The day after Quebec’s National Day, it’s good to remember that our economy thrives thanks to business people who take risks every day to ensure the sustainability of their business.
Here are two testimonies of a know-how little known to Quebecers.
Quebecers on all the big stages of the world
Photo Francis Halin
During Thursday’s passage of the journal, Stageline CEO Yvan Miron prepared the stages for the major Montreal festivals and Grand Prix, as well as the American mega-concerts that will take place in the coming weeks.
A Lanaudière entrepreneur who has spent 35 years building the largest stages on the planet for Lady Gaga, KISS and Celine Dion around the world has beat his competitors through innovation.
“Indians tried, it didn’t work. The Americans tried to make a big scene, it collapsed. There are some Europeans who are trying,” breathes Yvan Miron, CEO and founder of Stageline, at L’Assomption.
“The strength of our concept lies in the fact that I was guided by building regulations from the start. I was the only one doing it,” he says.
Founded 35 years ago, the Lanaudière Stageline mobile stage manufacturer has spread Quebec know-how all over the world through persistence and innovation.
“Money was never a decisive factor for me. When I developed Stageline, I did it from my own resources. I believed in it,” reveals Yvan Miron and measures the distance covered.
mistakes of youth
Since his very first scenes, Stageline’s big boss has not been afraid to innovate.
As soon as an error appeared, he corrected it. As a result, after thirty years, he has a good lead over his competitors, who simply cannot keep up with him.
Every show is an opportunity to improve the product. About fifteen people work full-time in the innovation team.
“I made a mistake when I was young. I exhibited the equipment before applying for a generic patent on the concept, but that’s fine, it didn’t stop us from making a living,” says Yvan Miron in passing.
Regardless, the company has managed to set the pace. Almost every show, big and small, in North America has Stageline stages.
Today, Yvan Miron is the company’s largest shareholder. The shareholders are Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Roynat Capital from Calgary.
More than 90% of sales come from outside of Quebec, including nearly 70% from the United States. “Quebec is not a big playground,” he admits with a grin.
When asked what the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs in Quebec is, Yvan Miron speaks spontaneously about the labor shortage.
“More than 90% of the manufacturing level workforce pool stays in Lanaudière. I always wanted to protect that,” he explains.
When visiting protocol In the factory on Thursday, Yvan Miron proudly presented his employees with state-of-the-art machines that are not always on the factory floor at companies in Quebec.
“Nevertheless, Quebec has left the digital transformation behind. He still is. People don’t like to hear that,” he said.
But in his opinion, the current government understands these problems.
“We take a lot of this to government courts sometimes. I would also put some in entrepreneurs’ backyards,” he concludes.
Unlike Stageline, more than 61% of SMBs believe the Quebec government does not understand the impact of this issue on businesses, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
– Franz Halin
A unique know-how that attracts customers from home and abroad
With kind approval
Pierre Lemieux, 72, founded the company in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli in 2007.
For more than 40 years, Pierre Lemieux has been breathing new life into old cast iron radiators. A unique Quebec know-how, good for the environment, employing a dozen artisans from Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.
It is the beauty of these heaters, often over a hundred years old, that attracted Mr Lemieux’s interest. We will not be surprised, therefore, that he settled in this community of Chaudière-Appalaches, known for its artists.
“Each radiator is a work of art in itself,” emphasizes Pierre Lemieux.
Canada, USA, France…
Over the years, the company he founded, Ecorad, has restored thousands of radiators in Quebec, the rest of Canada, the United States and even Europe. Annual revenue is around $1.5 million.
“By not having a radiator, 40% of its weight is in greenhouse gases. And we still need to create more to replace it. Reusing an existing radiator is much more valuable to the planet than buying a new product,” explains Mr Lemieux.
The restoration of radiators that are several decades old requires meticulous work by Ecorad’s dozens of craftsmen.
Two years ago, Ecorad raised the funds to realize its ambitions by building new facilities that enabled it to consolidate activities previously scattered across three different locations under one roof.
The building is a spectacular wooden structure by Art Massif, another Saint-Jean-Port-Joli company.
Trump plays spoilsport
Surprisingly, a decision by Donald Trump’s former US administration had an impact on Ecorad. Reducing environmental standards for lead has allowed companies to repair radiators without having to follow the same protocols Ecorad has used for years.
The Quebec company is still finding several customers south of the border. As of 2017, the company has had a warehouse in Connecticut storing thousands of radiators for future customers.
“We are in talks for several projects in the United States. If we carry out a large project here, for example a school, there will be 150 radiators. We are targeting projects in the United States, where there are 350 radiators… The market is much larger,” says Pierre Lemieux.
Although he hasn’t lost any of his passion, the 72-year-old entrepreneur is slowly thinking about the next phase of his life.
“I’m looking for a replacement,” he slips.
– Sylvain Larocque