BC Air Quality Advisories
Due to the recent forest fires, there have been numerous inquiries regarding air quality in Metro Vancouver and around the province. For up to date information regarding air quality in your area during regular business hours, please visit BC Air Quality website at the following link:
BC Air Quality:
In addition, you can retrieve status updates outside business hours at the following link:
Public Weather Alerts for British Columbia:
Waterfront Leaders: Class of 2015
On May 21st, 2015 the BCMEA and Capilano University recognized the academic achievements of assistant superintendents, superintendents and managers from across the waterfront, by celebrating the first Cohort of the Waterfront Leadership Certificate Program.
Participants in the program committed to 15 days over a 7 month period, gaining knowledge in areas such as health and safety, business basics, transformational labour relations, corporate social responsibility, and developing high performance teams. Each participant was challenged to critique their leadership skills and build on them.
It isn't easy taking our leaders of the waterfront away from the routine of the sites and testing them in classroom, but it is necessary. It is our obligation to provide these individuals with the tools and education they require for a successful career on the waterfront and to benefit our society as a whole.
Each of the participants, normally isolated to their single company, were brought together into one room to share their challenges and learn from each other – as well as be taught by strong and well experienced instructors that brought new knowledge and case studies to everyone. Macey Nielissen, Labour Relations Manager, stated:
As a Labour Relations Manager, this is the hope she has for the future of the program – that each participant would come out of the program more equipped for success then they were going into it.
Labour Relations 101 Returns
The Labour Relations team re-introduced the LR101 course in May 2015, geared towards management personnel of our member companies who are wanting to get an LR refresher or for those new to the industry. This one day course included presentations on a wide range of topics including interpreting the collective agreement, discipline and grievance procedure, the arbitration process, as well as work slowdowns and strikes. Due to the number of interested participants we were able to offer two classes. Both classes were interactive with lots of good discussion, breaking down issues and scenarios, role play (a popular feature we were told), and an opportunity to network with colleagues in the industry. Overall, a very successful "re-launch" of a popular topic that our member companies deal with on a regular basis.
A big thanks to those that were able to attend and for those who missed the spring offering, a fall offering is in the works. Stay tuned for more information.
Just a reminder, a full breakdown of topics covered in Labour Relations 101 can be found on our website, under Labour Relations/Labour Relations Training. In addition, we can customize and develop training programs according to your specific needs. Please contact Angela Christensen to learn more.
Pinnacle Pellets Trip Report
On May 5th,Fraser Blair and I travelled to Prince George to visit Pinnacle Pellets and their Meadowbanks mill, south of the city.
In the morning, we arrived at the Prince George Airport where Scott Bax, Senior Vice President of Operations, greeted us. After a quick introduction, Scott took us to the Pinnacle Head Office located 10 minutes outside Prince George. Meeting in the boardroom, we were joined by Rob McCurdy, CEO , Leroy Reitsma, President & COO, and Greg Lobsinger, Plant Manager, for an overview of Pinnacle's operations. The overview was a great introduction to the company while also allowing Fraser and I to give an overview of the BCMEA as well.
After the meeting we grabbed a quick lunch before traveling 70 km south to the Meadowbanks mill for a guided tour. Upon arrival we noticed the Meadowbanks operation in full swing. Outside the mill lay large piles of sawdust, chips, bark and full logs. Our tour started outside by watching a dozer load the sawdust, chips, and bark into a conveyor belt where the large debris is separated and the appropriate sized wood scraps continue into the mill. Next, the debris enters a "hammering" machine where it is broken down into a desired particle size before the conveyor takes the smaller particles into the dryer. The dryer is a long horizontal rotating cylinder with an temperature of 600 degrees Celsius at the entrance and 100 degrees Celsius at the exit. The drying process is important to the pellet as a perfect pellet has 5% moisture - any more, the pellet begins to break apart and is inefficient during the burning process. Another interesting note about the dryer belongs to its design. The dryer will not stop rotating and the debris will not stop moving forward. Because of the constant moving, the pellets are less likely to ignite – an important fire prevention feature. After the drying process the debris moves to another hammering machine, which also aids in the drying process, before entering one of six pelleting machines.
These machines stand about six feet tall, each with a steel "wheel" with pellet sized holes lining the rim. The wood particles are pressed by a 400 hp motor through the holes where, due to the heat and pressure, they briefly partially liquefy. When the wood particles reach the other side of the holes, they look like soft pellets. Prior to transportation, the pellets are cooled to add strength and travel down a vibrating conveyor where the fine pieces are removed and placed back into the process. The mill process is completed when the pellets are loaded into some of the 580 pinnacle-owned railcars to be shipped to either Prince Rupert or North Vancouver.
