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“Made us a better company”: More of Canada’s Best Managed Companies 2015

June 1, 2016 | By Renée Francoeur

Houle Electric team members celebrate after the Best Managed celebration in B.C. Left to right: Amber Roberts, HR manager; Allan Lanzador, marketing manager; Robert Lashin, president; and Rois Rizzo, VP of finance and CFO. Photo courtesy Houle Electric.

June 1, 2016 – As you’ve probably noticed by our recent posts, a number of industry players were among the 2015 winners announced for Canada’s Best Managed Companies, a business awards program for Canadian owned and managed companies with revenues over $10 million.

“Best Managed companies embrace innovation, seize opportunities and inspire talent. They really set the bar high,” said Peter Brown with Deloitte and co-leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program.

The awards were handed out in five categories: Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Requalified, Gold Standard, Gold Standard Requalified, and Platinum Club at the annual gala in Toronto on April 12, 2016.

To read a full article with all the Best Managed electrical companies, check out the Spring 2016 edition of Distribution & Supply. For the purposes of D&S specifically, we only highlighted electrical manufacturers and distributors operating in Canada.


Delivering on the words

Alliance Energy has been a part of the program’s Platinum club for the past seven years, said CEO Paul McLellan.

“It’s about paying attention, that’s what makes good business practices. All our folks contribute to our success.”

“We understand the important of having a focus and on innovation, too,” McLellan said. “In our industry, things are rapidly changing. There’s new delivery systems, new scheduling system and you have to be flexible and adapt to that to be a well managed company.”

“It’s a rigorous application process, yes,” McLellan said with a laugh. “The thing is that sometimes you don’t realize what you’re doing until you sit down and write it out and analyze it. This helps from a company and management perspective to ensure we’re doing what we say we’re doing. Because isn’t that life, right? We run around saying we’re doing all this and don’t often realize when we’re not or can’t.”

Applying also encompasses some great coaching from organizers of the program, he said.

When Alliance Energy first started applying, it was one of the few electrical ones doing so, McLellan noted. More and more are doing so. “So we’re pleased to continue to represent the industry and proud we kind of led that charge. The Platinum club is quite prestigious.”

The designation is great not only for management, but staff, too, McLellan added, as it’s another reason to say thank you to employees and “you can’t say thank you enough”.

Setting performance standards

As part of the application, Allan Lanzador with Houle Electric said the company provides an account of its overall business objectives and plan, “outlining our initiatives within the plan and giving examples of how they impact our business and bottom line going forward.”

Lanzador added, “It is our belief that this information supported by our financial data, also provided in the submission, has helped significantly in proving our standing as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.”

For Houle, the submission process is “an excellent way for private companies like us to set performance standards beyond just financial data”.

The benchmarks established with each previous year’s application gives Houle’s management group a visible “bar” to try to meet—or preferably even outperform against, Lanzador continued. “The submission can also bring out important questions and topics that we ourselves may not always take the time to ask or address.”

All about the people

As for what Powerline Plus is doing right when it comes to managing, CEO Ben Matin said the trick is nurturing a culture that supports personal and professional growth.

Through committed teamwork, unification of goals and leveraging company strengths, Powerline Plus is able to engage in sustainable practices and anticipate the needs of customers, Matin continued.
“We appreciate that quality of life is the ultimate workplace value. We build deep trust through mutual communication and respect. We recognize that collaboration empowers individuals and teams. We attract and keep talent by motivating excellence. We know that people are at the center of all success.”

Greg Young, president at Tarpon Energy Services, agreed about the golden egg being people.

“We are a people-based company… We invest and empower our employees, give them a sense of ownership,” Young said. “This means sending them to high voltage courses and leadership and safety training or things like Dale Carnegie events.”

Young also noted the company has an internal training system, dubbed Tarpon University, where employees learn more about strategy, estimating, finance and conflict resolution in three days.

(Tarpon is also the winner of a 2015 inaugural Electrical Safety Champion Award. Visit EBMag.com/esca)

Winning the Best Managed title for the past 10 years “signifies our credibility to our community, our employees and customers”, Young said. “It improves our marketing, too, and helps us hire people in busy times… If you have the choice between two companies and one has a Best Managed award, I think it makes that choice easier and I think people come to work here for that reason.”

Tarpon—a company of about 1500—shouts its award loud and proud, putting it on business cards and work trucks.

“I believe it’s made us a better company, too. We’ve got to meet some really great people through it”, Young concluded.

Established in 1993, Canada’s Best Managed Companies says it measures more than financial performance. Every year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for the designation in a “rigorous and independent process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices”. The program is looking for Canadian-owned businesses that have outperformed their competitors, created thousands of jobs, achieved sustainable growth, and excelled both at home and abroad.

Phase 1 includes an application form but that’s just the beginning. “You don’t just apply, you take steps toward a goal that you will achieve. And we’re there with you—coaches from Deloitte and CIBC work with all applicants to provide professional advice and counsel on your presentation. Whether you win or not, this process is valuable,” the program states.

A panel of judges selects the final winners.

The 2016 program begins this June. For more information and to apply, visit www.bestmanagedcompanies.ca.

See below for a full list of those recognized in our industry in 2015:

Best managed winners:
•    Powerline Plus

Requalified winners:
•    Gerrie Electric Wholesale
•    Stelpro

Gold Standard:
•    Houle Electric
•    Mircom Group of Companies
•    Techmation Electric & Controls Ltd.

Gold Requalified:
•    E.C.S. Electrical Cable Supply Ltd.

Platinum Club:
•    Alliance Energy
•    B.A. Robinson Co.
•    Deca Cables
•    E.B. Horsman & Son
•    Ideal Supply
•    Standard Products Inc.
•    Tarpon Energy Services
•    Tenaquip Limited

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