2014 Hall of Fame
Marcotte Mining Machinery
I would like to start by thanking everyone for attending this morning. We are here to celebrate the accomplishments of industry leaders and the advances they have made in technologies, products and services.
The Marcotte family (many here with me today, my mom, brother, sister, aunts and uncles) is honored to accept this acknowledgement on behalf of my father alongside Doug Smith. Both Doug and my father have made substantial contributions to the mining sector through their innovative solutions.
On behalf of my father I would like to start by thanking SAMSSA for establishing the hall of fame and for recognizing those that have made advancements in the mining industry. Thank you to Mike Castron for his kind and thoughtful nomination and to Stantec for sponsoring this event.
My father, Paul Marcotte was born in Barvue Quebec on April 29th, 1955 to Raymond and Patricia Marcotte.
After his birth the family moved several times until settling in Sudbury, Ontario in the summer of 1967. In the fall of that year Paul started school at Holy Redeemer then went on to attend Nickel District High school in the early 70’s, continuing his education at Cambrian in the Civil Engineering Class. In 1976 Paul married Cathy Hooson and had three children, myself, Amber and Andrew who are all here today.
After graduation Paul went to work with his father at Jarvis Clark until they founded their own company Marcotte Mining Machinery along with his brothers Raymond, Pierre and John in 1979.
Marcotte Mining grew over the years expanding from repair and rebuild work to new design and manufacture. They later went on to design the side shift feature on the Scissor Lift which became an industry standard and today a feature that is commonly found in the Scissor Lifts of other OEMS. With those not familiar with the Scissor Lift, this feature allows the operator to slide the deck 2’ in either direction getting them closer to the walls.
Paul was always his father’s right hand man. Once the company was established Paul became the Vice-President of Marcotte Mining and held this title for several years. A few days before he was set to assume the role of President my father unexpectedly passed away in January of 1992 at the age of 37. Throughout those years Paul always treated everyone with respect in turn was well respected, making himself a name in the mining industry.
As a little girl I spent my weekends working with my dad – waking up at the crack of dawn, stopping by Tim Hortons to pick up donuts and coffees for the guys that were working til noon. We would end our day with those that came in to work overtime at peachies with pizza and beer and a shirley temple for me.
What I remember fondly about my dad is that he always showed his appreciation for the work that his employees gave Marcotte Mining. He was thankful for their contributions and most of all, their commitment. He worked with them and always treated everyone the way that he would want to be treated. When it was time to go out in the field and work with the customers he carried that same integrity. Growing up I always wanted to be like my father. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and one day work with him at Marcotte Mining.
It was because of the credibility of the Marcotte name and the respect that the industry had for my father that I was easily able to enter into a non-traditional role in the world of underground heavy equipment.
He was a great leader and an amazing friend, a loyal and loving husband and father. My dad was someone I always looked up to and continue to in my career and personal life. I have always admired the way he treated his employees, customers, friends and his family. He was the one that kept everyone together.
Again, it is such an honour to be up here today to accept this award on behalf of my father and the Marcotte family. Thank you for taking the time to come out this morning. Have a safe and happy holiday season.
Manitoulin Transport – Group of Companies
Good Morning SAMSSA Members, Founding Patrons, and Guests,
We’re here today to induct my father Doug Smith into the SAMSSA Hall of Fame.
He has devoted 54 years to building Manitoulin Transport and the Group of Companies. He has a strong work ethic and is very detail oriented. To this day, his administrative assistant is required to sharpen about a half dozen number six pencils each morning to be at the ready. His other secret weapon is a bag of Oreos.
Doug Smith was born in Gore Bay in 1933, one of two children. The Smith Family was already established in the wholesale grocery business servicing general stores, restaurants, and service stations across Manitoulin Island. After completing Grade 13, he went to work at the Bank of Montreal, for two years in Gore Bay and then moved to Toronto for another two years at their Mimico branch in Toronto. To supplement his meagre bank salary, he worked every Saturday and every second Sunday pumping gas and servicng cars at a service station, and in the evenings played his clarinet in a band.
