Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why TBT Engineering Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
- TBT Engineering Limited encourages employees to support charitable and community initiatives with paid volunteer time and matching charitable donations
- TBT Engineering Limited invests in the long-term development of its employees with tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions, as well as reaching out to younger employees through apprenticeships, paid internships and mentoring programs
Volunteering is second nature at TBT Engineering
At daybreak in spring and fall, Lindsay Davidson can often be found at the Mckellar Island Bird Observatory counting and banding migratory birds. Sponsored by his employer, TBT Engineering in Thunder Bay, Ont., Davidson volunteers several hours a week, more whenever his schedule allows.
"It's all mornings for the songbirds," says Davidson, a Senior Environmental Technician. "They follow sunrise patterns so may start up at five at the beginning of spring. The main breeding ground for any kind of migratory birds that come from the southern Hemisphere is here, including warblers, sparrows, nuthatches and woodpeckers. I was willing to volunteer on my own but the company said, 'No, put it on your time sheet and we'll pay you.'"
Besides volunteering, Davidson's work for TBT Engineering includes sampling soils and water to determine if they're contaminated and investigating sites to see what types of birds or animals might be living there, including determining if any species would be at risk. While he needs to be able to identify birds and bird songs as part of his job, volunteering has turned him into a lifelong birder.
"Once they let me hold a bird, I was hooked," Davidson says. "I just love this work. Monitoring is a way to see how strong the populations are - if they're declining or increasing. I'm grateful to the company for supporting me to do something that I love."
Volunteering in the community is integral to the work culture at TBT Engineering. The multi-disciplinary consulting firm provides down-to-earth engineering services to a diverse range of clients across Canada and abroad.
Additionally, the company sponsors everything from recreational hockey leagues and soccer to community theatre and the symphony.
"A company is a collection of like-minded people that provide services but at the end of the day, it's the communities and clients that provide us with the means to do this," says President Rob Frenette.
"There's an ethical responsibility to give back. We encourage our people to participate in something community-based that's outside of their professional and family life so they've got that community interaction."
Alongside his wife and company CEO, Liana Frenette, he says their vision for the 50-year-old company, which they purchased together in 1995, was to grow the organization locally, premised on the fact that the experts can come from the north.
"In the early years, we encountered this belief that the experts have to come from somewhere else," Frenette explains. "We don't believe that.
Who knows better how to deal with the northern climate, environment and communities than people who live and have lived here for most, if not all, of their lives?"
The couple feel an overwhelming appreciation for the fact that although they're not originally from Thunder Bay, they've been able to successfully build a business here.
"The community has supported us in our pursuit of our goals, which was to become the engineering experts of the north," says Frenette. "As we have opportunities to support those communities that have supported us, we're wholeheartedly behind any initiative where we can assist, whether financially or through volunteering, participation in cultural events or providing training."
With celebrations of the 50th anniversary coming up this year, Frenette says there will be a big party, including celebrating their sense of community in Northern Ontario, where they've been able to provide the majority of the company's services over the past 25 years.
"What's important is that we're committed to continuing this venture," says Liana Frenette. "We have 25 other employee owners in this corporation and we're committed to sticking around. We're planning for the future and the next generation."