Meet Lead Inspector, Shane Ford

hercules slr employee spotlight shane ford

Get to Know: Shane Ford, Lead Inspector at Hercules SLR in Brampton, Ontario 

Shane Ford, Lead Inspector, @the_inspector_guy, the guy who keeps you safe…You probably know Shane Ford, our Lead Inspector in Brampton, Ontario by at least one of these names. And you don’t, you should. We sit down with Lead Inspector Shane Ford in Brampton, Ontario, to find out why he made the switch to rigging from the telecommunication industry (yep, really!), what he loves about his role at Hercules SLR and the biggest mistakes he finds out in the field.

Tell us about your educational background:

Originally, I worked in telecommunications. I made the transition to rigging after I met someone who worked in the field and learnt a bit about it.

Now, I’ve been in the industry just over 13 years—I started on the floor in shipping & receiving, and now I’m the Lead Inspector at our branch in Brampton, Ontario.

Tell us a about your role at Hercules SLR—What does a typical day look like for you?

My day starts at 8AM, usually on the warehouse on the floor where I inspect chain slings, add chain to chain blocks and whatever other rigging hardware needs to be looked at. Then, on an interesting day, I might get an emergency call for a project, like a windmill inspection. (Editor’s note: did you know there are approximately 3,800 blade failures each year?) The windmill is about a 2 1/2 hour-drive away, and a 365-stair climb when I get there.

Once I’m through inspecting the windmill, that’s a day. Often when you’re working on huge structures, like a crane, they’ll have an elevator on the ladder—Not on windmills! There are rest-points, but in all honesty I’m usually so eager to get to work, I climb the entire structure in one-go.

windmill inspection by shane ford at hercules slr
Windmill inspected by Shane Ford.

In fact, a lot of my days look quite different. For example, tomorrow I’m off working for the City of Toronto, today I’m working in the shop, and then I’m heading to a business that sells industrial tarps. These tarps aren’t actually meant to cover things like you might think, but are used for specialty fall protection and lifting & hoisting applications to move things on-site.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Like I mentioned earlier, I originally worked in the telecommunication industry. I worked in a hobby-shop and then in management. I managed different cell phone branches in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and was responsible for sales, helping with technical issues and customer issues. This experience definitely helped me deal with customers when I’m in the field doing inspections.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

Really, I just wanted a career change and was looking for something that offered a stable, steady income, was hands-on and also ‘pushed the envelope’.

I’m definitely more mechanically-inclined, and wanted to pursue a field that challenged that aspect of myself.

As an inspector at Hercules SLR, I get to work with equipment like air hoists & manual hoists that I didn’t have a chance to work on before, which has pushed my interests a lot.

Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR, and where did you enjoy traveling to most?

I’ve got to travel to so many cool places, a lot of them in my own backyard! Can I say more than one? (laughs)

One of the places I’ve enjoyed the most has got to be Shelburne, Ontario to work on wind turbines (a large vaned wheel which rotates with the wind to generate electricity) in the facility there. They don’t let many people up and inside them, so it feels like a big privilege—And the view is amazing!

Sometimes, I get to observe the people at work and what they do when I’m out on a job. Another cool place I’ve traveled for work is the GM plant in Oshawa where I got watch them manufacture cars from start to finish.

General Dynamics is another cool place! To work there, you need security clearance, a variety of official background checks and a guard to accompany you—It’s intense but very cool. There, I had the chance to watch them manufacture amoured personnel carriers for the army from start to finish. It’s pretty cool to see a piece of sheet metal turn into an entire vehicle right before your eyes!