In 1955, his father asked him to come back home to help with the wholesale business. In 1957, they decided to add fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables to their grocery line. They bought a new Ford F900 truck was to transport fresh produce from Toronto’s Food Terminal and other Southern Ontario Suppliers to the Island, Espanola, and Killarney. They also worked in cooperation with Sudbury Wholesale and George Bertrand on the same property as the Flour Mill on Notre Dame. By 1960, the wholesale business was facing stiff competition from large competitors so Smith’s Wholesale was sold to National Grocers.
My father renamed the operating company – Manitoulin Transport and acquired Hill’s Transport for $18,000. The infant company had a fleet of three straight trucks and four tractor trailers. He continued to service National Grocers and other customers with supplies from Toronto. Backhaul from the Island was provided by the Manitoulin Turkey Co-op. Manitoulin trucks had to be towed, most of the time, to navigate the rugged Espanola Hills, but by 1961, a new highway was completed allowing other carriers access to the Island. In 1965, my father approached Roy Cooper of Cooper’s Transport who held a Class A LTL licence between the Island and Sudbury as well as licences to carry for such companies as Loeb grocery wholesale, Canadian Liquid AIr, and Canada Cement. Cooper had his Sudbury terminal in the old CPR roundhouse building that was on Elm Street at the time. My father and Roy Cooper agreed to work together and share facilities. By 1967, Manitoulin Transport and Cooper Transport merged and began providing an overnight service between Toronto and Sudbury.
The trucking industry in the 1960’s, 70’s, and most of the 80’s was very regulated. My father spent countless hours and long trips away from home attending Ontario Highway Transport Board hearings. In order to get a licence expand our service to other communities in primarily Northern Ontario, he had to prove Public Necessity and Convenience. That meant essentially proving that existing licensed carriers were not providing a good service.
This also meant bringing existing and potential customers to the hearings, often in Toronto, and them taking the stand as witnesses to say that a new, better service was needed in the community. Competition from the railways and other large trucking companies was fierce and they often opposed licence applications but my father persevered, adding new lanes and providing a high service level to which customers were not accustomed. One hearing in 1976 lasted five weeks with 129 witnesses testifying in support of Manitoulin’s Class A license north of Highway 17. It was the largest and longest in OHTB history! One entire week was spent in Sudbury where we were supported by Inco, Falconbridge, every mining supply company in Sudbury, and by the Mayor at the time, Jim Gordon.
Many of the founders of many of Sudbury’s existing mining suppliers and management at the mining companies themselves were enormously supportive of Manitoulin through those years and we owe a lot to them. Those early witnesses wanted a better service and we bent over backwards to give it to them. My father spent five years looking for the right location to locate a Sudbury terminal. In 1978, we were the first company to be occupy the then new Walden Industrial Park.
By 1989, two things happened, de-regulation and a recession. Some companies hunkered down to ride out the storm. Freight volumes in the province dropped by 30%. Many of those companies are now gone. Instead, my father took this as an opportunity to expand our services even more. In the last 25 years, he led a determined expansion by organic growth and acquisition across the country. Today, our core business, Manitoulin Transport, services more direct points than any other carrier in Canada through a network of 66 terminals from coast to coast to coast.
One of SAMSSA’s mandates is to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for mining and related clients. That’s exactly what we did by vertically integrating the Manitoulin Group of Companies into warehousing, air and ocean freight forwarding, fuel servicing through New North Fuels, and in the customs brokerage business with Near North Customs Brokers. We provide a hand carry service called Expedite Plus around the world with branches in Hong Kong and Mexico.
My father is a very modest guy. He still works everyday and has learned how to use email and carries his iPad everywhere, much to my mother’s chagrine. He has never been a morning person, enjoys have a nap everyday after lunch, and burns the midnight oil on projects within Manitoulin Transport and in the community. In 2008, he was invested with the Order of Canada and recognized ‘as a business leader, philanthroprist and champion of economic and community development in Northern Ontario’. Last year, he received the Diamond Jubilee Medal at a ceremony in Toronto. He has kept Head Office in Gore Bay with a staff of 200 in a town of 900. There are no plans for retirement and I’m not supposed to say the R word.
I am honoured to share his story with you today and we’re very pleased that he could join us here today.