Celebrating the Provinces, Showcasing the People: Happy New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Natal Day!

August 4, 2017

Happy New Brunswick Day and Natal Day (Nova Scotia) to our employees. In New Brunswick we are proud to have operations in 28 communities and directly employ over 7,700 people. In Nova Scotia, we proudly operate in 15 communities and directly employ over 2,500 people. And our teams are growing! We’re hiring over 1000 in Nova Scotia and over 3800 in New Brunswick between 2017 and 2019. To celebrate, we’d like to highlight some amazing people who call these provinces home and with whom we are pleased to work.

New Brunswick:
Shaping Purpose for Our Troops
Andrew Garsch was part of the Canadian Armed Forces for 12 years. Now, Andrew is helping others find their purpose after combat as Vice President of Program Delivery for Shaping Purpose. 

“The transition from the Canadian Armed Forces to civilian life is one of reverse culture-shock that leaves approximately 1,350 veterans each year facing a difficult transition,” said Andrew. “Shaping Purpose aims to help as many of these individuals as possible gain a better understanding of their desires for their future life and aid them in defining their direction through the transition process.”


Irving Shipbuilding, Desjardins Group, the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation for veteran’s health research program have partnered to conduct a study with Shaping Purpose. 

A Bright Future 
There is no better time to celebrate young people passionate about their province than on New Brunswick Day! Desiree Pictou and Caroline Burpee certainly fit the bill. 

As winners of the $32,000 JDI NB Scholarship at the University of New Brunswick Desiree and Caroline both have outstanding involvement in their schools and communities. Both will be starting studies at UNB in the fall of 2017. Best of luck in your academic and community pursuits, Desiree and Caroline!

  Caroline
 Desiree


Inclusive Culture 
Twenty years ago, the team at KENT hired Luc as a result of connecting with the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL) and Ready, Willing & Able, a national initiative designed to increase the labour force participation of people with an intellectual disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

"We interviewed him [Luc], just like we interview anyone else," says O'Neil, "and he was hired." Luc is a "picker," one of 28 employees who fill orders for delivery to Kent stores across Atlantic Canada. Wearing headphones to receive instructions, Luc and his co-workers locate and gather the ordered items and prepare them on pallets for shipping.

Luc has been with Kent since August, 2014, and O'Neil couldn't be more pleased with his performance. "He's always on time, he works hard and he has never called in sick."

Employees with an intellectual disability rank above average on other performance measures, as well. In an Environics Research study, 84% of employers rated employees with an intellectual disability as being: highly productive, dependable, engaged in their work, and motivated with great attendance records and strong attention to the quality of their work.

"That certainly has been the experience for us at Kent," says O'Neil. "Both of our associates who have an intellectual disability are great workers."

Would Kent hire another person with an intellectual disability or ASD? "Yes, we would," says O'Neil. "Asa matter of fact, we are already working with CEA to find our next candidate.


Inspiring Girls to Shoot for The Moon
Cathy Simpson is vice president of technology at T4G Limited and founded Up+Go Girls, an organization to encourage girls to explore careers in science and entrepreneurship. 

Cathy hosted free screenings of Hidden Figures in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John followed by a panel of women local to each city who have excelled in their fields. 

"I've worked in the tech sector for 27 years," said Cathy. "I believe we need to be role models for the next generation so they see the opportunities in STEM (science, technology,engineering and maths). A movie like this is one example for them to see that. Plus they were able to meet a bunch of amazing New Brunswick women in STEM. Sometimes it's those connections that get people engaged - that's what we're hoping to do."


Diverse Work, Diverse Teams
Dahlia Ghosh, Project Lead in the IT Division moved from India to New Brunswick for an MBA at University of New Brunswick. She said diversity is the reason why careers at JDI IT are so exceptional, “The work we do, the divisions we support, and the teams themselves are all very diverse. It’s a company that develops leadership talent and thus, great teams.”

Dahlia fell in love with Saint John, and made New Brunswick her new home, “This is a great place to live. Within minutes of each other are great city-life experiences and beautiful, picturesque outdoor experiences.”


We are proud to keep people home and bring them home. We’re also proud of our employees like Dahlia, who we’ve helped make the Maritimes their new home. 

A Workplace Hero
Tracy Kilpatrick of Irving Paper is one of the amazing employees who helps raise funds for the United Way annual campaign. This year she was nominated for the Employee Campaign Coordinator Workplace Hero Award. Those nominated for this award use their creativity, enthusiasm, and leadership to run outstanding campaigns in their workplace.

 Tracey


Saving Wild Atlantic Salmon 
CAST (Collaboration for Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow) is a partnership of scientists, environmental groups and industry participants. The focus is saving wild Atlantic salmon before it’s too late. Today CAST is working on four science projects on the Miramichi and Restigouche rivers. The hope is that CAST will serve as a positive partnership model for Eastern Canada’s wild Atlantic salmon rivers.