Even though the trip was only a few hours, Scott and his team were able to answer many questions that broadened our understanding of Pinnacle and pellet manufacturing. For instance, Pinnacle is the second largest pellet manufacturer in North America, producing 1.1 million tons of pellets from five BC mills each year. Pellets are made from scrap wood left over from logged land or sawdust and left over ends of logs from nearby mills, making them carbon neutral and renewable. In years past, this wood was either burnedor buried. Scott went on to explain that only 30% of trees on a plot will be used to make lumber – the rest is discarded. The large amount of discarded material provides an opportunity for Pinnacle to turn each of their mills into 24 hour operations. The pellets produced are shipped to Asia and the UK and are normally used to replace coal to fuel plants and manufacturing processes, as well as a small amount that is used in residential stoves in Europe.
In the end, Fraser and I had the pleasure of getting a first hand look at the Pinnacle operation. We left by extending the invitation to Scott and his team for a guided tour of the waterfront for a date of their choosing.
First Waterfront Leadership Cohort Completes Program
The Waterfront Leadership certificate program was created to invest in our future leaders, who are the key to the continuing success of the waterfront industry. The program was designed as a simple way to communicate to our employees that we value their growth, their development, and the way they are perceived as leaders.
The program covered 9 courses in 15 days: health and safety, understanding the supply chain, business basics, transformational labour relations, coaching employees in the workplace, developing high performance teams, social corporate responsibility, operations management and creativity and innovation.
Comments like these show how a small investment in our future leaders can foster both long and short-term results. Not only can the employer see these benefits, but the employee can see change in themselves.
In a leadership position, one can find themselves feeling like a little fish in a big pond, especially when they are new to the industry. The Waterfront Leadership program allowed peers to come together and share their experiences, and showed participants that they weren’t alone in the challenges that they face. A real focus of the program was using group work and roleplaying to give participants a hands-on, collaborative approach to learning about and confronting these challenges.
The BCMEA will continue to find new ways to help members invest in their employees, as continued education is the key to more effective and more efficient leaders on the waterfront.
Ron Anderson wins Citizen of the Year Award
The Squamish Chamber of Commerce has awarded Ron Anderson, former President and CEO of Squamish Terminals, with their Citizen of the Year award. The BCMEA would like to congratulate Ron, and thank him for his many years of service in his community and our industry.
The local paper, The Squamish Chief, covered the awards night and included a piece on Ron's career and his reaction to the honor.
[Indented] Ron Anderson came to Squamish as president and CEO of Squamish Terminals 26 years ago and never looked back.
"I was recruited to work here and thought it would be a wonderful place to live," he recalled in an interview with The Squamish Chief. Anderson and his wife, Debbie, had a three-year-old daughter at the time; their son was born a year later. "Both of them were raised in Squamish and had a fantastic life. Squamish is a wonderful place for children… all the sports, all the activities."
His job was busy, but Anderson soon began volunteering. He served 22 years with the chamber of commerce, including four terms as president, and 17 years with the West Coast Railway Association including twice as chairperson. He has also served for a time as president of the Rotary Club of Squamish and as chairman of the Corridor Mayors’ Committee, which was successful in getting major improvements to the Sea to Sky Highway.
He enjoyed volunteer work and acknowledged it was possible only because of the support he received from his wife and work colleagues.
Anderson, 62, retired Nov. 1, 2014, after several months of medical leave. He has been battling colorectal cancer that has progressed to his liver and has gone through 16 rounds of chemotherapy. The chemo, which he receives every two weeks, "put me down for a few days," and that’s why he couldn’t be at the awards ceremony. "But I am not completely immobile," he said. "I am still fairly active."
He was thrilled to hear that he had been named Citizen of the Year. "I really appreciated that…. I was shocked and happy at the same time."
"It is time that Ron is recognized for his dedication, experience, integrity, professionalism and overall leadership in everything he does," Squamish Terminals' Kim Stegeman-Lowe said in the nomination.
Anderson praised his former colleagues at the Terminals for their actions after a dock ignited in flames on April 16. "I was devastated to understand it had happened. I know they had followed a very tight protocol and made sure no one was injured, which was a huge relief…. They handled it very well."
He also praised Squamish people for their passion and said although issues such as the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant create diverse opinions, "I find people can be quite civilized in their discussions. They can still continue to be nice to each other, and I hope that will continue. LNG… there are always little things like that…. If it wasn’t LNG, it would be something else."[End indent]
The BCMEA would like to congratulate Ron, and thank him for his many years of service in his community and our industry.
Women on the Waterfront
To highlight the diversity of work and acknowledge the contributions women have made to the BC waterfront industry, the BCMEA has partnered with the leadership of the Longshore Union and the women of the industry.
“The Face of the Waterfront has Changed”
Please visit the feature page for more information and to view the video