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Discovering the West

Geneviève Desjardins, Monday, August 20, 2018

December 1981: We announce to all the team members the imminent opening of a new peat bog in western Canada. This is our first move out of the province. The goal? Serving the west coast market of the United States in addition to Western Canada in peat products.

Only 28 years old at the time, Guy Gagnon, then manager of a harvesting, maintenance and equipment manufacturing team in Rivière-du-Loup, volunteered for this major endeavour of Premier Tech in Manitoba. His 10 years of experience in the company made him the ideal candidate! Among the reasons that pushed him to embark on this adventure, was his desire to learn English, but also the desire to go for it – to take on a new challenge! And he was determined!

April 1982: Accompanied by his spouse and three kids ranging in age from 4 years to 10 months, Guy Gagnon flew for the first time in his life and landed in Manitoba near the small village of Giroux. He became the first team member to be relocated outside Quebec!

When he finally arrived, everything needed to be done.  The land acquired by Premier Teach was only accessible by foot, and he needed an administration building, a place where they could build a small garage, not to mention a factory!  In short, as the engineering and operations were almost exclusively concentrated in Rivière-du-Loup, Guy Gagnon was literally starting from scratch! Fortunately, he could rely on the support of Premier Tech, who had planned the entire project before his arrival.

Mr. Gagnon immediately went to work in search of new team members who would be able to help him in to set up the peat bog. He was not yet fully confident with his English, so he hired an interpreter, who helped him in his research. Together, they managed to quickly find dozens of new team members needed, which he would then have to train to harvest and process the peat.

In just one year, after many efforts and not without some difficulties, a huge ditch had been dug to drain the peat bog, a plant had been built, the new team members were trained, the equipment had been shipped from Rivière-du-Loup, a transport network had been set up, and the peat bog was ready to go.

Summer 1983: Premier West is born.

Mr. Gagnon, manager of this project, had successfully undertaken the challenge that had been put in front of him: he had opened a peat bog in just over one year, which even today normally takes 3! He set a record that remains unchallenged to this day! At the end of his stay, after two and a half years, everything was in place and everything was running smoothly thanks to the 35 or so new team members. Upon his return to Rivière-du-Loup, he continued to co-ordinate peat production and was fortunate enough to travel back to western Canada to support new and growing projects.

Today, this hard-working, experienced and spirited team member continues to share his expertise, and currently acts as advisor for all kinds of special projects in the peat bogs of Premier Tech across Canada.

Guy Gagnon is living proof that with willpower and determination, it is possible to take on some of the greatest challenges, even when no one has paved the way before us!

Are you ready for your great Premier Tech adventure? It starts here at: www.premiertech.com/careers.

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Geneviève Desjardins

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