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Entrepreneur of the Year: Luc Stang

"I look at things from the perspective of, how do we find synergies to better compete at the regional and national level?"

Luc Stang has set a lofty goal for Gin-Cor Industries.

The president and CEO wants his Mattawa-based heavy truck equipment company to eventually be recognized as one of Canada's 50 best managed companies.

Making Gin-Cor a place where people want to come to work and where employee input is respected and valued will mean attracting the best people to fuel the company's future growth plans.

In drawing inspiration from business management guru Jim Collins, Stang isn't satisfied with merely being a good company, but wants to create a culture where employees are engaged, take ownership of the work they do, and embrace change.

"Through growth, changes comes whether you want it or not, and it comes pretty quickly sometimes."

The 60-employee company is considered an industry leader in "upfitting" by customizing all brands of truck chassis to install dump boxes, snow plows, sanders, flatbeds, cranes and decking.

"Our goal is not be the biggest, but be really good at what we do," said Stang.

The company began as a small welding and fabrication shop started by Bob Corriveau and Louis Gingras in 1978, before expanding into truck body sales in 1986. Through hard work and relentless customer service, Gingras Corriveau quickly became the number one dealer in Canada for Bibeau dump-bodies.

Stang arrived on the scene in 2002 after 15 years in the chemical industry, having bought the company from his uncle Bob, the current mayor of Papineau-Cameron Township.

What he inherited was a "well-oiled machine" with a very loyal customer base and a solid industry reputation installing top-quality products. But like many truck upfitters, it was run like a Mom-and-Pop operation.

Stang was determined to take it to the next level with double-digit sales every year and a bigger marketshare.

He introduced more standardization by documenting procedures and cross-training personnel, and more day-to-day decison-making was delegated to staff.

"I put things in place to allow others to make decisions and gave them some latitude to allow them to learn and grow."

Under the mission statement, 'We build trucks that owners want to own and drivers want to drive,' Stang has also launched a diversification strategy.

For years, Gin-Cor ran like a seasonal business. Dump boxes were installed in the spring for the upcoming summer construction season before activity picked up again in the fall, attaching snow handling equipment for winter.

Stang is out to find new business to keep revenues rolling in all year long.

In chasing more municipal work, Gin-Cor has a four-year deal to build and supply snow plow trucks for the City of Ottawa, and is gaining national exposure with dump and plow truck contracts with the Department of National Defence.

To be closer to customers, Gin-Cor established sales offices in Ottawa, London and Newmarket.

Eventually, Stang intends to establish a network of service centres in southern Ontario for maintenance, repairs and parts distribution.

The recent opening of a new 18,000-square foot production facility represents an ability to streamline their assembly process and physically expand with an eye on future growth.

With large sandblasting and paint booths, Gin-Cor is pursuing refurbishment work in the mining industry.

What Stang has brought to Gin-Cor is a keen understanding of the North American marketplace and the company's competitors.

"I look at things from the perspective of, how do we find synergies to better compete at the regional and national level?"

Often presented with various distribution and partnership proposals, Stang is always shrewd in weighing all options that make for the best corporate fit.

"We only want to align ourselves with the best, those we recognize as the best, regionally or globally."