. It’s something other than money.
Entrepreneurs and Business Success
I didn’t want to work for a dumb boss.
Hire people smarter than you
No such thing as raw inborn talent. Entrepreneurs learn and grow. They are built.
My entrepreneurship qualities:
Drive to success
Fear of failure
Challenges are speed bumps. I had to practice overcoming speed bumps
Failure is a learning experience
My business approach was simple – revenue must exceed expenses
I’m 68 years old and work 100 hours a week. But it’s not work because its fun.
Contacts are everything. That’s why community involvement is important. Every person I meet is smarter than me in something.
When you work 20 hours a day it’s amazing what good luck comes your way.
You can buy a business even if you don’t have any money.
You need a business plan and a plan B and Plan C
You need a stable of mentors
You can’t be a winner without a team
Sometimes you have to have Onions
About Fox 40
The Fox 40 whistle is sold in 140 countries
The Fox 40 whistle was conceived out of frustration with the existing product
In Canada they don’t like change. We were selling in 35 countries before we sold any in Canada. The first Canadian customer commented that “I read about you in Sports Illustrated. If the Americans like you, it must be good.”
The whistle is sold in sports, marine and personal safety markets
More information about our guest
Click below to listen to or download this audio file
Stephanie McLarty is CEO and Founder of REfficient
Insights from this interview with Stephanie McLarty
There was a problem that launched this new business
Reduce, Reduce, Recycle
An online marketplace for companies to buy telecom and AV equipment
They can shop for deals in the excess inventory of other corporations
Benefits to participants
Buyers can buy equipment at reduced costs
Sellers free up storage space and gain income
Useful resources are kept out of landfill
Sellers receive certified statements about their environmental performance
Most equipment comes with warranty
About Stephanie McLarty
Graduated from an Arts & Science program – that taught her to connect the dots
Masters in Peace and Conflict with intention to work for UN but that training helps manage people in business
Got first job because a friend on the inside recommended her
Asked lots of questions to learn the job
Enjoy speaking with customers
Working and travelling in Thailand and India challenged her to think differently
Continues to take courses on personal and professional development
Other Insights from this interview with Stephanie McLarty
Shipping was a problem so we introduced Shimple – Simple Shipping – we learned how to ship and calculate all costs – and we make money with this service
Learned how to run a business and to market and that is more important than the technical part
Trend in business of being a good company – sustainability is important
Key for startup business is deciding where to focus your limited resources
I was afraid
Excited and nervous in early state – suffered at least five nights of no sleep
In early days – fake it till you make it
Don’t try to get it perfect before you launch
Media attention was a nice to – not a must do
Tips for others
Grow yourself – that will help you grow your business
Try – in spite of your fears
Put support structures around you
Sleep, eat well, and connect with friends and family
Learn more about the company – REfficient
Read about REfficient in Business Week
Watch video interview with Stephanie McLarty on NewsClip TV
Click below to listen to or to download this interview with Stephanie McLarty on Business In Motion.
Interview with Mike Pley, COO of COM DEV International.
Space – the final frontier!
COM DEV produces electronics for satellites. A Canadian company and world leader in satellite technology, based in Cambridge, Ontario and employing over 1,000 people.
Mike Pley is an Engineering graduate of McMaster University.
Insights & excerpts from this interview with Mike Pley.
We have to build something that will be super dependable for 15 years.
You can’t make repair calls in space.
Our equipment is on 80% of the over 650 satellites up there.
We don’t go after the low cost world where price is king.
We want to encourage the next generation to become astronauts and engineers.
The next big project we are working on is the James Webb Telescope which is scheduled to launch in 2014. It will see far more than the Hubble. The James Webb Telescope is seeking to see first light – the beginning of galaxies.
Click below to listen or download this 30-minute interview.
Interview with Howard Shearer, President and CEO of Hitachi Canada. He is the first non-Japanese to be president of the company. He seems to thrive on cultural diversity. He is orginally from Jamaica. He is also a people person. The two characteristics probably go hand-in-hand.
Howard has worked at Hitachi for over 25 years.
Hitachi globally employs over 300,000 people.
Hitachi is a strong technology company that operates in several markets including: consumer electronics, automotive electronics, computer storage, energy, medical, biotechnology, and high speed trains.
Insights from this interview with Howard Schearer:
“We’re in the business of serving customers.”
“There is no Hitachi car, but we are a major component in cars.”
“Business in all about relatioinships and that’s not done with products.”
“I don’t screen my calls. If it’s good news I want to hear it. If it’s bad news I want to hear it first.”
“I’m happy when it’s Monday.”
Click below to listen to this 30-minute interview with Howard Shearer.
Interview with Jan Nichols, President of Bay Gardens Funeral Home in Burlington and Hamilton, Ontario.
This is not your standard funeral home. It’s exciting. It has high ceilings, a waterfall and videos screens.
Insights from this interview:
“The most successful opening of a funeral home in North America. Most are lucky to get 100 people to attend. We had over 800!”
“Rooms are named after waterfalls, plants or ponds instead of being called Salon A and Salon B.”
“People want food at a funeral – but not in the same room as the body or in the basement.”
“Reaching out to non-profit organizations and giving them free access to meeting rooms.”
Click below to listen to this 30 minute interview