When my wife and I started up the CNC plasma cutting side of the business about a year and a half ago, I met with a friend of mine who was a Major stationed at CFB Kingston. I was telling him that I wanted to take our former welding supply business and expand it by getting into the manufacturing of CNC plasma cutting systems. I had already had years of experience in selling these systems and I really enjoyed working with the technology. I shared that it was hard to find good employees who had a cross-section of electrical and electronics hands-on experience in the region. Skilled people were already working in good jobs and it would be very expensive to find someone who would be willing to come over to a new startup.
This is when he shared with me that maybe I should look at the military transitioning program for veterans that was available. I had never heard of it and was curious because I already had close friends who were serving in the forces. He arranged for my wife and me to meet with a couple of key people who looked after these members and we were introduced to the program. I learned very quickly that the transition is not easy for most, as the regular business world was very different than the military way. I was also warned that many of the members could have mental issues caused by PTSD, potential physical issues caused while they served like back and leg issues or even just directional issues like trying to understand where they fit in moving forward.
During this past 1-1/2 years, we have met some awesome people who have spent some time with us as part of the transition and many have moved on but currently, we now have three full-time as of January 2017 and two transitioning part-time members working with us. This has been a very rewarding time for us and we have a dedicated team working with us and they have earned their keep many times over. Our goal is to continue to expand our business and add more veterans to our full-time staff and look forward to having more members flow through our company as they transition and try and find where they need to go to settle back into normal life here in Canada.
This is an awesome program that we encourage other companies across Canada to check out through their local or regional military bases to see just how great the program is and how well it can assist your company in the future.