Tank Traders hiring for St. George Production Facility

Tank Traders hiring for St. George Production Facility

Tank Traders® is the largest provider of the Barbecue Propane Tank Exchange Program in Canada and growing in the USA, employing about 350 people across their facilities and depots and they are hiring for their Ontario production facility in St. George.

Their company culture thrives on idea sharing, improvements and collaboration. They have a commitment to their employees’ success and development with ongoing career conversations and growth opportunities. They have an open door policy across the organization to foster an environment of trust and mutual respect.

History of Tank Traders®:

Founded in 2001, Tank Traders started in rural La Salle, Manitoba, as a division under its parent company, Vomar Industries Inc., that started requalifying propane cylinders since 1995.

From filling and distribution to maintenance and recycling of the propane tanks, they are the only Canadian company to manage every part of the supply chain! They do this by helping their customers exchange their propane cylinder tanks with a pre-filled replacement. This in turn increases the quality of their customer support, helps the environment, as well as extending the life of the propane tanks.

Now 20 years later, Tank Traders has exponentially grown into Canada’s largest provider of the National Barbecue Propane Tank Exchange Program and operates two key businesses out of the USA market under Tank Traders® Midwest and Tank Traders® Missouri.

Their facilities and where they are located:

Tank Traders operates in 14 Canadian production facilities and driver depots, as well as 7 American production facilities and driver depots. Their head office is located in La Salle, Manitoba.

St. George, Ontario

Located in the County of Brant, between Cambridge and Brantford, the production facility takes a hands-on approach to managing part of the company’s supply chain by putting the propane tanks through various cells for refurbishing. This location produces 5,000 tanks per day during their peak season.

To learn more about available jobs at any of Tank Traders operations, visit their website for all of their current employment opportunities their Tank Traders Career Page, check out their Indeed page, or email them at hr@tanktraders.com.


Celebrating Small Business Week

Celebrating Small Business Week

Making wall art for her own home was a stepping stone for Ashley Breitkopf to start her own business.

The Norfolk County resident started Shaded Pines in 2018 at age 19 and has been slowly growing the business ever since. Shaded Pines makes a variety of laser cut and engraved signs, wall art and home décor pieces which she sells through an online store, attracting customers by being active on social media.

Ashley was making some wall art for her home and decided to list a blanket ladder – used to hang throws or towels – for sale online.

“One ladder turned into 50+ ladders and from there I discovered wood burning, scroll saw art and eventually CNC and laser cutting, which is what I do now,” says Ashley, now 22.

“I never really decided on a business idea, things just sort of snowballed into what I do now.”

Like many small business owners, Ashley likes being her own boss and having control over what she does, noting she can decide on what products she makes or discontinues.

Also like many small business owners, Ashley has learned how to operate a business one step at a time along the way. She has faced many challenges, such as how to handle taxes, manage customer service and run social media pages. Fortunately, she’s able to turn to her parents for advice, as both parents run businesses. Her parents, her brother and her sister all help with business tasks.

Ashley’s advice to people thinking of starting a small business is about persistence. “If the first idea or product that you release isn’t as successful as you hoped, just try again, don’t give up,” she says.

Small Business Week

Small businesses like Shaded Pines are being celebrated during Small Business Week 2021 in Canada, Oct. 17 – 23.

It makes sense to celebrate small businesses, since a staggering 97% of businesses in Canada – 1.2 million in total – meet the official Statistics Canada definition of having 1 to 99 employees. Two-thirds of all employees in the country work for a small business, which has been described as the “backbone” of the economy.

Small businesses are just as important to the economy and workforce of Grand Erie.

There are more than 23,000 small businesses, including those without employees, in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk. The majority of those businesses are in real estate, agriculture and construction, along with retail stores, restaurants and bars.

At the smallest level, as of June 2021 there were 15,700 businesses owned and operated by a single entrepreneur, without employees. The highest number are in real estate, farming and professional services.

There were another 4,100 “micro businesses” which employ 1 to 4 people and 1,500 businesses that employ 5 to 9 people. Many of these are in the trades, truck transportation and professional services such as law, accounting, engineering, marketing and consulting.