However, I think the coolest project I actually worked on are the Zip-lines at Niagara Falls. I was one of three Hercules SLR Inspectors who prepped the wire rope with hooks and sockets on each end, tested it in-house, and installed it with specialty 1/2 lock-strand—It went ‘live’ in 2015, and is always cool to see people using.

niagara falls ziplines installed by hercules slr
Zip-lines at Niagara Falls, installed by Shane Ford and a team of Hercules SLR Inspection Technicians.
Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

Honestly, I couldn’t imagine anything more fun or crazy. I get to go so many cool places, that I didn’t even know rigging was used before I started working with Hercules SLR. A really good example of this is the Bank of Canada, who uses wire rope. A lot of people might not think of rigging equipment in a bank, but it’s definitely there. At the Bank. an armed guard stands by a gated door while I head in and inspect the wire rope they use. It’s neat to get a behind-the-scenes look at places I normally wouldn’t!

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

I’m most proud of what I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve been able to advance in my career at Hercules SLR in 2 1/2 years. I came into this trade from a completely different industry, and now I’m certified by organizational bodies like LEEA, Columbus McKinnon, Crosby, Samson Rope and more and always have new learning opportunities.

Another thing I’m proud to have accomplished in the securing, lifting and rigging industry personally, is the trust I get on a company-level and from customers’ onsite. I work out of our Brampton branch, and help out Hamilton and Brampton. I actually live almost exactly between these branches, so I’m able to travel between both of them to provide service, and also travel to our branch in Sarnia for inspections which gives me a good spread of Ontario.

Another thing that makes me happy is knowing that I help keep people safe. I like going to help, solve people’s problems and making sure ***that I’m keeping others’ safe. I can’t help but think of my own family when I’m on a site, and how everyone around me has a family, too—I want to go home to my family, and I want them to go home to theirs, too. 

What do you enjoy most about the securing, lifting and rigging industry? 

Honestly, I enjoy the challenges the most. I love going to help & solve mechanical challenges for people. We might get a call that a piece of machinery is stuck, and it’s delaying an entire project. You have to diagnose and think about it on-the-spot, and often the work we’re doing can prevent something disastrous from happening, and can actually save lives.

For example, on one call we had an inspector notice a 200-lb hoist about 50-feet in the air that was having operational issues. We had to take the hoist out of service and into our shop. Yes, it’s 200-pounds, but an object falling that high can deflect and cause a lot more damage than you might think. The more experience you have, the more it helps you do this type of job.

“Don’t put on an act when the inspector’s around, and actually make it habit to perform visual inspections.”

dangerous modified rigging equipment
Modified rigging equipment that came across Shane Ford’s desk—This would be very dangerous if used in the field.
What’s something clients/customers often don’t know about inspections when you visit them onsite? A mistake? 

Well, it’s not necessarily a mistake, but I always like to say “seeing is believing.” I’ve done break tests for customers’ who don’t think that a piece of equipment will break under certain conditions or applications.

Honestly, the main thing that clients or customers’ don’t realize about inspections are how important they are. A big misconception people have is that they have to check their equipment only when there’s an incident, or they are completely unaware of when or how often inspections need to be done.

For example, sometimes a piece of equipment like a sling fails, and I’m called in to inspect it. I’ll ask, “when have you had inspections done last?” Often, they can’t answer, even though it’s important information to know. I’ll usually explain how often that piece of equipment needs work on, and you see their eyes bulge out of their heads. Then, you end up going through when and how often it should be inspected, and you can sometimes tell they haven’t been following those steps. Instead of having inspections done when an accident happens, have inspections done regularly to prevent accidents from happening.

Another thing I often see are people grabbing the wrong piece of equipment, or something that’s failed, or picking up a piece of equipment like safety harness or sling and not conducting a visual inspection first. It’s important to make it a habit, so your equipment doesn’t fail from something that could have been easily prevented if you just looked.

So I guess my biggest tips are: don’t put on an act when the inspector’s around, and actually make it habit to perform visual inspections.

Shane Ford with his son.
Give us your best tip for passing inspections:

I can’t stress this enough—Training, training, training. Everybody needs training! Even people who say they’re confident and know can always use training, or even updated training to keep them fresh. Training, and keeping the importance of safety top-of-mind for your team will eliminate the mis-use of equipment, equipment failures & lots of accidents.

