ArticleSmall-town values and family ties played a big part in putting Wayne McDonald on the road to success see more
Small-town values, family ties and a chat with his Grade 12 shop teacher all played a part in putting Wayne McDonald on the road to success.
It’s only appropriate that a conversation with the District Sales Manger (Central District) for Mack Trucks Canada would take place when he’s behind the wheel. His current role, one he’s held just shy of five years, sees him rack up thousands of kilometres each year.
And although a large part of his job requires a mindset of looking ahead, on this day, at least for a few moments, McDonald relished the opportunity to look back on how he navigated to this stage in his career.
“I was born and raised in Elora, Ontario,” said McDonald, of the picturesque community about 120 kilometres northwest of Toronto. “It was a typical small-town life and a small-town family, with five children. My dad was a mechanic by trade and my mom drove a school bus. My dad being a technical guy – he worked at the same garage/gas station in Elora for 38 years – I ended up hanging around there a lot of the time.”
Those hours spent at the shop had a huge impact on McDonald, not only from the life lessons he learned from his father, but also in shaping his career aspirations.
A conversation with a high school teacher further sparked his fascination with trucks and automobiles.
“Working at the shop where my dad was took my interest in cars and trucks to the next level,” recalled McDonald. “In high school, you’re taking shop classes because it felt like the natural thing to do. When I was in Grade 12 automotive shop, the teacher came up to me and asked what I was doing for summer employment.
“At that time, I was working on a farm. He mentioned a company in Elora, L R W Truck Parts, who was a looking for a kid to work in the shop over the summer. They rebuilt differentials and transmissions for heavy-duty trucks. It got my interest and I worked there for a couple summers as a shop grunt, so to speak.”
After his schooling finished, McDonald worked at L R W on a full-time basis, in parts and service, until he was 20.
“I migrated my way to an international truck dealership in Guelph called Rea Trucks,” noted McDonald. “They took me on as a parts guy. I stayed there until I worked my way up to being a parts manager. I was there from 1988 until 2003.
When an unexpected job offer arose, he mulled over the opportunity and eventually accepted.
“As things go, you sometimes get approached by the competition, and I ended up being a parts manager at Performance Equipment, which was the name of the Mack/Volvo truck dealership in Mississauga,” said McDonald. “It was renamed Vision Truck Group, which is still a Mack/Volvo dealership. I worked there for about a year. I applied to be a district parts manager for Mack Trucks Corporate/Volvo Trucks Corporate. I got the job and that was in 2005.
“I did that for four years before getting a promotion to be in charge of parts, sales and marketing for both Mack Trucks and Volvo, for Canada. I did that until 2013 before I landed this role (District Sales Manager) with Mack Trucks. I crossed the hall from truck parts to truck sales.”
While the companies, roles and demands have changed over the years, McDonald’s work philosophies have not.
It’s an approach he carries with him from his early days and experiences in Elora.
“It was a small town, a small shop and everyone knows everybody,” noted McDonald. “If you don’t have a good reputation and you don’t do a good job, odds are you aren’t going to be in business very long. Things that stick in my mind are that do what you say you are going to do, your handshake is as good as your word or any piece of paper, and you stick with what you said you are going to do. That’s who my dad was. My parents were hard-working people. A good work ethic goes a long way.”
McDonald often reminds himself of that when he’s on the highways and back roads during his work travels.
The hours can be long and the weather unpredictable, but there is one major perk.
“Back when I was in parts, I probably spent a good 65 to 70 per cent of my time on the road,” noted McDonald. “This particular job, it’s a little different. Christmastime is slow, summer can be a little slower, but it can be really busy. You go pretty hard. You’ll be at the plant, customer events, trade shows, trade associations, driver events. There’s a lot time on the road.
“But I’ve been able to visit a lot of wonderful places when I was in parts and I still get to see a lot of neat spots in this role I have,” he continued. “I loved going to the East Coast. The people there are salt of the earth. They treat you like family. Halifax is exceptional. I also had a great time in Saskatchewan and on Vancouver Island. I made a lot of friendships along the way. You get to see a lot of interesting cities and towns in this great country of ours. Things have worked out well. I’m very fortunate.”
A big reason why McDonald always feels right at home, no matter where he happens to be.
By: Chris Lomon
Cottage life, net gains, food for thought and a dog’s life
“We have a cottage up on Lake Huron we like to spend as much time as we can. Back in the day, I was pretty heavily involved in lacrosse. Our family was a lacrosse family. I played as a kid, up to junior and a little beyond. When I was done playing, I did some coaching and in later years, was the general manager for some junior and senior clubs. I have a lot of great memories and also made some long-lasting friendships. I spent a lot of years in arenas. It was lot of fun. Nowadays, I try to get to the gym just to keep all those restaurant dinners in check.
