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This article was published 23/3/2016 (1599 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Colleen Dyck is a godsend for the Manitoba manufacturing industry.
She’s young and energetic with a sunny disposition and a can-do attitude. Dyck, the recent winner of the 2016 national Mompreneur award, is the founder and owner of The Great Gorp Project Inc. in Niverville. With her "clean energy" Gorp bars now in 600 stores across the country after several years of struggling to succeed, she is clearly a rising star among a new crop of food-processing manufacturers.
Considering manufacturing takes up such a prominent chunk of Manitoba’s diversified economy — about 10 per cent of the GDP — you might not think the industry needs much motivation or inspiration to recruit and nurture more homegrown talent.
But with about 300 people attending Tuesday’s annual conference and trade show of the Manitoba division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), the prevalence and importance of promoting the industry was once again significant this year.
Dyck hosted a half-hour motivational session repeated three times during the day. She talked about how passionate her customers have become without her needing to do much strategizing to make that happen.
Humbly suggesting she "accidently" did a few things right, one of her main messages was to be authentic.
For several years now, Ron Koslowsky, CME’s Manitoba vice-president, has spoken regularly about the need to attract young people into the industry, highlighting how much the industry has changed since the days of our grandfathers’ factory jobs.
The CME is taking that need to promote up another notch. This year, Koslowsky has appeared on panel discussions on election campaign issues for the first time.
"More and more, I’m getting involved in trying to shape public policy as it relates to the environment of biz for manufacturers in Manitoba," Koslowsky said.
Just like Dyck, the CME is trying to listen more closely to what its members are saying.
"We want to grow our economy. That is what is going to help us balance the budget (and) deliver the services we want for citizens," Koslowsky said. "We also need innovation."
It also needs young people joining the industry. In addition to getting Dyck out in front of delegates, the CME conference included focused mentoring for about 40 students.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.
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