5 Reasons Why Women Love Manufacturing in the Bay of Quinte Region

Female Beclawat Worker

Females are under-represented in manufacturing careers. According to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), “Women hold less than 4.5 per cent of all skilled trades jobs across Canada. They also account for just 8.3 per cent of all jobs in transportation and heavy machinery operation, as well as 7.2 per cent of jobs in supervisory and central control operation positions. Finally, women account for fewer than one in four jobs in STEM fields.” 

However, the good news is that when women do work in manufacturing, they generally enjoy their jobs.

The same CME report noted the following three key survey findings:

  1. “Women in manufacturing are generally happy with their career choice.
  2. Manufacturing has much to offer female workers.
  3. Obstacles to increasing female representation can be overcome.”

The Bay of Quinte region is fortunate to have a number of women in manufacturing careers, including several high-level executives and company owners. Here’s why they enjoy their jobs in the region’s manufacturing sector.

Bay of Quinte Region Women Who Love Their Manufacturing Careers

The Bay of Quinte’s world-class, supply chain serves the local cluster of food processing facilities in an ideal location for distribution.

Lori Bolander, Director, Secondary Packaging, HEXO Corp, Belleville

As the General Manager of HEXO, an expanding company at the leading edge of the cannabis industry, Lori Bolander knows the importance of location for shipping and growth. 

“Belleville is strategically located because it’s roughly equal distance to Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, providing access to a lot of the major markets in this part of Canada. The size of our infrastructure in Belleville allows us to grow our manufacturing under one roof.”

Cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the world, which means HEXO has amazing opportunities ahead for expansion and collaboration. 

The opportunity to design and create something meaningful from scratch in the community with an affordable, high-quality lifestyle.

Lorie Boychuk, Owner, Mrs. B’s Country Candy, Brighton

Lorie Boychuk has been manufacturing artisan Belgian chocolate treats since 1999. Now in her third Mrs. B’s Country Candy storefront location, she still designs and creates one batch at a time. 

“We’re very artisan and hands-on, we don’t use a lot of big machines, so we can design and get creative with what we’re producing,” explains Lorie Boychuk

And in her downtime, she enjoys living in a smaller community with great amenities, noting, “Property in the Bay of Quinte is cheaper than bigger locations, and when we started there were low interest loans available for businesses. We’re in downtown Brighton, and the taxes are cheaper here than in the city – and it’s such a great town, full of cafes, free parking…a great place to spend the day.” 

The highly skilled workforce and manufacturing support provide the network of resources needed for success.

Chandy Davis, VP Engineering, Electro Cables Inc., Trenton

Electro Cables provides high-quality electronic and electrical cable solutions to customers around the globe from their Bay of Quinte region manufacturing facility.

“This area itself is so beautiful with so many amazing places to enjoy boating and fishing; it really helps to retain our workforce in this area,” says Chandy Davis. Having such a beautiful area to live and work means manufacturing gives Davis and the Electro Cables team the lifestyle they want.

The scenic Bay of Quinte region provides amazing advanced manufacturing support to the cluster of manufacturing businesses already located here and those wishing to relocate to the area.

The Quinte Manufacturers Association (QMA) helps local advanced manufacturing companies with networking, industry updates, funding opportunities and guidance and advocacy around manufacturing regulations. Davis is so passionate about the area and the support it provides to manufacturers, she is now the new Chair of the QMA.

The ability to serve customer’s needs and provide value that really makes a difference by keeping them at full capacity.  

Isabelle Graveline, President & CEO, Kilmarnock Enterprise, Quinte West

Kilmarnock provides project management solutions for complex problems, including infrastructure and automation, to the region’s large cluster of manufacturers. “As a full-service industrial support company, we’re a key part of our clients’ operational and improvement needs, helping them stay at full capacity,” says Graveline, who appreciates the many opportunities in the Bay of Quinte community.

Being able to reliably reach and service most clients (within 30 minutes) is a key component of Kilmarnock’s value-add when something breaks on a client’s production line.

“It’s a very proactive region that is always looking ahead and initiating things local industry might need. QEDC and partner organizations hold a lot of events for manufacturers where we can meet each other and talk about challenges and opportunities. That’s huge for us,” says Graveline.

Taking pride in a job well done and feeling part of a greater purpose.

Lisa Donovan, Finance Director, Miltex Solutions, Quinte West

Miltex Solutions provides products to the Canadian Military and Militaries around the world. 

“There’s a very collaborative approach. Our customers are here at the Trenton base, the biggest airbase in Canada. That’s why we are here – to support the troops living in our community,” Donovan states, noting the Miltex team is proud to serve their country and feels a strong sense of patriotism.

She continues, “We feel a great pride – Canadian pride – in being able to continue to operate during the pandemic. We’ve been able to keep everyone on salary, shift our manufacturing to provide essential equipment to the community, and continue to serve our military partners who keep us safe every day. That’s what being a Canadian company is all about.” 

QEDC Supports Bay of Quinte Women in Manufacturing

The Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) is available to provide connections, resources and guidance to local women in manufacturing.

QEDC Helps Women in Manufacturing with:

  • Selecting production facility sites
  • Hiring for the best-fit candidate
  • Networking with local industry leaders
  • Leveraging financial incentives
  • Improving process efficiency

Check out all the support QEDC offers to local manufacturers and other Bay of Quinte region businesses.