Management Trainee Blog

Blog 22 - Ipex Training by: Frederic Morin


One of the benefits of the Management Development Program is having the privilege of attending various events together throughout the year.

In March, the trainee group attended a 2-day training session with our vendor Ipex, including a tour of three of their facilities.

It was during this session that I had the opportunity to learn just how much Ipex is committed to excellence.

- Research & Development - Ipex has a world-class research and development center where engineers strive to constantly improve their products. We found ourselves in what felt like a laboratory worthy of a Hollywood movie! These few hours completely convinced me of the relevance of R&D in our industry. Moreover, the Ipex team also convinced me that we could trust them because of their dedication to offering our customers high quality products.

- Proactive Leadership - We had the chance to interact with the company management team and this exchange was extremely motivating for us. They propose a style of proactive management that understands the reality of their partners and puts training programs in place that better equips our teammates.

- Team Synergy - The company has strong team synergy and there is an impressive collaboration between different areas of the business. Having the opportunity to tour several factories allowed us to fully understand the overall team dynamic.

- High Quality Standards - By standardizing their processes to ISO 9001, this tells us how much they value the importance of the quality of their product. This was especially interesting for a graduate in Operations Management like me.

- Investing in People - Ipex recruits young high-potential university students whose role is to ensure constant improvement in strategic positions of the company, which is similar to the EMCO MDP.

This visit to Ipex certainly changed my way of seeing the company because now I know the people behind the name. In addition, this experience has allowed me to increase my knowledge related to products and to be better equipped when it comes time to advise my clients and increase my teammates product knowledge.

It was an immense privilege to contribute to this ongoing partnership.

Frederic Morin
EMCO Management Trainee Since 2018

Blog 21 - Western University Career Fair by: Mak Afewu


One of the highlights of being a part of the Management Development Program is getting the chance to participate in university career fairs.  As I’m sure many of you know, universities across the country hold fairs to give their students the opportunity to network with industry professionals and gain valuable insight on the job market that they will be entering soon.  I had the pleasure of attending the Western University Career Fair this winter with two other management trainees, our recruiter Rebecca, and several teammates from our National Support Centre.  I love events like these because they are moments in which I get to spend time with teammates who I don’t regularly work with, and I get the chance to learn more about other segments of the company.

The Western Career Fair is neat because it attracts a diverse range of students from different disciplines which makes for some fun interactions!   In particular, this event gave us a great opportunity to share our emphasis on recruiting university students from any and every educational background which I think gives us an edge in attracting people from all walks of life.  I find that students are generally surprised to hear that we place more importance on their drive, passion and leadership potential, than on what they studied in school. This ends up opening the door way for more enriching conversations. 

One thing that surprised and impressed meat this fair was the high level of motivation undergrad students had to explore career and internship prospects.  I interacted with several first, second and third year students all looking to learn more about what we had to offer at Emco.  Although we mainly higher new grads, it was inspiring to see younger students getting a head start on determining their long-term career path. 

Overall this event gave us exactly what we were looking for, an opportunity to attract talented and diverse students and share more about what makes Emco such a great place to work!

Tips for students attending career fairs:

  • Come dressed to impress, a nice professional presentation will go a long way with perspective employers.
  • Bring a copy of your resume and a cover letter that tells employers a bit about you – something more than what they can see from your resume.  Your approach matters – practice a little ‘elevator pitch’ about yourself the night before.  This will be enable you to be confident when introducing yourself to employers.  Most employers (the ones you are going to want to work for anyway!) are going to want to learn a little about you, have a few lines about yourself prepared ahead of time to share with perspective employers.  What you are studying, when will you complete your studies, what types of experience/co-ops have you had, what type of work excites you, etc.
  • Explore all your opportunities!  Even if you know nothing about the company, but something on their signage caught your attention, you can approach this company in a way that won’t turn the representative off.  Try saying something like “your sign caught my attention, my goal is to work in a sales position, I’d love to learn more about this opportunity” not “what jobs do you have?”  Who knows you may just discover your dream job in your dream organization.
  • Know what you want – employers want to know that you have goals and focus.  Even if you aren’t sure the exact name or title of the role you might be seeking it is important that you have some self-awareness by sharing what you are good at, things you may have enjoyed in previous roles, and things you are looking to do and learn.  Employers don’t want to hear “I just need a job” or “I’ll do anything”
  • It’s best if you go about visiting booths solo.  It can be difficult for an employer or for you to get what you need from the interaction if you are traveling in a pack.

-Mak Afewu


Blog 20 - Pipe Publication Pertains to Personal Pipe Sales Performance by: Keegan Lemieux

My Name is Keegan, and this is my second post for the EMCO management trainee blog. My first blog post was about a construction project where I did a write up for a magazine. Between then and now I can say I’ve had the privilege to write and publish two additional magazine articles. But, what I wanted to share with you about these experiences is how a passion and strength of mine, which is reading literature and writing, has now become an important part of my approach to business. I will share a little bit about myself, how I came to become a part of EMCO, why I love EMCO’s approach to talent development, and how personally I am working to achieve my sales goals.

I went to a small university on the east coast of Canada where I was fortunate enough to be able to complete my degree in Commerce with a minor in English Literature. I didn’t have to compromise between the two and was able to develop my skills in both of my passions simultaneously. While working towards my degree I was fortunate enough to combine these two passions in interesting ways, whether it was taking an arts and culture marketing course, or writing on how business is presented in a piece of work in my American literature class. I found it easy to pursue both of these topics not independently but together, and developed some skills as far as writing goes, but more importantly learned how to understand stories and how to present them.

Most recently I have been given the opportunity to write an article for a magazine where I talk about the social and economic impacts of a few construction projects. These are projects which have a real, and significant impact to our neighbors lives. Being able to contribute to my community and develop my passions and strengths throughout the process has been an awesome experience.