For example, we had a technician who specialized in fall protection (harness’, lanyards, etc,) and found that a lot of gear passed inspection and was being used, and it was not safe to use. The employee that originally told us our equipment was safe to use (and wasn’t), and was actually hired for health & safety, but didn’t have specific training for fall protection. They passed some harnesses that were cut, lanyards that had tears and hooks with defects that would typically never pass any inspection, and employees were using it. This gear  would not arrest a worker if a fall happened—But training for health & safety personnel would help them understand the risk, and what safe equipment actually looks like.

What’s a big misconception businesses have about inspections?  

I think I mentioned this, but a big misconception people have about inspections are how often they need to be done, and this needs to be common knowledge.

Another big misconception is that just anyone can perform inspections, which is not the case. Inspections must be done by a competent person, and it has to be the right person for the right job. Like with the case of the health & safety employee who passed torn and broken fall protection equipment, he may have had a lot of knowledge about general health & safety, but when it comes to human life, that’s often not enough. It has to be the right person for the right job, or a collaboration with someone who is a competent person in that specific field.

Inspections are a great career choice if you’re curious, love to learn, solve problems & are mechanically-inclined. I get to work around food, pharmaceuticals, automotive, manufacturing and so much more. I’m able to learn so much about businesses and jobs here in Ontario that I’d have no exposure to otherwise. It’s actually pretty cool when you start to see all the different industries who use rigging & fall protection gear, and how many lives are affected by a piece of equipment running well.


Employee Spotlight: Isabelle Bulmer, Territory Sales Manager

hercules slr territory sales manager blog header

Get to Know your Territory Sales Manager, Isabelle Bulmer

What’s it like to work at Herc? Meet Isabelle Bulmer, our Territory Sales Manager (an avid gym-goer!) based at Hercules SLR in Moncton, New Brunswick.

When Isabelle’s not at Hercules SLR, she love to be at the gym and has a huge passion for health, fitness, self-improvement and spending time with her family.

Read on to learn more about what Isabelle’s role at Hercules SLR and what she loves about the rigging industry.

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

For the past 17 years I’ve worked in managerial roles, with 14 years spent in the contact center industry.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Before I joined Hercules SLR, I worked as an Operations Manager for United Rentals, and before that I spent 10 years at VitalAire.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

I decided to work for Hercules SLR because it was still a job that served the construction industry, which I find very interesting and challenging. And, the learning opportunities with Hercules SLR are endless!

Isabelle Bulmer, Territory Sales Manager in New Brunswick










Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR, and where did you enjoy traveling to most? Anywhere you’d like to travel in the future with Hercules SLR?

I’ve been to Dartmouth a few times for training, but I’ve since taken on the new Territory Sales Manager role at Hercules SLR where I’ll see clients outside the branch—I look forward to hitting the road. meeting new clients and travelling to different cities in my territory.

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

Within a few months, I was able to move into the Territory Sales position—I can’t wait to begin my journey, since sales have been a passion for me and I’ve been wanting to move into this type of role for awhile. I’m so thankful Hercules SLR could give me this opportunity!

What do you enjoy most about working in the rigging industry?

I enjoy the unlimited amount of product and knowledge there is to learn in the rigging industry, and the never-ending learning opportunities.

Why do you work safe?

I work safe because I have 2 children at home who require more than your average care, so it’s important for them to have the support & love they need and deserve. Coming home to them each day keeps me motivated.

I’m passionate about my health & always working to become a healthier, stronger & better me, so I can be there for my kids and have the energy to keep going, and feel GREAT while doing it!


Employee Spotlight: Olivia Whidden, CSR

hercules slr customer service representative in new brunswick

Get to Know Olivia Whidden, CSR in Moncton, NB

Get to know the team at Hercules SLR in Moncton, New Brunswick! Meet Olivia Whidden, a Customer Service Representative (and newlywed!) who’s recently joined the team at our Moncton branch.