“My time off includes 2 Vizsla dogs, that are my constant and like children. We hike a minimum two hours a day. Their names are Hazel and Snoz.”
ArticleThe opportunity to work alongside a chemist would be the catalyst for Jim Halloran’s success story. see more
Finding the formula for success
By: Chris Lomon
The opportunity, some 30 years ago, to work alongside a chemist, would ultimately be the catalyst for Jim Halloran’s personal success story.
He wasn’t quite sure, at least back in 1988, what and where his career path would lead to. That all changed, however, after Halloran struck up a conversation with a person he often interacted with during his time at Hamilton Radiator, a company based in London, Ontario.
“I worked there for about seven years,” he recalled. “I worked on the shop floor and then I managed different facilities. As part of that, one of the things I dealt with – when you’re working with copper and brass type of radiators – was that everything was soldered and everything had to be cleaned so it work properly. So, we worked with different chemicals. We had caustic soda hot tanks. We had different chemicals to de fume gas tanks.
“I dealt with a chemist who would supply us with these chemicals,” continued Halloran. “But waste removal started to become an issue. You couldn’t simply dump something down a drain. That side of the business became of interest to me.”
So much so, in fact, that Halloran accepted a job offer from the chemist.
“I would sell his products and I’d also arrange for third parties to do the waste disposal,” he said. “I liked that better than doing the sales side of that business.”
In 1990, Halloran went to work for Safety Kleen Canada, where he spent just shy of eight years.
He achieved success and recognition as a sales and service representative and was offered a Branch General Manager ‘troubleshooting’ position after only three years in that capacity. He also successfully developed the Chelmsford, Ontario facility, which was standing in 17th position in the organization, into ‘the number one in sales growth’ facility in Canada.
“I operated several facilities across the country for them,” noted Halloran. “I left in 1998 and then spent six months working for two different environmental companies in Ottawa. Then, I started my own company called Waste Care Services, which was in late 1999. It was quite successful, but I made the decision to sell it in 2008.”
During his time at Waste Care Services, Halloran managed the cleanup of an arsenic contaminated laboratory at the National Research Council of Canada, and coordinated and supervised the cleanup of fuel contamination at a commercial property in Alexandria, Ontario, which involved partial demolition and reconstruction of the building, including the re-pouring of the basement foundation.
Halloran had further successes as Assistant General Manager (2008-12) and Manager (2012-13), Ontario Oil Division, with Veolia ES Canada Industrial Services Inc.
Over a five-year time period, he successfully brought the Ontario operation from zero oil collection to 10 million litres annually, translating into a revenue increase of $4.5 million dollars per year.
“When I left in 2014, I bought a disaster restoration franchise (PuroClean),” recalled Halloran. “I sold that in 2016.”
For just over a year, the father of three has worked with Heritage-Crystal Clean, responsible for their Canadian operation as its New Business Development Manager.
“What I was asked to do was to expand the business,” offered Halloran. “My day-to-day is looking for appropriate staff, upgrading our facilities and permits to handle all the different types of waste we want to be able to bring in from industry. I dedicate a lot of time – about 50 per cent of the time – putting together the documentation, drawings, etc., for the Ministry of the Environment to update our permit, as well as the Municipality of Clarington (Ontario), going to meetings, and putting together site plan applications, and working with the construction folks as I prepare the site to put in above ground storage tanks, flammable materials storage facility and oil unit. That’s going into our Courtice facility.
“In April of this year, we opened a second service facility in Mississauga to handle our clients on the western edge and the GTA, all the way out to London. There’s also bringing in new trucks, having them spec’d, having them built. We’re also opening new lines of business, including vacuum services, which should be starting January 2. We’re getting ready to export things like used oil to our re-refinery in Indianapolis.”
Halloran relishes the role and the variety it provides.
“It keeps me occupied and keeps me from getting bored,” he said with a laugh. “It gives me that chance to touch on the operations side as well as the sales. I did sales. I worked for environmental companies in the past. I had my own for nine years. I had to do all those things. You get to understand how operations and sales are not competing, but can actually work together to make a smooth-running operation. When you can bring that and those efficiencies to a company, it helps quite a bit.”
What’s he most proud of during his time at Heritage-Crystal Clean?
“That I was able to get our draft permit in less than a year, for our ECA for the Courtice facility, and the amount of growth we’ve had in the last year.”