Please see the link to the article here:

EMCO’s approach to talent development is self-directed, and I see my strength in writing and communication becoming a useful tool in business development/outside sales. I am experiencing success using my writing and story sharing skills in working with engineers and municipal staff to change how they build underground infrastructure to reduce lifetime ownership costs. EMCO has empowered me to integrate my passions for business and writing not having to choose between the two. My favorite analogy to EMCO’s management development program is this…

“In a world where we have triangles, circles, squares and rectangles EMCO doesn’t force any one shape to be another. For example if you are a Keegan we encourage you to be the best Keegan you can be, sell like a Keegan, talk like a Keegan, and learn like a Keegan.”

There are many pathways to success within EMCO’s MDP program and I’m excited to hear about how you discover yours.

-Keegan Lemieux

Blog 19: 2018 Jeux du Commerce – John Molson School of Business 

2018 Jeux du Commerce photo of Emco booth

From January 4 to 6, 2018, Concordia University hosted the 30th annual Jeux du Commerce (Business Games), an inter-university competition grouping 13 universities from Eastern Canada. Divided into participatory social, academic and athletic components, this competition gathers over 1,300 students and is now well established, recognized as a major event that is the perfect venue to meet future graduates and tomorrow's leaders. Participants greatly appreciated EMCO's presence at competition sites as a proud partner in the event. For the occasion, we organized a general knowledge quiz game with a 49" Toshiba television as the grand prize. Congratulations to UQAM's (Université du Québec à Montréal) School of Management (École des sciences de la gestion) who won the quiz after a hard-fought battle against the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)! Beyond the activities organized by EMCO to contribute to the event, these three days allowed us to meet wonderful people full of passion and inspiration, determined to bring their own positive contribution to tomorrow's society and potentially within our company. The future looks promising! Tremendous thanks go to the EMCO team that was on site: Lesley Jacques, recruiter for the MDP Program; Marc-Antoine Proulx and Mathieu Tessier, development administrators, as well as Martin Verret, manager of EMCO Profit Centre 288 in St-Hubert. Thank you for your exemplary dedication and participation. Each one of you, in your own way, made this event a success while having fun and conveying our core values to the participants. Thanks also to the event's Organizing Committee, David Lafrenière, Rodrigo Arrambide, as well as to the other partners and volunteers for your warm welcome and your contribution over the entire weekend in order to make EMCO's participation a success. See you in 2019 at the Université du Québec à Rimouski!

My Experience as Leader

For my part, my experience as EMCO's team coordinator was very rewarding and stimulating. From negotiating the partnership agreement with the Organizing Committee to the logistical preparation that was needed for the event to be a success, there were many steps to be completed before the weekend of the competition. I now understand what managing such an event requires as far as leadership and organization are concerned. Putting a well-defined plan of action into place, respecting deadlines and maintaining excellent communication both with the Organizing Committee and members of our teams are key factors of success. In order to maximize our investment of time and resources, as coordinator it's also important to make the right choices from the different partership options offered and to focus on the essential aspects that will make EMCO's participation a success.

Above all, quick and appropriate reaction is also needed when unforeseen events occur. Saying it is one thing, living it is another! For even if we have the best possible preparation, there will always be some detail which it wasn't possible to plan for, or others that we should have planned for in advance but that we only think of once we've arrived on site. After my experience, I can state that some aspects of the planning process are more important than others: The stand's location, moving supplies, entertainment, recruitment strategy in asking participants the right questions and especially, choosing team members that will represent the company are essential factors of success.

I credit the success of our participation first and foremost to the team I was with for the event. Each and every person actively participated in running our game which was very well received by participants and set us apart from the other stands. Each and every person participated in recruiting and perfecting their skills as recruiters over the weekend, one of the key factors being to show more interest in the people visiting the stand rather than trying to make a sales pitch for the company, and seeking people who fit the "SWAN" profile that EMCO looks for, namely intelligent people who are ambitious, pleasant to be with and have a work ethic. Because it's hard to draw a portrait of the perfect candidate, it is all the more important to ensure that the right person is a good fit compared to what we're looking for and to consult members of our team about the people we meet.

The biggest lesson learned that I take away from the weekend as coordinator, and that I would like to pass on to the person who will take my place next year is this: Even if some things are hard to foresee, if you have the right team and use everyone's strengths, if your goal and strategy are well defined, communicated, understood and accepted by all and if you behave appropriately with confidence ("do the right thing") to the best of your experience and your knowledge, the event will definitely be a success!

Blog 18: Behind the Scenes of  EMCO’s Management Trainee Workshop by Chris Ginou 

Group Photo Of MDP Workshop Attendees

The Management Trainee Workshop is always an exciting time of the year for the Management Development Program. Every November all of the Management Trainees from across Canada gather for a week of networking and training with a wide breadth of content that the recruitment team builds from each year. This gives all of the Management Trainees a chance to share the individual experiences they have been through with the rest of their teammates. Since the Management Development Program is an estimated 3.5 year commitment it allows participants to ask each other questions about the next steps in their development and how to overcome challenges by listening to Trainees that are further along in the program. There are always learnings that each of the Management Trainees take back to their Profit Centre’s.

Training varies depending on the phase of the program that you are in. Typically 1st year Management Trainees sit in on training sessions pertaining to time management, EMCO’s financial statements, and characteristics of different personalities. 2nd year Management trainees have sessions relating to outside sales tactics, effective negotiation skills, and dealing with difficult customers. 3rd year Management Trainees learn more about effective leadership and dealing with difficult teammates. The week of training also gives each Management Trainee a chance to listen in on projects that each of the Management Trainees in there 1st and 2nd year have been researching and preparing throughout the year, providing a national snapshot of EMCO’s potential. The 3rd year Management Trainees take part in a live case study to get a feel for truly managing their own business.

