Faces in the Crowd – No Regrets

Posted on September 28, 2017 under Faces in the Crowd with 2 comments

 

“ The reason I moved here was because of the people. The reason I invested here was because of the people. The reason I will stay here is because of the people.”

Meet Lenita Hanson

Lenita Hanson never met a challenge that she didn’t relish. She was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and got her first lessons in work ethic on the family farm in Birch Hills. Her father epitomized the notion of entrepreneurship, trying his hand at many different businesses. He instilled confidence in his children and imbued them with a healthy dose of fearlessness in tackling new things. Lenita took this to heart,  buying and selling cars while still in high school. She sold her first car before she was even licensed to drive!

She also discovered quickly that being in business isn’t always profitable. “ You win some and you lose some. Sometimes the losses are actually wins because of the lessons learned. I recognized at an early age that failure was not to be feared.”  She , like many others, regrets that in an era of “Fair Play” in sports, many young people do not experience failure… sometimes life’s best teacher.

She started her post secondary education studying psychology. After taking a year off, she enrolled in the science program at the University of Saskatchewan with an eye to becoming a forensic scientist. She worked at the Saskatchewan Zoo and then did an internship with the Canadian Wildlife Service. She worked for a biopharmaceutical company for a few years. Through all of these endeavours, she felt that she might find her niche in the area of business development.

From 2002-09, Lenita worked for Star Egg, a Saskatchewan based business specializing in the grading, distribution and marketing of shell eggs. Here she met her first professional mentor ( besides her dad! ). Bert Harman saw her potential and encouraged her at every turn. She took on roles with increasing responsibility and learned a great deal about food safety.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Lenita’s next foray was as the production manager at a restaurant. “ I loved learning new things. Change is great.”

Lenita was always a sports enthusiast. She played a variety of sports and took a shining to ringette at the age of 10, a sport that she played avidly until the age of 18. In her third year at the University of Saskatchewan, she decided to try out for the fledgling women’s hockey team . She had to scramble to find goalie gear, having never played the sport. Some of the equipment came from a pawnshop. She made the squad and a year later, the team attained CIS status. She has maintained lifelong friendships from this group of athletes.

During this time she met someone from Antigonish and was invited to come for a visit. From the moment she stepped outside of the airport in Halifax, she could feel something special. She took an instant liking to Nova Scotia. After her second visit, she returned home and wrote down her three year plan to move to Antigonish, after discussing this with her spouse, Amy Irwin.

She could not believe her good fortune when she saw an ad for a Production Development Manager at Tony’s Meat’s in Antigonish. It was as if the job had been written for her. She accepted the position in 2012 and has been there ever since.  Initially, her focus was on food safety and when Tony’s received its Global Food Safety designation, it opened up a world of new market possibilities.

In 2015, when the opportunity presented itself for an ownership share, Lenita didn’t flinch. She knew it was a well run business and had lots of potential.

In 2014, she and Amy built their dream home “ in the Ohio” with wood milled from local timber.

Not long ago, she made a new acquisition: a tattoo. It contains words to live by.

“ Respect. Love. Forgive. No regrets.”

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on September 25, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

 

The leaves are changing colors, the mornings are quite cool,

Summer is behind us, the kids are back at school.

The pumpkins are ripening, the apples turning red,

It’s time to add the comforter, to keep toes warm in bed.

You split the wood and stack it, and occasionally get a splinter,

“A small price to pay “ they say, for the warmth in the coming winter.

The days are getting shorter, although the ground’s still soft,

The spuds are in the cellar, the hay is in the loft.

A trip around the Cabot Trail, is always something sweet,

Especially during Celtic Colors ,where the music can’t be beat.

The cedar chest is open, to put away summer clothes,

“ Where did the time go?” , no one seems to know.

The university’s in session, our population swells,

“How will October quizzes go?”  only time will tell.

The days will fly by, Mother Nature will change the scene,

And before you can say “trick or treat”, it will be Halloween.

These are just a few simple thoughts, and that’s not all,

I just checked the calendar and realized it’s Fall.

 

 

 

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Faces in the Crowd – Chartering a New Course

Posted on September 21, 2017 under Faces in the Crowd with no comments yet

The one that didn’t get away.

 

“ You get to meet some amazing people from different parts of the world.”

Meet Rob Boyd.

To say that fishing is “ in the blood’ would be an understatement for Rob Boyd and many others like him along St. George’s Bay. His father and grandfather fished for years out of Cribbon’s Point. As children, he and his brother Mark were on the boats all the time observing and learning the tricks of the trade and the meaning of hard work.

Commercial fishing has always been an unpredictable business so Rob obtained a university education in Business just to make sure he had something tucked away in case fishing didn’t work out.

Acquiring a fishing license is no mean feat so when a fisherman died in 2001, he and Mark snapped up the license and got into business together.

“ The work is very demanding and stressful. When the catch is landed there are three people to pay: The bank, Revenue Canada and the fishermen. It is not uncommon for there to be little or nothing after taking care of the first two.”

In the early days, they knew nothing about the tuna fishery. The first tuna they ever caught was close to 1000 pounds. They weren’t even sure how to land it and had to call a friend to come and help them. Call it beginner’s luck or whatever, but the boys thought that they would become millionaires overnight. “ We quickly learned that you could go an entire season without landing a tuna.”

Around 2010-11, a few fishermen in the Maritime provinces started tuna charters. This was in response to the proliferation of tuna in the region. Quotas were reduced and the season shortened. Fisheries officials decided that tuna charters would be acceptable as long as it was based on a catch and release basis.

The Boyd’s commenced their charter business in 2012 and have never looked back. They are fully booked every year and many of their clientele are repeat customers. “ Consumers have high expectations of a quality experience and those of us in the industry do our best to fulfill their needs.” Rob is quick to point out that his wife, Sonya is a key part of the team providing excellent food for their guests.

The economic impact in the region is huge and may be one of the best kept secrets. While lobster continues to be the mainstay for the local fisheries, tuna charters are fast becoming vital cogs in the tourism sector. Hotels, restaurants and  car rentals all benefit from travellers from distant locales.  “Besides the fishing itself, our guests comment on how friendly and laid back people are in this part of the world.”

It would appear that tuna fishing has an addictive element. “ Tuna fishing is more of an illness than a fishery. You keep chasing these crazy fish around all day. Saner people would have packed it in.”

Rob briefly tried his hands at the bagpipes years ago . “ As the first born, I was expected to learn but I didn’t have a musical bone in my body. “  Maybe he’ll pick them up again someday and use them to attract tuna from the bow of his boat rather than using sophisticated tracking devices!

Or maybe not!

 

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