And there’s another 1,700 businesses that employ 10 to 99 people, with the highest concentration in food services, drinking places, agriculture, food stores and specialty trades contracting. But that figure would also include smaller manufacturers.


There’s a wide variety of resources and supports for small business in Grand Erie and Canada, including access to grants and loans, advice on starting, growing and marketing a business, doing online sales, and networking where business owners share their success stories and challenges.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC): Has organized Small Business Week for more than 40 years. It has organized a week of events for Small Business Week 2021, including online panel discussions and guest speakers.

Brantford-Brant Business Resource Centre (BRC): Provides advice, information, free workshops and resources to start and grow a small business.

Enterprise Brant: Promotes community development in Brantford and Brant County by offering small business loans and free business counselling.

Venture Norfolk: Provides support for Norfolk County businesses with free consultation and access to small business loans.

Grand Erie Business Centre: Also supports Haldimand County businesses with free consulting services and access to small business loans.

Business organizations: There are about a dozen organizations in Grand Erie that bring together and represent businesses, including chambers of commerce, boards of trade and business improvement areas (BIAs).


Workforce Series – Interview with Caleb Haines

Workforce Series – Interview with Caleb Haines

In this week’s Workforce Series, where we share stories from local people who work in some of our region’s most important industries, we talk to Caleb Haines who is a licensed Automotive Service Technician for Bluestar Ford in Simcoe. He is also a mentor for Organized Kaos, a unique organization in Brantford that apprentices young people in life and the skilled trades by having youth work alongside established skilled trades persons.

While our new Work-Life Balance Study informed us “43% of local residents said they worked overtime everyday/couple times a week”, much of the automotive service industry works a standard 8am-5pm day, making it a good industry for those who want a clear separation of work and personal life.

In our feature, Caleb talks about how he benefited from an accelerated Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, the importance of dedicating time to training, the role his service manager played as a mentor and about living within your means.

Watch our interview with Caleb here: https://youtu.be/WYZbXBoNkMY


Some additional highlights from Caleb:

“I was very fortunate to have been able to take an Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program through Mohawk College in grade 12 of high school. I earned my level 1 while in school which made me able to get my license a year earlier than most. It accelerated my career and gave me the opportunity to buy my first house at a young age.”  

“I was also lucky to have a mentor to help me through my first few years of training and getting my license. He helped me to get off on the right foot in my career and navigate my apprenticeship training setting me up for success.”

On advice to young people – “Looking back, I would have taken all courses in high school seriously, including academic classes. Many skills come to be useful as a technician, or potentially transitioning your career to becoming a business owner.”

“In addition to being a licenced 310s Automotive Service Technician, I have a master technician certification from Ford. I wish I had focused on my specialty training earlier. Training is the key to your success – investing in all of the training you can do is well worth your time. Your pay will also often reflect the amount of training you have.”

“Within my current role and my pay plan (flat rate), I am able to make anywhere from $70, 000 to $100, 000 per year based solely on what I put into it. Automotive is a business that will never slow down, it’s only expanding and career security is massive!”

“To achieve good work-life balance, live within your means to reduce money stress. Give it your all while working, but schedule or plan free time for you – to leave any work stress behind and pursue hobbies.”

Thank you to Caleb for sharing his story with us! Stay tuned for next week, when we present another local story and industry!

Looking to explore a career or find a job? Check out Grand Erie Jobs – the biggest career and job site in our region!

Workforce Series – Interview with Stephen Chary

Workforce Series – Interview with Stephen Chary

It’s Ontario Agriculture Week and in this week’s Workforce Series we talk to Stephen Chary who works for Chary Produce, a second generation vegetable and fruit farm in Oakland, Ontario located in Norfolk County.

Stephen has worked at his family’s farm from a young age learning about everything to do with running a farm – from planting and cultivating to harvesting the farm’s extensive crop.

In addition to completing a welding ticket in his last few years of high school through a co-op program, Stephen recently participated in the newly developed Agricultural Equipment Operator Program offered by Conestoga College to refine some of his skills. The program focuses on the operation and maintenance of agricultural equipment, which he applies to keeping machinery running smoothly, performing repairs and troubleshooting unforeseen issues.

Stephen’s existing pool of knowledge is formidable, however he feels he still has some things to learn yet, such as the business side of farm operations and crop science as it relates crop infestations and disease – a common but immense challenge that many farms face.  