Personally, I always take back key learning that resonate with me and share them with my team when I head back to my Profit Centre. I am in my 2nd year of the program in my Inside sales phase. This year I especially liked the training session that was an Introduction to Outside Sales presented by the Westlund Regional Manager Kevin O’Reilly. This training session really brought out the sales attitude that we will need to develop to be successful when entering into the 3rd phase of the Management Development Program. Overall, the week of learning gives you a jolt of energy to get you in the right mindset to make a real difference in the Profit Centre that you are a member of, and provides the tools for you to become a successful business owner.

Blog 17: Moving to the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada by Alejandra Gomez


I was raised in a city of eight million people, so moving to a town with a population of less than twenty thousand was a big change. When I got assigned to move to Squamish, my first reaction (as most people in 2017 would), was to Google it. I had only passed through Squamish on my way to Whistler once before, and now this was going to be my new home. All I knew about it was that there was a McDonald’s. For those of you who are reading this and have no idea about Squamish, I wouldn’t be shocked – it is a small town located between Vancouver and Whistler.

My search resulted in three main discoveries. First, Squamish is Canada’s Outdoor Recreation Capital. Second, Squamish means “the Mother of the Wind”, and third, if I was moving there I had to hike this thing called the Chief. As a city girl, I have to admit outdoor activities are definitely not my forte, but moving to a new place means opening up to new adventures, and Squamish was an opportunity to do just that.

At first, when I moved here I was pretty lost. I didn’t know where to get groceries, find a decent pizza or go for a walk. But then I met the team at EMCO 820, and I realized how lucky I was to get to spend the next few months working alongside such wonderful people. Thanks to all their advice and support, moving and feeling at home in Squamish has been an easy transition for me.

After signing up at the gym and starting a new routine it was just a matter of time to get to know all the amazing experiences this place has to offer. I have made new friends who have pushed my city girl limits to a whole new level. I went rock climbing for the first time in my life, and I had the opportunity to enjoy my summer relaxing by the numerous lakes around town after work. Oh, and I also learned why Squamish is called Squamish, after having all my packing slips fly away thanks to the crazy winds, this place is in fact the mother of the wind.

I haven’t hiked the Stawamus Chief yet, but don’t worry, it’s on my bucket list and I will do it before my next relocation. I have already found great pizza and so many beautiful trails to walk around. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my friends, or the place I used to live. Moving to a new place is never as simple as you might think, but it is in letting yourself explore that you will find the charm in wherever you are. In the few months I have spent in Squamish I have learned so much not only about EMCO, teamwork, and even TREND, but also about plants, hiking, glaciers, climbing, and even more about myself. I am taking every day here as a new adventure, something new to learn, an opportunity to become a better version of myself.


Blog 16: Start Up In Mississauga by Mitch Morris

Start Up In Mississauga

EMCO, what a great company, and what a great place to start a World Class Career!

Through the first year of my MDP program I have been in very frequent contact with our Region Manager, Tom Newell. During one of our valuable meetings, Tom asked if I was interested in being a part of a startup Profit Center. I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t? I knew it would give me the opportunity to work with a small but experienced team on an exciting and strategically important expansion in the Mississauga area. I did not know how much I would learn or how important this would be in developing the startup process and building my own EMCO network.

We started with the creation of a business plan, which of course included comprehensive operational and financial details. This had me very involved with every little detail that goes in to building out a world class business from the ground up. I quickly learned that at EMCO we can always stand on the broad shoulders of others. There is a vast network within EMCO that has a wealth of experience on almost any operational topic. No one has to feel exposed when looking to address very real challenges with one time or first time skills. Just reach out, I did and was I ever pleased with the response and grateful for the steps taken to build my own network of colleague support. It has been my great privilege to explore and collaborate with our high performing Profit Centers across Ontario. Each of them offer learning opportunities around the unique things they do that make them successful. Each has a perspective and a track record for success in areas like warehousing strategies, showroom planning and operations, building a world class dream team, creating a strong customer base…even seemingly little things like serving coffee and snacks to our customers go a long way in proving the differentiated service EMCO provides to our customers.

My day-to-day is nowhere near comparable to any typical ‘9 to 5’ job. Every day I am challenged to be creative. From brainstorming sessions on what the floorplan layout will be, to how our storefront signage will look, to interviewing candidates that will make up the Mississauga team. Some days I put on my white collar and work on budgeting and forecasting that will shape what the business will look like. The next, I put on my blue collar and work boots, grab a sledge hammer and in a different more physical way shape what our business will look like. Every day is exciting and challenging. I am thrilled with the unique learning experience that only EMCO would offer to someone with a soft one year of industry experience. I came into this project very green, I am now at the point where I get asked for my experiences from others across the EMCO network/my EMCO network as they work through their own new expansions.

It is exciting to know that the plan our Team is creating will add to the legacy of frontline operational support and be available for distribution through the highest level of our EMCO leadership team. It is this type of inspiration that fuels my motor to become a high performing Profit Center Manager. The work we are doing and the type of decisions our team has been making reflect what it is truly like to run your own business, and how critical EMCO entrepreneurship really is.


Blog 15: Spending Time at the National Support Centre by Paul Kichak

Spending Time at the National Support Centre

At the PC level, our National Support Center has always been a bit of a mystery. There would be times where my team would mention different departments or people at NSC but personally I never knew what to think about the whole thing. So it comes as no surprise that when I was asked if would like to come to NSC for a training week, I jumped at the opportunity. Being two years into the program, I was already familiar with some names and had spoken to others on the phone, so now it was time to put some faces to the names.

