Women with Skill: Kelly Baird-Pestell talks Rigging Industry & Teamwork

kelly baird pestell rigging industry
Kelly Baird-Pestell is our Territory Sales Manager from Sudbury, Ontario and she’s worked in and around the rigging industry for most of her career—just because she’s behind-the-scenes, doesn’t mean her hands don’t get dirty.
 

Read on to learn more about her career path in the rigging industry, and her role at Hercules SLR. 

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

I completed a Business Administration diploma at community college and right from school, went to work in the mining industry. I worked as a mine clerk right out of college for 2 years, and then went to work for another company as their Service/Maintenance Planner, and this role included a lot – I was in-charge of contracts, ordering equipment parts and scheduling jobs for multiple businesses and mine sites in town as we had several contracts. I had a hand in most of went on at the mine. 

I had my third child, went back to work for a short time and decided it was time for a change. I saw a position with Hercules SLR as a Service Supervisor, and this proved to be the best move I could’ve made. Since then, I’ve been Operations Manager and now, as Territory Sales Manager I feel like I have a solid understanding of all aspects of the business.

What made you decide to go into the rigging industry after achieving your diploma? 

The Sudbury mining industry was booming at this time, so it made sense to follow the opportunity – I grew up with family who worked in the mining industry, so it was also something I was familiar with. (Did you know Mining is one of the main industries Hercules SLR serves?!)

I made a goal to get a job with a large mine that’s in Sudbury right out of school, and I did! Some people joke and say I have a horseshoe hanging over my head, (laughs) but I think it has more to do with knowing what I want and having the drive to go after it. I was a single mother that was able to spot an opportunity, decide what I wanted, and achieve it. I walked out of college with a diploma, and right into a job! 

I loved it. Even though I didn’t come from a technical background, I can learn anything I put my mind to. I jumped in headfirst, and even though the environment was tough, I was able to grow a thick skin quickly (important in this industry!), and learn how to hold my ground. 

I also love that the rigging industry impacts the whole community. Especially since mining is so prevalent in Sudbury, the rigging industry impacts our entire community – It’s nice to know work makes a difference.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

The biggest reason I joined the Hercules SLR team is the opportunity for growth. Sometimes, you’re thrown into things that take time to grasp and there’s so much going on that really, you’re forced to learn. 

We have some awesome training opportunities at Hercules SLR, like Covey Leadership Training, Rigging Fundamental training and meetings with suppliers about new products – this hands-on experience is just one of the reasons I wanted to work to Hercules SLR.  

I love working for a Canadian company, contributing to an end-result and actually having my voice heard. Even though we’re a national-wide company, it really has that small-company-feel. At Hercules SLR, I really feel like our executives listen to what we say, and will actually try our suggestions to see if they work. 

Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR?

I haven’t travelled very much during my time at Hercules SLR – I’ve been to Hamilton, Ontario! However, I’d love to visit our head office on the East Coast. Eventually, I want to visit Hercules SLR’s East and West Coast branches and learn more first-hand about how different regions work, and what they focus on. 

rigging industry

 

Honestly, I’m most proud of our team in Sudbury. Our region experienced a lot of change over a 6-month period, and during this challenging time we were able to come out stronger than ever. Our team not only brought in new customers, but we were even able to bring back customers we had lost. 

Advice on leading a team:

To be brutally honest, there was an Operations Manager here once who gave me some great, simple, advice – « Have work-life balance, » Which is something I used to struggle with. Now, I don’t live to work, I work to live. I enjoy my family, job and life in general. 

To do this, I try to take a step back, get organized, not put too much pressure on myself and remind myself I can only do so much. I find if I’m stressed, I can’t work to my full-potential. So now, I try to put myself first– for me, this means eating healthy, going to the gym and spending time with my family, so I can do my job better. 

Being able to put myself first makes it easier to focus on the different priorities that arise each day. This company doesn’t run with only 1 person. Hercules SLR needs every team member it has to rise to top and be the leader in this industry. I’m so grateful to be a part of it!

What do you love  most about your job and the rigging industry? 

I love the variety! Everyday looks different in the rigging industry. I love helping our clients fix their problems – Nobody calls us because their crane is working! We’re constantly the solution for our clients, and I love being part of the solution, not the problem.

And, as I mentioned, I also love our Sudbury crew – Adriana, Rick, David, Netasha, Frank and I make a great team! 

What’s something you’re most proud to have accomplished in your career at Hercules SLR?

Honestly, I’m most proud of our team in Sudbury. Our region experienced a lot of change over a 6-month period, and during this challenging time we were able to come out stronger than ever. Our team not only brought in new customers, but we were even able to bring back customers we had lost. 

Advice on leading a team:

To be brutally honest, there was an Operations Manager here once who gave me some great, simple, advice – « Have work-life balance, » Which is something I used to struggle with. Now, I don’t live to work, I work to live. I enjoy my family, job and life in general.

To do this, I try to take a step back, get organized, not put too much pressure on myself and remind myself I can only do so much. I find if I’m stressed, I can’t work to my full-potential. So now, I try to put myself first– for me, this means eating healthy, going to the gym and spending time with my family, so I can do my job better. 

