Industry leader grooms talent from within
By NADINE ROBINSON
For Northern Ontario Business
As Tasha Kingsley drove into work, she noticed the 10 international flags representing major customers at RDH Mining Equipment (RDH) were barely fluttering. She knew it was going to be another scorcher of a day in Alban. In their newly expanded 15,000-square-foot facility, Kingsley would be cool in the air-conditioned office, but it would be a different story for shop workers.
Thankfully for those designing and fabricating the mining and underground mobile tunnelling equipment on site, 60 kilometres south of Sudbury at French River, the owner would soon arrive with frozen treats for everyone. “Four employees bought RDH from the previous owner, so they know what it’s like to work those hot summer days,” said Kingsley.
“The owners truly care about employees and want to do what they can to make them comfortable.”
In 2013, RDH made the list in the Annual PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies (by PROFIT Magazine). Established in 1984 with three employees, RDH has now grown to 56 employees.
Popsicles aren’t the only advantage to working at RDH; fish fries are also common.
“We’re a pretty social group,” said Kingsley, executive assistant to the COO. “Partially out of necessity, since we are quite isolated, but we’re now a big goofy family, and the company likes to celebrate accomplishments like the completion of a major order.”
Since RDH become an industry leader by creating the first fully independent battery-operated underground mining equipment
in 2012, there have been a lot more fish fries.
“Being an innovative industry leader is a source of pride for our employees,” said Kingsley.
RDH believes in nurturing the close-knit atmosphere, with activities like golf tournaments, where employees, owners, and
key suppliers all vie for prizes, a trophy, and bragging rights.
“There’s always a lot of joking, laughing, and fist-bumping… And of course we round out the day with a chicken and fish fry,”
She states that the turnover is low and that RDH is a great source of employment for people from the community.
“Many employees are drawn to us for our reputation and competitive wages and benefits, but they stay because of the variety
and complexity of the work,” said Kingsley. “We also nurture staff who show the passion and fire to get full licences to become electricians and mechanics. We also pay for them to get their common core training, even though the underground safety course is not mandatory. We like to cultivate the employees we have here.”
It is also not uncommon for workers to change roles depending on the project.
“We have clients around the world, and a diverse staff as well, so someone who is normally a mechanic might pitch in to provide translation services for an instruction manual,” said Kingsley. “Employees love the diversity of work.”
Employees with language skills have the opportunity to travel with the equipment and to ensure that it is properly commissioned and training is of high quality.
On the flipside, in Alban, employees help show off the Canadian lifestyle to international customers on their 36-acre lot. “We have a house on-site to host customers, not to mention a sugar shack on our property,” said Kingsley. “Recently, we showed international customers how to make maple syrup.”
Employees and owners at RDH are from Russia, Chile, China, Pakistan, the United States, and Canada, among others.
“Suppliers and customers notice our family dynamic right away,” said Kingsley.
“Not to mention that we have a high level of respect for each other. It is a diverse, positive, and respectful work environment.”
RDH allows for flex-time, and will shut down early on Fridays when things are slow to let employees enjoy their surroundings.
“The quality of life here is amazing,” said Kingsley. “It’s really no surprise that most of our employees come to us through
word of mouth; people want to work here.”
RDH also contributes to the food bank, Easter Seals, was a major contributor to the children’s splash pad, and takes part
in the Christmas parade in French River every year.
Visit http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=1533d94e-65a6-4d6a-b08f-826959ebe386 to read the article in the October issue of Northern Ontario Business.
NOB Five Best Places to Work in Northern Ontario October Issue