I would say that my several days of training there were among some of the best training days I have had at Emco, and considering the high level of training I have received that really says something. While there were only 6 MT’s (myself included) involved in this training, and we all agreed that this allowed us to drill down on topics we wanted to discuss and really have all of our questions answered. I have found that in large settings, this is not always the case. Having a smaller group also allowed us to connect with the NSC team on a more meaningful level, as we could spend more time with them one on one.

I was very impressed with the NSC team itself. Not only were they welcoming and cheerful right from the start, they were interested in who we were and our development as MT’s. They had different training methods as well so, even though we had traditional PowerPoint style training, it was balanced out with some “get-up and go” kind of activities that still helped us learn.

Their knowledge was also quite extensive as I generally received much more thorough answers to my questions than I would have anticipated. As well, since we have a department for every major sector of the business, we always found at least one person who could answer some of our more obscure questions regardless of the topic.

Overall, getting to meet the NSC team really helped to round out how the Emco system works and see just how pervasive our Core Values are. Coupled with the fact that the NSC team really strives to help the PC’s as much as they can, it gives me confidence in my work knowing that the NSC team is there to help.


Blog 14: Hanging out with our Future Leaders by Kate Lockhart

Hanging out with our Future Leaders

One of the best parts of my role as the Manager of the MDP is being able to spend time with the trainees in their environment. This past week, I spent two and a half days in Edmonton and had the opportunity to get one-on-one time with all of my Edmonton based trainees to hear and see what they’ve been doing.

Rhett picked me up Tuesday morning to go on a sales call with him to one of his customers. On the way over, Rhett filled me in on the background of this particular relationship: this account had been small for Emco in the past few years but through Rhett’s persistence and efforts, is on track to grow by 10 times this year. I watched Rhett in action dealing with the lead purchaser during our visit. The confidence and knowledge he displayed was awesome and obviously, he walked out with a PO in hand. You go Rhett!

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to see Achint who’s in our HVAC division. Achint shared his latest wins with the team and what he’s learning while in the Counter phase of his training. We did some planning for his upcoming summer relocation to Calgary and discussed ideas for his annual trainee business project. I also had the chance to hear about Achint’s recent trip home to visit his family in India and hear about his adorable 1-year old niece.

Later that day, I met up with Sahil at the Waterworks profit center and I had the chance to catch up on what he’s been up to. Quoting, handling customer calls, and helping prepare project bids have been keeping him busy. In addition, Sahil’s PCM mentor has been involving him in performance reviews, forecast preparation and delivery, and hiring a new teammate…. Oh and his Region Manager has him working on a regional project too! It didn’t sound like there was too much downtime for a strong second year trainee like Sahil. I also got the chance to pick Sahil’s brain on my ideas for the 2nd year trainees’ business projects and tell him what’s new at the National Support Centre.

My final “sales call” was with Jerome who is working at our Norwood PC in Edmonton. We had the chance to talk about how he’s planning to split his time over the next several months between business strategy and sales. Jerome told me about his successful presentation of the Norwood Forecast Review to the leadership team in February and the high demand he’s had for the analysis and pricing tools he’s created for his region. His extremely humble and genuine personality coupled with his many talents are incredible.

We did manage to make time for fun too! The gang joined me on Tuesday night for “Amateur Night” at a comedy club in Edmonton where we laughed, groaned (a lot of groaning) and caught up over dinner.

I’m looking forward to another injection of trainee energy in a few weeks when six of our trainees will make their way to London for their week at the National Support Centre.

Did I mention I have an awesome job?


Blog 13: Relocating to Newfoundland by Caden Connors

Relocating to Newfoundland

When I knew that my time in Charlottetown PEI, working with the EMCO team there was coming to an end, I had a conversation with my regional manager. I asked Darcy where he saw me going next. He told me that he had a couple of places in mind, and asked me where I would be interested in going. I had already prepared a shortlist of places I was interested in, and St. John’s Newfoundland was one of them.

Fast-forward to January 10th and I had shipped a pallet of my things, loaded my car and I was ready to hit the road for Newfoundland. I drove from Moncton, New Brunswick to North Sydney that day, to catch the 11:30pm ferry ride to Port Aux Basques. I was a little concerned about sea sickness, never having taken an eight and a half hour boat ride before, but I had booked a cabin and slept like a baby. I woke up in time to explore the boat and have breakfast in the boat restaurant. Around 8am, we docked in Port Aux Basques and I drove onto “the rock” for the first time. I got a coffee and hit the highway for the 10 hour drive to St. John’s. Not even an hour in, I had to stop, and pull over to get a picture of the scenery. With the morning mist lifting over the mountains on my right, and the wind rolling in waves on the gulf to my left, I couldn’t resist. After lunch in Grand Falls-Windsor, a few stops along the way and 12 hours, I made it to St. John’s. Norm, the manager in St. John’s was kind enough to give me the following day to look at apartments. I had lined up some viewings prior to arriving, and settled on a spot, walking distance to downtown. I’ve been here for two and a half weeks now, and time is already flying by.

The team here has been very welcoming and helped to make me feel at home. Not only did they take me out for dinner, give me a tour of the city and help me move into my new place, they’ve treated me like a valuable part of the team from day one. Although I’ll miss the friends and the life I made in PEI, I know that I’ll enjoy my time here in Newfoundland.


Blog 12: Jeux du Commerce Conference - Central by Jacob Calzonetti

Jeux du Commerce Conference

Being a Management Trainee with Emco is often an experience I have trouble describing. Many friends of mine are settled into careers that come with a simple titles and taglines- often with a succinct elevator pitch to boot. Being a part of Emco’s Management Development Program means being involved with something a little bit more unique than that. Being involved with the program means being a little bit more… involved.