When Olivia’s not at Hercules, she enjoys spending time with her husband and family—The most important thing about her? She’s a champ at using chopsticks.

Read on to learn more about Olivia’s role at Hercules SLR and what she loves about the rigging industry in New Brunswick.

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

I recently graduated from Riverview High School in New Brunswick! I’m getting my feet wet at Hercules SLR

An interesting fact about Olivia is…

I’m a newlywed, so I love spending time with my family (old and new!) But the most important thing about me is that I use chopsticks really well!

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Before I starting at Hercules SLR, I did a lot of customer service work—This led to a role as the Maintenance and Technology Manager for McDonalds.

Olivia Whidden, CSR at Hercules SLR in Moncton, NB.












Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

I decided to work for Hercules SLR because I wanted to work for a company that provides a challenge for me and is people-centered.

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

Even though I’m newer to the team, I’m really proud of how much I’ve picked up in such a short amount of time—I caught on how-to navigate Streamline, our CRM & Logistics software quickly, which I’m happy about.

What do you enjoy most about working in the rigging industry?

I love to discover new things, so I love that there’s always something new to learn each day.

Why do you work safe? 

I work safe so I can go home to my husband….Instead of asking him to pick me up at the hospital!


Get to Know your National Program Manager, Lisa Barkhouse

hercules slr program manager

Get to Know your National Program Manager, Lisa Barkhouse

What’s it like to be the National Program Manager at Hercules SLR? We talk to Lisa Barkhouse, who trains and develops learning programs for Hercules SLR branches across Canada. 

We sit down with our National Program Manager, Lisa Barkhouse, to discuss her role at Hercules SLR, learning styles and why she’s passionate about training. 

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

I made the principals list in high school and received a bursary to attend Mount Saint Vince University, however for me, learning has been a continued process.

I’ve completed many programs like Dale Carnage, Life Coaching by Eleanor Beaton, ISO training with BDC, Steven Covey Leadership Coaching, and Woman in Business sessions, and this training has been so valuable for me to improve in my role. 

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Before starting at Hercules SLR, I worked at a variety of places! My very first job was in customer service as a cashier at Canadian Tire in 1985—This experience was key to learning how I wanted to treat other people. 

My first full-time job was at a family-run trucking business, ‘County Trucking’ doing manual accounting and using a two-way radio to communicate with the truckers. This was an interesting experience as we made the switch from a manual to digital system, which was called Business Visions.

In 1991, I left this role to work for my a family’s business, Darose Controls, which my uncle owned at the time. During this time, I had two kids, and decided to take 3 years off to enjoy my family, leaving this role. 

When I decided to re-enter the work-force, I worked as a bookkeeper for Gartec Industrial—Ann Kelly, one of the owners was a huge influence for me, as a mentor in business and leadership. Eventually, I went back to accounting then made the shift to sales in Gartec—In this role I built relationships and realized I loved getting to know people, which was a nice change from accounting.

I ended up working for a company called IMP Marine, now ‘Spartan Industrial Marine’. For the next 3 years, I learned about rigging, inspections and inside sales, and built great relationships there.

What made you decide to go into this industry?

Well, in high school, I had the best marks in was accounting! I was drawn to the start and finish process accounting provides.

But, I truly believed customer service chose me! Growing up, at the supper table my father would talk about his day building furniture, and later, as manager of trades at a university and tell us “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

He really instilled in me to learn, and take training and education on in all forms, in each roll I was in.  Accounting was just the start of my business understanding—Leading, influencing and getting people to see how they impact business in every roll is what excited me about leadership.

When did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

I needed to work for an organization that challenged me and I could put all I learned to work. I understood rigging practices and inspections from IMP, and Hercules SLR stood out as an opportunity to improve even more. 

