“We’ve been around for 60 years, and we’re committed to being in North Bay for another 60 years or more.”
That’s Paul Healy, President, Americas of Redpath Canada Limited which is celebrating 60 years as a business today (Friday, October 28th).
“Everyone is pretty excited. The company has grown from a small northern Ontario-based company that serviced the mining houses in the Sudbury, Timmins, Rouyn-Noranda areas, to now, we are a global player,” says Healy.
“We do a lot of work internationally in every mining market across the globe. We are still very much a Canadian-based company and a significant part of our business is done here in Canada but we do a lot of the work internationally, whether it's in North America, South America, Mongolia, Indonesia, and it's all managed locally here in North Bay.”
Redpath was founded in 1962 with the company’s founder Jim Redpath having a vision of providing a high level of service to the mining industry. Healy says over the last 60 years, Redpath has maintained that exceptional standard within the industry, even as the industry continues to change.
“The technology and having to adapt to the newer challenges of actual underground mining that have come to light in the past decade or so have been some of the biggest changes that I’ve seen,” says Healy.
“All of the easy mines have been mined and now everything is challenging. Whether we’re working at a greater depth or whether the environment you're mining in, the heat or other geological conditions, that have changed and we’ve had to adapt to how we actually attack those things.”
Healy says there are more machines underground than people.
“A lot of what we’re seeing now is less people and more automation underground. Those are some of the changes to make things safer, as well as introducing battery and electric equipment.”
As President of the Americas, Healy provides oversight for all the businesses in that region.
“First and foremost, we do mining projects for mining companies. We help build and construct and do excavation work. But on top of that there are a whole bunch of functions that have to take place to make that work successful,” says Healy.
“Whether it's staffing those projects, purchasing and supplying the equipment required. There’s the engineering side of the job and the design work as well. There’s a lot of components to Redpath and it all comes together to get the products delivered for those projects.”
A mining engineer by trade, Healy has been in the industry for close to 40 years and worked most recently in Sudbury, before coming to Redpath 15 years ago. He says, “Overall, it’s a great place to work and I’ve had the benefit of being able to work for several different companies in different locations and different types of businesses, and this is by far the best company I’ve ever worked for.”
He says it’s an exciting industry and there are lots of opportunities awaiting those who are showing an interest in pursuing this kind of work.
“There's a huge skills shortage in mining right now, even globally but specifically in Canada. There seems to be a gap where a lot of baby boomers are going to be retiring in the next several years and there are just not enough people in the industry to fill those roles from an operational perspective of people who actually work in mining,” says Healy.
“There's a shortage in the trades for electricians, mechanics, millwrights so there are lots of opportunities there. There are also technical roles and needs for engineers. Mines also aren’t located in the metropolitan area and so you will have to consider relocating maybe somewhere up north or somewhere else, but these are good paying jobs, with good benefits.”
Due to Redpath’s global reach, its workforce boasts a diverse crew.
“We find people across the globe to come work for us here locally. We have people from South Africa, Indonesia, and throughout Europe,” says Healy.
“Part of our strategy is to bring people from the areas that we work in and more or less learn how we do business as a company at the corporate level but also to gain their local insight into their markets. That allows us to gain some knowledge and strategies to be able to expand in those markets.”
But he adds North Bay is a perfect location for their home base.
“It’s a great location from the perspective of where mining in central Canada is located. We are close to Sudbury which is one of the biggest camps in North America, there’s also the Timmins region and the Abitibi region in northwestern Quebec,” says Healy.
“And then if we have to do business down south, we are close enough to Toronto and the infrastructure for transportation and vendor supplies which helps when we need to get products to other countries.”
Redpath has been part of the North Bay community for 60 years and Healy says they see themselves as a member of the community that wants to give back.
“We have a strong base here in North Bay. We’re well established and we’ve built up a great local workforce. We’ve got a very motivated and community-oriented workforce that is committed to the community and it's important to support initiatives that we feel are important to making North Bay a better place and a more attractive place and a place our employees are happy to live in,” says Healy. Camp Tillicum is one of those places. Redpath made a donation to Rotary’s Camp Tillicum to build a brand-new Youth Centre that is used by the YMCA as a day camp.
“We’ve done a fair bit for the YMCA over the years with donations to various initiatives. Another one is the donation to renovate and update the gymnasium at the YMCA in North Bay. There have also been donations to One Kids Place over the years. The North Bay Regional Health Centre was able to upgrade their MRI in part to a contribution from us. We’ve also been a supporter of the Capitol Centre as well,” say Healy.
“We’ve got certain things that we have decided that we want to be involved in when it comes to supporting the community. Usually, if it has something to do with the hospital or is supporting children in some way, those are the areas we like to be involved in and try to be good corporate citizens.”
If you have a story idea for the “Rooted” series, send Matt an email at [email protected]