This level of involvement in your career means that you often run up against two major challenges. The first of which is being perpetually challenged; or being on the “ragged edge” in Emco parlance. This means you are always expected to keep your mind occupied and eyes open, constantly looking for ways to improve the business. The second challenge is unique, and often something overlooked when you’re already in the midst of your working routine. That challenge is how does a company such as Emco attract and retain the high achieving graduates that we are looking for in the program? This is an incredibly important task.

Being at JDC in Ottawa this past January taught me a lot about overcoming both of these challenges. Having never been to a JDC conference in my university career, it was an exciting yet demanding weekend full of new interactions, innovative ideas and talented university students looking for an opportunity to begin their career. It was a strange phenomenon to be on the other side of the booth at the career fair; informing potential candidates of the opportunities at Emco rather than aimlessly wandering booth to booth getting a crash course from companies I had never heard about. However, there was one aspect that did not surprise me at all. That was JDC delegates are some of the most talented, intelligent and open-minded university students I have had the pleasure of speaking with. The level of talent was immense, and yet so was the level of humility. It was an eye opening weekend.

So how do we attract these talented students, and keep them engaged in the available opportunities at Emco? This was a challenge I dealt with head on throughout the weekend. A great deal of successful interactions stemmed from being open and honest about the company, culture, opportunities and expectations. Not all intelligent students will necessarily fit in, and nor will the students who are personable but lack motivation. The experience was a delicate balancing act of making judgment calls quickly, and ensuring the standout students didn’t slip away into the background. In the end, the weekend was a success. We had observed and met many potential candidates, and came away with a laundry list of contacts we planned on perusing.

So what did I take away from JDC this year? Aside from the fact that Dalhousie is far and away the best trivia team, I learned a great deal. It was a challenging weekend in both the sense of personal development and learning opportunities. It was great to get a chance to prospect future Management Trainees, thus playing a role in shaping the future of Emco. As I continue to develop myself as a future leader in the industry, it was comforting to know that we are doing everything to attract the brightest, hungriest, and most humble students around. Being not far removed from the university lifestyle myself, I know the value of investing in young leaders. Being able to apply these skills in the workplace I one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have had to date, and I’m looking forward to the future possibilities with Emco.


Blog 11: Jeux du Commerce Conference - West by Cindy Nnaji


My name is Cindy Nnaji and I am in my first year and second phase (counter phase) of the MDP program in the Calgary Plumbing division. The Management Development Program (MDP), just as the name implies, is a fully structured program that enables you as an individual to be able to develop personal skills, professional skill and vast product knowledge all while working towards becoming a profit center manager at a multimillion dollar company, EMCO Corporation.

The MDP program exposes you to lots of opportunities to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, and EMCO offers a safe environment where team members can share their ideas and carry out action towards empowering new beginnings. In every phase, you are given Mentors who work with you to ensure you are getting the best training and development you desire.

Being four months into the program, I was presented the opportunity to represent EMCO Corporation at the corporate booth at the JDC West competition. The JDC West competition is a three-day event where over 600 undergraduate delegates from various schools around Western Canada come together to compete in academics, debates and athletics. At the end of the event, various awards are given including the best school title. It is indeed a very educative and entertaining event, and EMCO is one of its sponsors.

Being able to represent EMCO Corporation at the corporate booth at JDC West competition was a thrilling experience. The MDP Coordinator and my mentor were selected as judges for different cases at the competition and Management Trainees in various phases of the program (as well as graduates of the program who are now running their own locations) were represented at the booth.

Undergraduate delegates across various universities in western Canada presented themselves professionally and had a lot of questions about the management development program. Some of the questions which stood out were “Do I need a business degree or a management degree to apply?” The requirement for the MDP program includes a university degree, entrepreneurial spirit and leadership potential. EMCO Management trainees have degrees from all different backgrounds. Another question that was being asked often was “Do I need to pay anything for the MDP training?” EMCO Management trainees do not pay for the World Class training being presented through the MDP program. EMCO invests in its people and is interested in its team mates’ personal and professional development. EMCO MDP program presents recent graduates the opportunity to bridge the gap between what is taught in university and how to apply it in a professional environment.

I was also presented the opportunity to be a spectator at some of the case competitions and being in the MDP for four months, I was able to think of the cases from a different strategic perspective as well as identify key points of the case. This new perspective was all thanks to the MDP.

So far, the opportunities I have been presented with are endless and they range from participating in the forecast review of the business for this year, leading the inventory at the Calgary plumbing location, participating in various recruiting events, running various projects and participating in the JDC West.

We also had a photo-booth where delegates took pictures with the props provided and competed for a prize. The MDP community is akin to like-minds with the same purpose, which is to succeed as a World Class business leader. Through the MDP program, EMCO provides a road map on developing individuals straight from university to be World Class managers of a highly profitable business within EMCO Corporation. I encourage delegates and everyone who has a university degree, drive, entrepreneurial spirit and thrives to be successful to apply for the Management Development Program.


Blog 10: Management Development Program Workshop by Caden Connors



EMCO’s Management Development Program has grown from a group of 5 to over 50 in the past decade. Management trainees (MTs) are learning from experienced teams across the country, from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Although we all work in different markets and even different business segments, we share a common path to a common goal; developing into future business leaders with EMCO. Once a year, all EMCO MTs come together in Toronto to participate in the Management Development Workshop. Throughout the week, we get the opportunity to learn from our outstanding leadership team, attending sessions led by our regional and national level leadership. We also get plenty of opportunity to network with other MTs, and there is always a great team building evening planned.

