Meet Justin! Justin is a long-term employee at Kalesnikoff who has been with us for over ten years and was nominated to be featured in our Our People Inspire series by Kalesnikoff’s GM of Manufacturing, Brad Mason. Not only does Justin demonstrate tremendous work ethic, but Brad also explained that it was Justin’s mechanical aptitude that positioned him to be a natural selection for our planerman/millwright apprenticeship program.
During his time with us, he has achieved a AA grading ticket and successfully completed his 5th class Power Engineers course. Justin accomplished all of this while also working at his biggest and best job of all – being a husband and a father to three little ones.
Keep reading below for a Q&A with Justin.
Q: How and why did you get into this industry?
A: I got into the lumber industry because I know it is a special industry that allows growth and opportunity. I like to work hard, so it was essential that I found a place where I could be myself and make a decent living close to home. Canada has a history that is tied to the forest industry, I felt I just had to be a part of that.
Q: Why Kalesnikoff?
A: I chose Kalesnikoff because it was solid work and I was scheduled Monday to Friday with overtime available when I needed it and plenty of opportunity to grow within the company. When the economy or industry has struggled, Kalesnikoff has supported their employees. What I really like about Kalesnikoff is that I can come to work and have a conversation with the President, you will not see that at many places of this capacity.
Q: What is your favourite part of your job and favourite thing about this company?
A: My favorite part of my job is the people I get to work with. I love my job because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the success of this company. Everyday presents a new challenge, if I am ever stuck on something I can always find someone who is willing to help get the job done. This place presents a great atmosphere and culture, the pay is good and everyone treats their co-workers with respect.
Q: Where can we find you after hours or on the weekends? What do you get up to in your spare time?
A: On the weekends you could find me on my boat fishing with my daughters. I am a father of 3 so we all like to go out camping, bike riding or down at the beach. In the winter months we spend a lot of time at the ski hill or sledding on the mountain. I try to stay active with my children, pretty much every weekend we try to find something to do
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: In my opinion, this company has helped me become successful. I started on the cleanup crew, for about a week, then they moved me into a piler position on the green chain. When the sawmill upgrade was finished, I started piling on the planer dry chain, quickly moved into a lumber grading and machine operating position and ended up getting my AA grading ticket.
I started a fifth class power engineering course that I just finished and ended up getting my ticket. I am waiting to get government certification now.
Just before I finished the 5th class Power Engineer course, the company offered me a Millwright apprenticeship, on the planer team so I am now training to be a Planerman.
This company also helped me through a mental health issue and were there to support me the whole way through my recovery. When I got back, I got MSR certified and now am at MSR supervisor status through the Council of Forest Industries (COFI).
This is by far the best place I have ever worked, I enjoy my job and wouldn’t change anything, even if I could. Ken Kalesnikoff has greeted me plenty of times, the Kalesnikoff family knows my story and has even met my children. This sawmill is more than a job to me, this will be my career and I have no plans on leaving.