Feb 3, 2019
By Line Goyette
After eight months, 263 events, 17 broken clocks, and thousands of competitors, Ideal Industries’ 2018 National Championship Qualifying Round in Canada came to an end last October, and the Third Annual Ideal National Skills Competition took place December 1-3 in Orlando, Florida. The competition brought together some of the best electricians from across North America.
This marked the first Ideal National Championship that had been extended to Canadian competitors. In all, nearly 40,000 electricians across North America took part in local timed competitions organized by Ideal Industries. From these 40,000, a professional representative and apprentice were selected from each state, as well as from both Western and Eastern Canada based on their times. A team comprising one professional and one apprentice were also selected from each area.
Lance has always been hands on and results oriented. As a teenager, he learned to fix things because his father had stopped doing it for him. One day, an advertisement for an electrician caught his attention. He decided to act on it.
“I did my schooling in Sarnia and then Kitchener. I completed my apprenticeship as soon as I could (three and a half years), and I worked with four or five family businesses.”
In the process, he felt in love with the trade. Here’s why: “Electricity is something you have to think about ahead of time. You have to work smarter, not harder. Troubleshooting is an important part of our work, finding solutions, solving problems, it’s the best part of our job.”
After Lance’s apprenticeship — he was by then a married man — his wife suggested he become a master electrician, which he did. For the last four and a half years he has been running his own company with his wife, and has six employees.
I asked Lance what were the greatest challenges for his business. “As a boss I would say it’s quality. Making mistakes is part of human nature, but we can also do everything in our power to prevent them. I want our work to be of the highest quality possible. The customer is always right, not really, but this is our message. And it pays, the future is in front of us and I think we are going in the right direction. I don’t want our business to expand in terms of employees, but I’m more interested in maintaining our level of quality than in hiring more people.”
With three young children and a healthy business, how did he find time to participate in Ideal’s competition? He admits it was time consuming. “We got an email from our distributor, we tried it for fun, and we started to really like it. I have a competitive nature. It was fun, good camaraderie, and I really wanted to represent my country.”
His youngest daughter (under one year old) was with him at the competition in Florida, so I asked him how as the head of a small company he was able to manage time for himself and his family. “The best thing I did was to not have strict shifts. I am home at 5:00 and I answer my phone after the kids are in bed. Very often we hear people saying that they are working all the time for their family, but you have to be with your family. You can’t have a bigger eye-opener than a 2-year-old who puts his face between you and your phone. I always have dinner with my family.
“I think it should be a new way of doing business. Put the phone down. We live in a device world. During weekends I try to be 100% at home.”
Visit Lance’s website company at www.elgelectric.ca
Learn more about Ideal Industries’ National Championship
Line Goyette is Managing Editor of CEW; email@example.com.