What never ceases to amaze me about the training sessions at EMCO is that they are more like open forums. Rather than sitting and listening to a presenter, we are encouraged to ask questions and offer opinions to the extent that each session becomes more of a group discussion. With our decentralized business model, this atmosphere facilitates the opportunity to learn of business issues and best practices that may never have otherwise been communicated. One session that has me on the edge of my seat each year, is the Business Project Presentations. This is actually led by MTs, who have been working throughout the year to implement a project that will improve their business. Each first year MT presents their project and its results, which range from improving customer service to penetrating new markets.

Not only have I learned and developed a great deal through the MT workshops, I’ve also made valuable working relationships, as well as invaluable friendships. This is one of the inevitable benefits, of spending a week with like-minded young leaders, but the MDP coordinator and her team go the extra mile having this happen by design. The MT Workshop always includes a networking and cocktails evening as well as a night out that consists of a team builder and a dinner. These events are the cherry on top of a wonderful, revitalizing week that we are privileged to attend each year.


Blog 9: Waterworks Projects by Keegan


Hi there, my name is Keegan, and I am in the Inside Sales Phase of the Management Development Program at Emco. I work within our Waterworks division which mainly deals with municipal water products. This is a photo of me next to a big stick of pipe that we supplied to our customer for a storm water management project here in Saskatchewan. Waterworks is just one of the many divisions you have the opportunity of working for within the Management Development Program.

Projects like this one showcase the uniqueness of EMCO's MDP. I was able to meet and interact with most of the stakeholders in regards to this project. Those being the contractor and their employees, the engineering company which designed and assisted in the installation of the project, the vendor who created the product and finally my team who coordinated the supply and delivery of products for the job. This holistic approach to educating and showcasing our industry in waterworks is something that, for myself and my own development, I have been thankful for as it allows me to piece together and understand the entire business. The program has encouraged me to continue to pursue and create these kinds of opportunities for myself.

I will be writing an article to be published in a magazine this fall based on the job which is the first time this kind of pipe has been used for a municipal application. I collected feedback from the installers as far as how this product worked for them, some of the benefits of using this pipe as opposed to other alternatives and other particulars about the job. Working for EMCO Waterworks, I have realized a passion for construction and looking at this photo, I can’t help but get excited for the next big stick of pipe I get to help put in the ground!


Blog 8: Visit With Suppliers by Marc-Olivier Dansereau


Since the beginning of the year, the MDP has allowed me to visit six suppliers in Quebec. I was not on my own during these visits, as other members of the MDP in Quebec and some SDP (Sales Development Program) members were also present.

In order to share the load in organizing these visits, each of us chose a supplier to contact. I chose Riobel, a faucet supplier. Their rep was very happy to welcome us for a visit of their warehouse and to train us on their products.

These training visits amount to a win-win situation for both us and the suppliers. Indeed, we come out better equipped to advise our customers on products, which means we sell more. It also allows us to know more about their strategic approach.

In February, we began with Aquabrass, a faucet, bathtub, and sink supplier located in Montreal. They showed us their new showroom and products. Additionally, we visited their plating factory (chrome, brushed nickel finishes, etc.).

Then, in March, we visited the warehouse of our Private Label Mainline/Luxart in Terrebonne. A member of the MDP was our tour guide, as he was assigned the project of setting up the Distribution Center in Eastern Canada. To make a long story short, Emco has a Private Label for faucets, sinks, pumps, and other plumbing products. We have two distribution centers, one in Edmonton and the other in Terrebonne.

In April, we went to St-Hyacinthe to visit the Neptune Company. Contrary to the two previous visits, this is a production factory. It was very instructive, learning how acrylic bathtubs and showers are made.

In May, for two consecutive days, we visited Océania, a bathtub and shower supplier, and Bibby Ste-Croix, a cast iron supplier. Océania, located in Thetford Mines, was the visit I appreciated the most due to open conversations we had with the company’s president. Bibby Ste-Croix owns a factory in Sainte-Croix. They are one of the largest distributors of cast iron in North America. We saw red hot cast iron being poured.

In June, we visited Riobel and Fleurco. Riobel is located in St-Jérôme and experienced an impressive growth these past few years. This company, founded in Quebec, sells faucets throughout all North America. As for Fleurco, they supply bathtubs and showers, but they specialize in shower doors. Their inventory is impressive.

We have planned other meetings with suppliers in the months to come. What I find most interesting when visiting these suppliers is the contacts I create with these Quebec businesses. Relations with customers are, of course, very important, but relations with suppliers are not to be neglected!


Blog 7: Fort Mac


On May 1st, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray. Within two days, the fire reached the community, and forced the evacuation of the entire area, which totaled approximately 90,000 people. Over 2,400 homes and buildings were destroyed, and although the fire has left (but still burning in other areas of Alberta) the lives of many Canadians have been heavily impacted.

My name is John Kennedy, and May 2nd was my first day of work with EMCO, at McKeough Supply London (PC316). During my first few weeks of work, the well-being of friends and family and Canadians affected by the fire was a constant topic of discussion. One of the first things that I came to understand about my teammates was the shared compassion, and generosity that has been displayed. Since those first weeks, I have only had my impressions reaffirmed as a dialogue was quickly opened between every McKeough PC, trying to determine the most effective way to help our fellow Canadians.

Thus, the “Have a Roll in Rebuilding Fort McMurray” campaign was started, a joint effort for all of McKeough led by Bruce Passmore and Victor Hyman. By donating all proceeds from tape sales (because any problem can be fixed with enough duct tape), as well as creating some incredible t-shirts to sweeten the deal, we will be able to provide a sizeable donation to the Canadian Red Cross Society. Having been put in charge of my PC’s contribution, I very quickly learned about the amazing generosity of EMCO teammates. Of the donations that I have collected, 75% of them came from EMCO Teammates in Ontario, with the National Support Centre representing a large portion of that. Again, I am overwhelmed by the kindness of my national teammates.