One researcher involved in the CAST initiative is Dr. Tommi Linnansaari, Research Associate and Faculty member at the Department of Biology at the University of New Brunswick and Co-Leader of the Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study. His research is focused on an automated method for the estimation of the returning run of Atlantic salmon in the Miramichi River using the ARIS Sonar. The objective is to develop this method of automation and species identification to a point where agencies responsible for fisheries management may use the data in lieu of or to support existing population assessment methods. 


Bringing a First for Canada To UNB

The new Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton is the first of its kind in Canada to combine research, commercialization and workforce development and training. This initiative is the result of a partnership forged with the University of New Brunswick, Custom Fabricators and Machinists (CFM), and community colleges in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The multi-million-dollar centre is currently funded by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. 

Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi, director of the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UNB, will lead the research and development component of the centre, with CFM partnering on commercialization. The New Brunswick Community College, Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and the Nova Scotia Community College, will lead workforce development and training. 



A PAL to Local Schools

Brittany Cunningham, a Credit Associate for JDI, has volunteered as an in-school mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters through the PALS program for the past year. JDI employees have volunteered over 65,000 hours at local schools for literacy, coaching and mentorship as part of the award winning PALS program . Big Brothers Big Sisters is a vital partner in the PALS program.“I love being a mentor. I know it’s special for kids to have another person they can go to for support. It’s great to see the organization I work for donate to a group that has such a positive impact on Saint John kids.”

J.D.Irving, Limited employees raised $115, 000 at Bowl for Kid's Sake. 

"The fundraising from Bowl for Kids Sake takes up about 33% of our operating budget. It's really vital that we have this type of event annually in order to support the work we do. To serve kids and match with mentors, recruit, train volunteers, and supervise matches is an ongoing process. The efforts of the JDI teams makes it possible to continue to serve the 400 kids we already do plus add additional kids and matches to the program," said Laurie Collins, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Saint John.


NOVA SCOTIA
Connecting Aboriginals to Their True Calling
Inspire. Build Confidence. Repeat. Imagine if that was your job. For Pathways to Shipbuilding program coordinator, Tonia Marshall, it is.

Pathways to Shipbuilding is a collaboration of ten industry, government, and Indigenous partners announced for an education and apprenticeship program to create job opportunities for Indigenous students in metal fabrication. The program, offered through the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Akerley Campus in Dartmouth, offers successful students the unique opportunity to build a lasting career in shipbuilding at Irving’s Halifax Shipyard.

Tonia says the confidence gained through the program training inspires students, “The impact the program has on the students is that they believe they can do this,” Tonia said. “They have this community of people who believe in them and want them to do well. It builds their confidence.”

Today, there are 19 students from NSCC participating in the Pathways to Shipbuilding Program.

Tonia describes her job as rewarding, connecting people with skills and jobs at the Halifax Shipyard. “It gives me a good sense of accomplishment that I’m helping people achieve their goals and achieve their dreams.”




Skilled Trades Role Models 
In June of 2017, 15 of the 19 women graduating from the program joined Irving Shipbuilding’s workforce at the Halifax Shipyard proudly building ships for Canada.

“Going through Women Unlimited was amazing,” said Denise Watters, Irving Shipbuilding Women Unlimited Program graduate. “It gave me the support that I needed, whether it be child care, transportation, or tutoring even. This is my golden ticket, my golden egg. This is security for my family, and me staying home local so my family can be raised here and be around my support system. Knowing that I had the position here at Irving Shipbuilding at the end was amazing. It was the icing on the cake.” 



Irving Shipbuilding strives to build a workforce as diverse as the country itself. This program was one of many initiatives that were made possible by the 2012 establishment of the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence at Nova Scotia Community College. The Centre of Excellence works to create an entry point for underrepresented groups to train for careers and benefit from Canada’s revitalized shipbuilding industry. 

Igniting a Passion for Science
Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal is the Chair of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Atlantic. As someone who found a rewarding career in STEM (sciences, technology, engineering and maths) Tamara is passionate about igniting a spark, and confidence in girls.

J.D. Irving, Limited sponsored the Girls Get WISE Science Retreat. A day full of workshops for girls to get hands-on science experience. "I started these workshops because I realized that beyond the elementary school level, there is very little done to engage girls in STEM," said Tamara. "We need more girls in STEM and we need them to know their futures are limitless. The moments when girls suddenly light up and get excited about science are incredible to witness."


Sea-ing a Difference
The Halifax Shipyard has funded $1.8 million in oceans research projects through MEOPAR. The funding is across nine research projects at six Canadian universities and the projects are studying everything from the impact of rising sea levels on Aboriginal Communities to oil-eating microbes, to the effects of plastics in our oceans. 

Dr. Julie Laroche is a professor at Dalhousie University and one of nine researchers to receive funding from Irving Shipbuilding for oceans research. Dr. Laroche is studying plankton with a holographic microscope developed in Halifax. Hear about her research: