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North Bay made social network for trades gaining steam around the world

“It’s the idea of having those connections in the first place to facilitate that need and also to collaborate.”

A couple of local leaders in the construction industry put their heads together and have come up with a unique social network for the trades called “Hard Hat Hunter.”  

It all started when Ed Goulais and Paul Robillard had a tire blow at a construction site in Cochrane, Ontario - a place where there were no tire shops at the time.   

“They didn’t have the resources available to them or the connections, we needed someone to help us install the tires, we need someone to provide the tire,” said Hard Hat Hunter Communications Director Samantha Dyck. 

“It’s the idea of having those connections in the first place to facilitate that need and also to collaborate.”  

It started from that incident back in 2011 and after a few years of developing the template, "Hard Hat Hunter" officially launched in November of 2015.  

Now the trades related network has members from across Canada and around the world, as the site has more than 100,000 connections.  

Dyck says the unique social network does things for trades people that networks like LinkedIn and Facebook can’t do for the industry.   

“They don’t care if they are at a coffee shop, they don’t care about thumbs up for my birthday, it’s not functional for them so we created something where they highlight their skill set, put their pictures of actual projects, and photos are very specific to profile their skill set,” noted Dyck giving examples of iron workers working on skyscrapers as the type of photos uploaded onto the network.

Hard Hat Hunter officials also believe the key to the success of the network is building a Hard Hat community first.   

“The problem when you try to create something international is you aren’t going to go to Ford right out of the gate, they won’t even let you in the building,” noted Dyck.  

“So in reality we realized let’s try to do something; a non traditional old product, almost like a field of dreams, if you build it people will come to it.   

“It’s more of an idea of focussing on the content instead of the advertising, like saying look at the quality of our content and look at the connections that are meaningful instead of look who is sponsoring us.”  

Hard Hat Hunter officials believe times are changing where people are starting to recognize the importance of the trades.  

“Now the trades guys are rock stars, like the dry wall guy that works for me has a $700,000 house and he’s a trades guy so I think there was a time when you were reluctant to shake a hand who’s hand was dirty, now people are proud to say my son is a mechanic, my son is a carpenter, so we are creating this sense of pride of being proud of what you do and that’s what we are trying to show the students,” said Dyck.  

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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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