There are 4 EMCO PC’s in Fort McMurray, with 21 teammates working out of them. Please, join me in keeping them in your thoughts as they readjust into their daily lives, and keep the generous spirit of EMCO alive.


Blog 6: Relocation – Part of the MT Experience by Michael Lojko


The Management Trainee program is comprised of 3 main phases; the warehouse, inside sales, and outside sales. Although multiple phases can be completed at the same profit center, each phase is usually in a different location. Management Trainees in Plumbing & HVAC typically relocate regionally, whereas trainees within the Waterworks and Westlund divisions can relocate to a profit center anywhere in Canada that demonstrates excellence and expertise in that phase to ensure that the learning experience is as rich as possible.

When I initially joined Westlund a bit under 2 years ago, I knew that I would have to move a few times, and that was actually part of what drew me to the MT program. I was eager to travel and work in a variety of environments across the country so that when I became a manager I would have a deep well of experience to draw from. My first move took me from my hometown of Edmonton to Fort McMurray for the warehouse phase which lasted about 6 months. For the inside sales phase I returned to Edmonton for about 1 year. In that time I also worked briefly in Red Deer, Calgary, Bonnyville, and Saskatoon. With my latest move, I have worked at of 8 profit centers in total so far. Although each profit center that I worked in is within the EMCO family, embracing the same decentralized model, and core values, each location has a unique profit center manager and team dynamic that I learned from. Working in so many profit centers, each with their approach to business and surrounding market conditions has been one of the most interesting parts of the program.

As my inside sales phase drew to a close in Edmonton, I spoke with the Vice President of Westlund about my next upcoming phase. He let me know that there was a great outside sales opportunity and awesome mentor available in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I had never been to the Maritimes before, so I was really excited. Moving between Edmonton and Ft. McMurray was relatively simple, but moving across the country was a bit more complicated. I had to figure out how to get my belongings to St. John’s, along with my car, which I would be using to visit customers in my outside sales role. I was initially thinking about driving all the way there, but in the interest of time, I opted to ship the car and fly. A few weeks in advance of flying out to Newfoundland, I got a few quotes for shipping my car and went with the best option. Since I was not bringing much furniture, I packaged everything that I would not be bring with me on the plane on a pallet and shipped it across the country using a preferred carrier that we would typically use for business purposes. When I arrived in St. John’s I got a hotel room while I looked for a place to rent, and rented a car while I awaited the arrival of mine. All of the relocation costs, including the temporary hotel stay and car rental were initially paid for by myself, but I subsequently expensed them and was quickly reimbursed.

After seeing a few places on the weekend of my arrival, I decided to rent a great apartment on the edge of downtown St. John’s, within walking distance to lots of restaurants, pubs, and the scenic harbor. St. John’s is even more beautiful and fascinating than I expected. I have only been here for about 2 weeks, but I am surprised by how much it already feels like home. The team here at the profit center has also been very welcoming.

It is a bit hard to leave behind my friends and family in Alberta, but I see the benefits of the move far outweighing any drawbacks, both personally and professionally. I have already visited a large oil refinery, an innovative hydrometallurgical plant, and met with engineering and procurement firms. I can already tell that in the time that I spend here, I will grow so much in terms of my technical ability, organizational skills, and sales development. I’m really looking forward to the next year and a half here in my new home, St. John’s, Newfoundland.


Blog 5: Customer Driven Leadership Training by Sahil Bangar


EMCO Corporation does not hire a teammate but rather invest in a loyal partner. Thus so as to make all the teammates world class customer service providers, EMCO offers many development opportunities. Customer Driven Leadership (CDL) is one of the many trainings that are provided by EMCO. But I believe CDL should rather stand for “Completely Different Level” of training. To start with the training brings in teammates from over 50 waterworks locations from coast to coast who have joined EMCO in the last six months. And these individuals from different runs of life and businesses are molded to function as one big team and truly understand the meaning of being a part of the EMCO family.

CDL is designed to put into perspective the meaning of EMCO’s core values, ethics and vision so as to understand the gears that run our business. Apart from this, the 10 fundamentals of being a true leader are discussed and how to use them efficiently in all walks of life ranging from personal and professional aspects are taught. The training stretches over an entire week and covers various modules which when imparted into any business would definitely make it a sure shot success. CDL is not mainly about business but rather about personal development and actions that make you successful. CDL is like a transformation machine, everyone who passes this training is a renovated individual poised for success and brilliance. The week encompasses many interesting activities such as team building events/competitions which makes this training truly enjoyable and memorable.

The most important part of the training in my view is the case study section. From day one everyone is randomly divided into teams and are handed an intensive and challenging case study. Everyone is expected to impart the learnings throughout the week to come up with a unique solution to the case. All of the teammates are stretched to take decisions like business owners and try to incorporate the teachings from the modules discussed throughout the week. The most interesting part is that the case is based on a real life scenario and has all sorts of justifiable solutions. Every year CDL comes and brings many people out of their shells, re-energizes them, creates never-dying friendships and injects vigor and enthusiasm in each and every one.

If only we could go through CDL again and again, not only for the learning but also for the fun!


Blog 4: Forecast Review

Every year at Emco, each Profit Centre Manager must prepare and present a Forecast Review on their business for the upcoming year. The Forecast Review ranges from looking back on the previous year’s performance, surveying the upcoming year’s marketplace, outlining new strategic initiatives and stating your new action plans for you and your team. One amazing opportunity as a Management Trainee is to be given the chance to conduct a Forecast Review before you actually become a manager and test out your crystal ball skills.