Our recent Work-Life Balance Study tells us “28% of respondents spend over 9 hours of their average day working”. In our feature Stephen talks about the demands of farm operations as well as the rewards, the importance of time-management skills, the value of having mentors and what his aspirations are for the future.

Watch our interview with Stephen here: https://youtu.be/9ByYlRCS6lE


Some parting highlights from talking with Stephen:

On an average day, Stephen is up between 5:30am and 6:00am and heads to the barn to meet his uncle who will provide an overview of the day with him along with providing him instructions. Instructions range depending on the season – ranging from harvest season which is taking place now, to planting season where he will find himself doing things like setting up water trucks in the fields and fertilizing crops. In the winter time – it’s often maintenance and equipment repair, getting ready for when the busy season hits.

“I’ve definitely always had people around me who were mentors”. This has included mechanics and equipment operators and people like his uncle and father who coached him in crop cultivation and business operations.

On the importance of time-management and planning – “With only so many hours in the day, it hasn’t always been easy to figure out what the most important thing is to do first. The trick is to figure out the priorities then and move onto the next thing, and then managing that in a work environment that can have  many unpredictable factors”

On developing skills – “the more skills you have the better”. Stephen feels he can apply his skilled trades skills to future job prospects and says maintaining a focus on machining and science throughout high school are helpful to working in the agricultural field. He also recommends working on a farm for a summer job to learn a lot quickly.

Thank you to Stephen for sharing his story with us! Stay tuned for next week, when we explore Caleb’s automotive industry background, training and experiences!

Looking to explore a career or find a job? Check out Grand Erie Jobs – the biggest career and job site in our region!


Workforce Series – Interview with Josh Reid

Workforce Series – Interview with Josh Reid

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie is running a Workforce Series sharing stories from local people who work in some of our region’s most important industries. We explore their background, training, experiences and insights in order to inspire and engage our youth and workforce with these industries.

In launching the series, we talk to Josh Reid who currently works for Goodminds, an Indigenous-owned publisher and bookseller in Brantford, Ontario where he was originally hired as a shipper/receiver after completing the Skills2Advance 6-week Manufacturing Warehousing training program in Brantford.

His current position encompasses an array of roles including producing a podcast, inventory management, editing and education guide writing. Josh previously worked in education and has married his background, training and experience into a dynamic role at Goodminds.

Our recent Work-Life Balance Study tells us “The 3rd most common reason for residents considering quitting their jobs was an inability to use their skillset to the fullest”. In our feature Josh talks about starting a second career, work-life balance and the fulfillment and growth he is experiencing in his newfound career.

Watch the interview with Josh: https://youtu.be/rMYd6f2M1cY


Some additional parting thoughts from Josh:

I am currently working for GoodMinds.com and as a small business (less than 10 employees), my main role is as a shipper/receiver, but I do much more than that and the company is growing fast!  I may be heading up the publishing wing as it grows, and the potential for management is there as well!

I wish I had looked for a change earlier. I feel very challenged and very fulfilled in my new career, and who knows what more I could have accomplished if I had made the change earlier? I wish I had known – or at least listened more carefully – that most people go through two, three, or even more careers in their life!  I stayed in my first career too long and it led to burnout.

In terms of mentors, I think Earla Smith, one of the Skills2Advance instructors , gave me some great advice about selecting positions when I was job hunting. That advice was that a good fit for a career is more important than pay. Don’t base decisions on salary alone. In addition to that, I think it was a “lucky break” that one of my favourite book sellers was hiring right when I was looking!

As far as advice for others starting their careers, I would say take more risks. I was very risk averse when I was graduating. I’d also say that “work smarter, not harder” is great advice. These days, many employers expect you to be “on” 24/7. That isn’t realistic. Take advantage of technology not to make you work LONGER hours, but rather, to be able to establish clear boundaries about when you are “working” and when you are “living”.

Mental health and work-life balance continue to be two of the biggest obstacles I face. It is SO important to take care of your mental health, and that is accomplished by setting firm boundaries between your work, and your life.