Being able to put myself first makes it easier to focus on the different priorities that arise each day. This company doesn’t run with only one person. Hercules SLR needs every team member it has to rise to top and be the leader in the rigging industry. I’m so grateful to be a part of it!

What do you love  most about your job and the rigging industry? 

I love the variety! Everyday looks different. I love helping our clients fix their problems – Nobody calls us because their crane is working! We’re constantly the solution for our clients, and I love being part of the solution, not the problem.

And, as I mentioned, I also love our Sudbury crew – Adriana, Rick, David, Netasha, Frank and I make a great team!


Learn more about life at Hercules SLR: 

GET TO KNOW YOUR TRAINING SPECIALIST, JAMIE ENGLAND

GET TO KNOW HERCULES MARKETING SPECIALIST, AMANDA WHITE

GET TO KNOW YOUR LANGLEY, BC NDE INSPECTOR, CHRIS DAVIES


STAY IN THE LOOP—FOLLOW US

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Hercules Training Academy: Securing, Lifting & Rigging

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Hercules Training Academy: First Course Complete

The Hercules Training Academy is open for training—last week Hercules was thrilled to have eight employees hailing from across Canada participate in our first ever training program. Employees from CSR, sales and management gathered at Hercules’ new, purpose-built specialized Training Academy in Dartmouth, NS to learn the ins and outs (quite literally)—of securing, lifting and rigging in our first specialized training course.

Training Academy Facilities

What makes Hercules’ Training Academy ‘specialized’? Our equipment, for one. Our new custom crane is built into the warehouse floor and can lift up to 10 tonnes—pieces of concrete were actually torn up in order to fix the crane to the floor. This gives our employees experience working with larger, more realistic loads that one may commonly see on a job site.

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In addition to the large crane, we have two smaller, portable cranes—these can be used for activities outdoors or on the warehouse floor, and allow trainee’s to practice securing, lifting and rigging in various settings.

In addition to the rigging equipment available at the Training Academy, there are two new classroom spaces. Trainees spend a time in the classroom learning various details, features and differences between equipment like hoists, buckles and slings. Then, they take their knowledge to a practical setting.

This combination of practical and classroom experience is invaluable for our clients and customers.

« I’ve learned so much on the course that will help my understand my customers’ needs much better. I know what’s a workable solution, and how to interpret the needs of the clients’ project, » says Keyne, a CSR from Hamilton, Ontario.

One activity included Hercules’ employees hoisting and lifting objects up and through holes outdoors, which mimicked the challenges of rigging objects into the top of a larger structure, like a boat. Another required employees to secure, lift and rig irregular shaped objects into a shipping container. This showed our employees some of the challenges workers face onsite—things like balancing a large objects’ centre of gravity, evenly distributing a heavy load and properly securing misshapen objects.

Dwayne Fader, Business Development Manager (and former rigging technician!) at Hercules explained some of the common misconceptions and complications workers face with rigging a heavy load. « There is so much more math involved than you think—I’ve never used it more than when I worked in rigging. You have to make sure things are even, balanced and fit correctly—all more challenging than it seems. »

Commitment to Learning

Hercules truly believes that experience is the best teacher, which is why we developed the Training Academy. When we teach our employees how to work with the products we sell, and get a ‘taste’ of what the job is actually like, they gain a whole new insight towards issues our customers and clients face daily—and are able to offer practical solutions and advice. Simply put—our employees don’t just ‘talk the talk’, but can ‘walk the walk’, too.

TJ, a Sales Manager from  Langley, BC says « The Training Academy session was fantastic. I’ve learned more useful skills than I expected, and it’s been fun! The hands-on activities really helped me understand what I was learning. It made me realize what’s great in theory, and then what you actually need to do to make that theory workable. »

Hercules’ employees gained a lot from their time at the Training Academy, and many are excited to do again.

« If there’s a Rigging 2—I want to be on it! I learned stuff I never knew I needed to know, and it’s been FUN. »  says Quincy, an Inspector from Hamilton, Ontario. « Who ever thought I’d use ‘work’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence? But I have—and it was! »

Hercules offers practical, hands-on learning programs designed to exceed minimum safety requirements. These courses can be customized to fit the specific needs of your workplace, and can be provide training on-site or at a Hercules facility.

We’ve always been committed to providing specialized training—see the table below to discover our available training courses.

Current Courses Offered:
Power Operated Work PlatformsChain Saw Safety

Confined Space Entrant & Attendant (CSEA)

Fall Protection

Fundamentals of Rigging with Practical

Forklift Safety (Narrow Aisle or Counterbalance)

Lock Out Tag Out

Red Cross Emergency First AidRed Cross Standard First Aid

Fall Rescue Systems

WHMIS 2015 with GHS

Fundamentals of Overhead Cranes

Fundamentals of Rigging

Offshore Rigger Banksman

Overhead Crane Operator

There really is no substitute for experience. All in all, Hercules’ employees had a similar takeaway. Marc, a Manager from Quebec, explains « This week has been amazing. I learned so much about the industry, and now I can understand the jobs as our clients do. I’ve actually already taken some material home for Rigging 2, and I’ve completed the math exercise! It’s great. »

More questions about training at Hercules? E-mail us at training@herculesslr.com.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.