Since not all Profit Centre’s across Emco have an acting Profit Centre Manager, Management Trainees are given the opportunity to assist their Regional Vice President and put together a Forecast Review. Using current financial records, engaging in dialogue with customers and leveraging current team member’s knowledge you must forecast as closely as possible to what the next year will bring. I was lucky enough to have this opportunity this past February to conduct a Forecast Review for the Waterworks Profit Centre on Vancouver Island. 

I was able to spend three days on Vancouver Island at the Profit Centre getting to know the teammates, learning about their marketplace, the competitive landscape and what strategic initiatives the team wanted to work towards in 2016. It was great getting to learn from the team and strategize what their 2016 goals will be. Getting the chance to meet with customers was also a great way to gain intelligence into a region where I am was unfamiliar. I worked closely with the Outside Account Manager on Vancouver Island to determine what projects will be getting green lights to begin work in the spring and ultimately gauging what potential sales will be for 2016.

One month after spending time with the team on Vancouver Island it was time to present my Forecast Review for the upcoming year. Each Profit Centre Manager or Management Trainee has 35 minutes present to their Regional Vice President’s and sometimes our President Rick Fantham on their 2016 Forecast Review. This was an amazing learning experience getting to spend time with these leaders discussing the Forecast Review I had prepared. These leaders are there to truly help you learn and develop as a Management Trainee and push you to grow as a teammate and leader.  


Blog 3: Year-one Transition

This past December marked my first 12 months in Emco’s Management Development Program and what a time it has been! Typically, around the end of your first year in the program you will transition to a new location to begin your next phase of training. On January 4, 2016 I began the next phase of my training in Grande Prairie, Alberta. It is definitely an exciting time in my training and can’t wait to make an impact with my new team!

My time in Calgary over the past year was amazing! I had the awesome opportunity to learn from one of the best teams in Canada and I really enjoyed my stay at PC 753. During the first year of my training, I got to experience firsthand the great culture that the Calgary Emco Waterworks location is known for. Seeing my teammates truly embracing Emco’s Core Values made coming into work everyday something I really looked forward to! When I think back to my first few weeks and to where I have progressed to now, it is crazy how much I have learned. Industry knowledge, product knowledge and leadership skills are just a few of things I feel the team at 753 did an awesome job training me on!

The highlight of my year at PC 753 definitely has to be the Calgary Stampede team building event. It was a great time getting to spend time with everyone outside the Profit Centre. We started by having a pancake breakfast at a Teammate’s house who lived close to the Stampede fairgrounds. Once we had eaten our fill, the team all headed down to the Grandstand to watch the rodeo for the day. I had never seen the Calgary Stampede rodeo before and getting to experience it with the team at 753 was a very memorable day from my first phase in Calgary.

I made many friends during my time at the Calgary Waterworks location and it was very hard to say goodbye to everyone. Since my relocation took place over the Holiday Season, our year-end party was when the final hurrah for the 753 team and I. It was a great time getting to have dinner and enjoy the evening with everyone before I made my trip north! As a going away gift, the 753 team got me Dr. Seuss’s book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and each teammate wrote a small message inside the cover about the past year. It was a great keepsake to take with me as I begin a New Year with a new team! 


Blog 2: CDL Training Week

At Emco, there has always been a high value put on personal development and training. Within the first six months, every new teammate gets the opportunity to be a part of Customer Driven Leadership (CDL) training at Emco. CDL is an awesome week long training session where you truly get to experience the Emco DNA. New teammates from all across Canada come together in a central location and take part in developmental sessions to build their knowledge of Emco! It’s not all business… there is a large teambuilding component that is a ton of fun!

CDL combines many different sessions and components to allow each teammate to gain a great understanding of how Emco operates. These modules were amazing learning opportunities and covered everything from leadership skills to health and safety - not to mention, it was a really great time! One of my favorite sessions of the week was our teambuilding night. This was a very fun and exciting way to get to know your teammates by working together in an interactive competition!

My absolute favorite part of Customer Driven Leadership was the case each team gets to work on throughout the week. From day one everyone is split into a random group of six teammates and tasked to work together on a case study. This is a unique opportunity because it allows you to apply what you learned throughout your daily sessions and directly implement them into your team’s case! The case study is a fact based issue that real Emco teammates have had to work through in the past. On the final day of CDL, each team gets the opportunity to present their case solution to the other participants and the senior level teammates that are facilitating the training session.

CDL is just one of the many amazing training opportunities you will get to be a part of if you join the Emco team! 


Blog 1: Introduction


Hi, my name is Cody Thorlakson, and I am a Management Trainee at Emco Waterworks in Calgary. I grew up in Southern Alberta and have recently graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Management. The Management Development Program caught my attention because it sounded like an amazing career opportunity for recent grads who are entrepreneurial, like me, and willing to go the extra mile to become strong leaders.

I am currently in my First Phase of the Management Development Program and have loved every minute of it! I've been working in the warehouse alongside the team in Calgary taking part in all activities that go on there each day. Some of the things I have done so far are learning the ins-and-outs of shipping and receiving, working with warehouse mentors to gain in-depth product knowledge, observing and practicing exceptional customer service at our pick-up counter, and just getting a feel for how a successful Profit Centre operates.  Our Profit Centre Manager took our whole Profit Centre to a weekend team building event in Banff in February and I really got to know everyone and definitely feel like part of the team.

Along with the day-to-day learning opportunities, I get to spend time with many Senior Level mentors that lend advice throughout my development. In my first few months I have had the chance to sit in on my Profit Centre Managers Forecast Review, attend a Western Canada leadership meeting in Victoria, and meet the President of Emco, Rick Fantham. I have also had the chance to learn how strong partnerships and relationships are built among vendors and customers alike.  My very first week I went to vendor meetings with my Regional VP! And this just scratches the surface of the amazing experiences I've had so far….

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