Thank you to Josh for sharing his story with us! Stay tuned for more from our series each Friday in October! Looking to explore a career or find a job? Check out Grand Erie Jobs – the biggest career and job site in our region!


October is Manufacturing Month, celebrating industry

October is Manufacturing Month, celebrating industry

October is Manufacturing Month, celebrating a key industry that provides thousands of jobs in the Grand Erie region.

About 1.7 million people work in manufacturing across Canada, with half of those jobs in Ontario – the country’s manufacturing heartland.

Manufacturing is the No. 1 employer in our area, with about 700 businesses employing 15,000 people in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

Local companies make an amazing array of products, some of which are household names and brands that people buy every day. Think bread, chocolates, chicken nuggets, frozen waffles, hockey sticks, air fresheners, house paint, barbecues, cat litter, drywall, windows, kitchen cabinets, LED lighting – to name a few.

Other products are for special uses or niches. Think truck trailers, forestry equipment, neon signs, cabinetry for grocery stores, playground equipment, vinyl siding, swimming pool liners.

Other products are used as a part of others. Think auto parts, steel, pharmaceutical products, recycled rubber, cement wall panels, building supplies, industrial pumps, plastic hoses.

October will be celebrated as Manufacturing Month in North America, with Oct. 1 marked as Manufacturing Day in many areas.

In the past, manufacturers have thrown open their doors to tours, giving students and other visitors a behind-the-scenes look at what they make and the types of jobs they hire for.

The October Manufacturing Month tours are a way for companies to showcase their products, people and jobs, and to dispel commonly held myths about what it is like to work in manufacturing.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie has previously organized tours of local manufacturers and has produced a dozen videos about careers at local companies (see the resource section below).

Today’s manufacturing is a lot different than 30 or 50 years ago.

The days of workers standing at a production line, doing mind-numbing repetitive tasks, in a loud, dirty factory are largely past.

Today, production is highly automated, with computers, robots and cutting-edge technology heavily used. Companies value innovation, looking for better ways of doing things and creating new products.

Advanced Manufacturing, which uses new technologies, is a rapidly growing part of the industry.

Manufacturing offers a large variety of jobs, covering dozens of occupations, types of work and skill levels, from entry level positions to the most senior and experienced.

And while men have traditionally made up the bulk of people working in production and skilled trades roles in manufacturing, more women are entering the industry.

TYPES OF JOBS: Jobs can range from machine operator to office staff, packagers, salespeople, welders, millwrights, material handlers, computer programmers, engineers, designers, researchers, chemists, quality control specialists, health and safety experts.

JOB SKILLS: Skills used in manufacturing jobs also vary. Among the skills highly valued by businesses are: problem solving, critical thinking, team work, good communication, attention to detail, customer service and people skills. Learning to work safely is also important. Each occupation may have its own set of technical skills, from operating CNC machines to blueprint reading, programming robots and repairing equipment. And like all businesses, companies need people who are reliable and show up for work on time.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Businesses hire people who haven’t finished high school up to PhDs, depending on the role. Many companies offer on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or send workers to specialized training. Many companies provide opportunities for their staff to upgrade their skills and may help pay for their courses.

OPPORTUNITIES: Many companies regularly hire to fill open positions. Some increase their hiring to meet a large order or to fill seasonal demands. Companies like to promote from within, providing opportunities for advancement to employees who demonstrate a strong work ethic, a desire to learn, and a commitment to the business. There may be further opportunities as some older workers retire.

Find Out More

We Make It Here: A dozen videos produced by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie that showcase local companies, the products they make and the people that make them.

Grand Erie Jobs: This online job board is the best source to find local manufacturing jobs, or to learn about specific manufacturing occupations or companies.

Local Training and Education

Skills2Advance: Free job training program that prepares people to work in manufacturing and warehousing in the Grand Erie region.

Skills for Steel: Free job training program to prepare people to work in the steel industry.

Conestoga College: College courses for manufacturing, including skilled trades and manufacturing management, plus continuing education courses.

Fanshawe College, Simcoe/Norfolk Regional Campus: College courses in welding and office administration, plus a number of continuing education courses.

Six Nations Polytechnic: Training for welders and machinists.

Mohawk College: College courses for manufacturing, including skilled trades, engineering and robotics training, plus continuing education courses.

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