The purpose of the Jobs to Grow interview series is to present the journey and dedication to the forest industry of people who started out working in production at Resolute Forest Products and who have now become managers. These managers are proof that the opportunities for growth are enormous in the forest products industry.
CM: Can you tell us about your responsibilities as head of the heavy machinery department?
SD: I work with the various people involved in the processing of roundwood, rough lumber, by-products and kilns. In addition, I have to plan the workforce for all the heavy machinery at the Saint-Thomas sawmill to ensure that there are enough employees to meet the needs.
CM: Can you tell us about your career at Resolu, from production to your current position?
SD: Yes, I started my career by taking a course to become a forestry technician, then I worked for a summer as a student at the 54th (in the forest, in northern Quebec), but that was something that interested me less. So I applied for a job at Résolu to work in production. I was hired in Girardville and then transferred to Normandin, still in production. In 2000, I was an ISO coordinator until 2007. Then, Resolu offered me a training course in forest products processing, a course that lasted three years. This allowed me to become a supervisor in Normandin, then in Girardville and I was able to replace a little in Saint-Félicien. For the past four years, I have held various management roles at the Saint-Thomas sawmill.
CM: Why did you choose to live in Lac-Saint-Jean?
SD: I am a native of Normandin and I have always wanted to work close to home. That's why I knew I was going to stay in Lac-Saint-Jean. In Saint-Thomas, the plant is beautiful and the atmosphere is very pleasant. It's very easy to work with the people here, they are dynamic and want things to work. I am very happy in my region and I want to continue to develop here, in my region.
CM: What is your connection with the forest?
SD: My first studies were as a forestry technician, so I had an attraction to the forest from the start. Since then, I've always done nothing but forestry, I have 30 years of service with Résolu, 27 of which were in planing, which proves that I really like it! In my spare time, I like to spend my weekends in my cabin in the forest, and I do so quite regularly. However, when it's too hot, I go to the beach! It's really obvious that I have an attraction to the forest; all my hobbies are linked to it.
CM: What would be the best advice to give to someone wanting to pursue a career in the forestry industry?
SD: You know, Resolu is a big company, there are many jobs and opportunities. When you really want to advance, you have to make your way. There are also many opportunities for involvement within the organisation. So, to grow in this, you have to be willing to learn and participate. Doors open here, you just have to make sure you take the opportunities. Also, if you don't like a department, there are always opportunities to change direction and there are people who will be there to help you make the right choices. The best advice is to stay open, be willing to learn and go for it when the opportunity arises.
Interview conducted by Charles Martel, intern at the Saint-Thomas sawmill of Résolu, as part of the Forest Products Association of Canada's Dream Internship program.