Life, inside and outside of the workplace, is good, acknowledged Halloran, who was a member of the board of the Thousand Islands Habitat For Humanity organization, where he was the Restore Chair.
“In May, my wife and I will be married for 30 years,” he said. We have three children. My youngest is 23 and she lives in Kingston. My two boys, 28 and 31, live in the Edmonton area. I also have two beautiful granddaughters. One is seven and the other is one. The only downside is that they are far away. We’re empty nesters. But everything is good. I have no complaints.”
On what it means to be an OWMA Member…
“I think the OWMA brings a level of consistency and a standard to the waste industry that individual firms wouldn’t have. They bring a strength for us and it allows us to participate in many things, including committees. Through the OWMA, we get to have a voice, which we wouldn’t have on our own. It brings a lot of opportunity that we would never have as individual companies and organizations.”
ArticleIt was an opportunity that came Jim Graham’s way in 1997. see more
It was an opportunity that came Jim Graham’s way in 1997. Twenty years later, the man at the forefront of TRY Recycling is still making the most of it.
His schooling suggested a much different career path, but when a chance to work in an industry with plenty of promise presented itself, the man with the History degree saw a bright future.
“I wore a lot of different hats when I was younger,” recalled Graham. “I have a commercial pilot’s license, a History degree, was thinking about law, had a couple of small businesses and was a home builder. I was also a partner in a heating and air conditioning company. I tried a bunch of different things.”
That lengthy list also includes time in the sand and gravel business.
“I grew up in it,” said Graham. “An opportunity to lease a grave pit came up, so I got into that business. From that, my father was one of three partners in TRY Recycling. They were getting ready to sell it and I couldn’t find a lot of gravel properties to purchase – all the big guys had bought the gravel reserves – so I said, ‘Let me take a look at TRY Recycling.’”
Graham immediately liked what he saw.
“Two things caught me: the opportunities in the waste business – it was and still is a very young industry, with lots of opportunities,” he noted. “Secondly, a lot of the equipment and cost accounting was very similar to the gravel business. The combination of a new field coupled with the business foundation required to be successful really appealed to me.”
TRY Recycling, based in London, ON, has enjoyed numerous successes under Graham’s guardianship as owner and CEO.
In the past 25 years, TRY has recycled over 4 million tonnes of material and is a leader in environmental stewardship in Ontario.
The company helps business and homeowners find a place for leftover renovation or demolition materials, as well as contractors with construction and demolition materials to dispose of. It also assists people who are tasked with clearing out a garage or basement, or cleaning up their yard.
“I guess some of the things I’m most proud of is that first of all, we’ve been able to divert so many materials from landfill,” said Graham. “As a recycling company, we’ve really focused on the construction demolition sector, those low-hanging fruits that in many other places continue to go to landfill, but we’re able to convert into reused materials.
“The other thing that comes to mind is seeing us grow from a small company with a handful of folks and having that same handful of folks with a much larger reach in our region, handling more materials and providing more services. We’ve got a good team.”
A team prepared to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of the recycling industry and the challenges that come with it.
“Optimistically, there are just so many great ideas on how to turn materials that are deemed waste into a valuable resource,” said Graham. “Some of the challenges are that landfill sets the price. So, when you are looking at what the cost equation is, the cost of disposal is still the biggest indicator as to whether you can get those materials and how much you have to process them into a new material.”
When he’s not at the office mapping out the future, short- and long-term for TRY Recycling, Graham stays busy through a variety of pursuits and hobbies.
It’s not uncommon to find the father of two – he has an 11-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son – on the water or in the air.
“I have a passion for aviation,” said Graham. “I don’t get a chance to fly much any more. I’ve started, founded and chaired several air shows, including the most recent one, Air Show London, which is the largest air show in Canada, and the largest military display in northeastern North America. It’s fun being able to do that for the community. We benefit children’s hospitals and veterans’ care and comfort funds.
“I definitely like to spend some time down south in the winter,” he continued. “I’m a water guy. I like fishing and scuba diving. It creates a very full life between running a little business in a young industry, having young kids and also getting to play with airplanes and catch fish once in a while.”
What’s his best fishing story?
“Last summer, my son and my father, who is 75, we got up to Pickle Lake and were able to spend four days catching monster pike,” recalled Graham. “It was great seeing all three of us having a fish on our lines at the same time. It’s a great feeling when you get one on the line.”
And just like the opportunity that arose for him 20 years ago, it wasn’t the ‘one that got away.’
“Twenty years – it really does go by quickly, a blink of an eye,” said Graham. “I can remember all the milestones we reached, the high points we’ve had and I’m looking forward to the new opportunities that are out there for us.”