Just outside of Cornwall, on a tree-lined facility on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, is the home of Dynamic Closures. It’s a commercial security door manufacturing facility with a long history — and a wonderful secret.
Founded in 1975 by side-folding security door inventor Robert Labelle, the company came to Cornwall in the 1980s. While ownership has changed, some things, like Dynamic’s spirit of innovation, keep getting stronger.
Dynamic has had its ups and downs like any company, but through it all there are an incredible number of employees who have stayed for decades. The longest serving employee, Dan Villeneuve, has been with the company since 1979 – that’s over 38 years. In fact, the average number of years of service is almost 20 years. In an era where employees stay with a company an average of around 4.6 years, that’s huge.
What’s behind this ability to keep employees happy and productive? A positive culture that includes great camaraderie and the chance to advance for those with exceptional skills. The benefit to Dynamic is retaining expertise. That means more time can be spent on gaining new knowledge, because less time is spent training new people in the basics.
Room to Grow
Janice Sobering, now with the customer service team, started on the shop floor helping to build the doors. Today she helps architects and designers find the best options for their projects, and ensures specifications they provide are correct.
“After so many years, being able to say I still love what I do says a lot for the company you work for and the people you work with.” she says.
Joey Nelson, a “rookie” employee (with just over 6 years at Dynamic) says, “Coming from a corporate environment, it’s nice to work for a private company that truly cares about the wellbeing of their employees both at work and at home.”
Product engineer Mike Svenson started as a CAD Technician. Today much of his time is spent devising efficient new ways to build better parts and products. Sales manager Jack Roy started in customer service.
Great Coaches Make a Great Team
But it’s about much more that being able to use your skills. It’s also about creating a supportive environment where people can grow and excel. It’s about having a management structure where the bosses are more like coaches. “I tell people all the time ‘Mike Mahoney is the best boss in the world. Bar none.’ ” says Kris Rorabeck, who has been with Dynamic since 1988, and who ensures all products have the right documentation for export to other countries.
“It takes great people to get great results, and it’s hard to get great results if people are unhappy,” says Sales Manager Jack Roy. “We have a fantastic group here who are always ready to pitch in. For example, whenever anyone is trying to raise money for a charity, everyone helps, and we even get donations from the company.”
Karen Eitzen, also with the customer service team, agrees. “I work with a great bunch of people, both in the office and in the plant, and I am proud of the quality and design of the products we manufacture.”
This positive perspective extends beyond the office. Dan Froats, who has been working on the shop floor since 1986, has a similar view. “This company is versatile and innovative, they always found ways to keep the business going when manufacturing in Canada is so challenging. There’s a sense of comfort here, it’s like home, knowing the lights are on when I arrive at work in the morning.”
As it turns out, the secret to having a company with staying power is to find great people, and give them as many reasons as you can to stay.