I actually frequented the same coffee shop every day, where Matt Corey (Hercules General Manager for the Atlantic region) went to. After seeing him there over a year, I asked him one day “What’s exciting at Hercules SLR? I’m interested if there might be an opportunity for me there.” He told me he’d be in touch, and the rest is history—I’m a firm believer that it never hurts to ask a question! 

Soon after, in October 2009, I started as a CSR (Customer Service Representative). I wanted to be the best CSR in the world—Yes, in the world! In my mind, if customer service was what life had in store for me, I’d do it with greatness.

3 months in to the roll, I was meeting all my KPI’s! Matt knew I could do more to help the branch and I was offered the role of Operations Manager. 

Picture this: There’s a new lady in-charge of a rigging shop, shipping department and webbing department—At my first Toolbox meeting, one of the riggers asked me, “What can you do we don’t already know?” After 3 months I was a leader for them now, and I had to show up much different than I did before. Eventually, I moved on to a new area of the company that focuses on the marine industry, which I was familiar with. When I delivered the news to our rigging team that I was leaving, let’s just say they were sad to see me go. I knew I’d earned their trust and proved I supported them. We had good profits, moral and built relationships, and I knew I’d be missed from this branch. 

Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR?

I’ve traveled to so many places throughout Canada! As National Program Manager, I’ve travelled to train in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Calgary and British Colombia to support the branches in operations, and leadership. 

You’ve been all over! Where have you enjoyed traveling to most?

I enjoyed working and helping throughout Nova Scotia with their operations, inventory & fish shows.

Over the last 3 years, I’ve spent most of my time in Ontario teaching the operations of Hercules, building the leaders to be effective, and understanding how they can impact the business in a positive way. 

We’ve been hard at work to influence, support and teach this region—I believe their leaders are set to stand out and lead their teams to a profitable region with a culture of outstanding leadership Hercules will be proud of. 

Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

This year, Hercules will take me coast-to-coast—It’s important to me build relationships personally, and in my role. I’d like to work more in the East and West coast regions, and help them strengthen relationships with their customers, and show them the impact it has on operational & sales strategies. 

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

I’m most proud to help others see their potential accomplishments—I stand for the success of others first.

When you work in service for others, you reap the rewards of success you could not have ever imagined. I love helping others be successful in their roles, but I can’t talk about my accomplishments and not share who’s given me support along the way. From the beginning with Matt Cory, Linda Kettle, Darlene Vickers, Chris Reid, Cory Young, Paul Johnston and Rose Efford are just some of the great people here that have pushed me to be better. 

Overall, my greatest accomplishment is earning trust by delivering results to the business, and be given a role to help others, and myself work in an environment that values continuous learning and growth. 

Can you give us a piece of advice on leadership?

It’s been said many times that “Leadership is a choice.”

Hercules works hard to make our roles better & easier—Each morning, I look into the mirror and ask myself “How will I help make Hercules better?” Make the team’s work easier?” I think big about my role and how I influence others to perform. 

If you’re not engaged, I think it’s important to ask why, and seek a support team to surround yourself and learn how you can get engaged. It’s way more fun to be apart of the team than sit on the bench.

As leaders, we need to educate teams on what we do each day to deliver results of the business objective. Delivering results to the business, this builds trust.

One of your core responsibilities as Program Manager at Hercules SLR is to create training plans—Can you give us some of your best tips to plan a training session? What do you focus on?

When I build training plans, I know time and learning styles can be the biggest constraints. 

It’s up to me to build something to start with—Then I share, get feedback, and build on what we already know to make it as efficient as it can be. My vision is to make training easy, useful and actionable.

This year I want to groom the on-boarding that has been built, and make sure every Hercules SLR team member, new or old, has the same base level of understanding of how our systems work.

This year, the topics I’m focused on supporting and training our staff in are:  

  • Margin building
  • Freight training
  • Inventory accuracy & adjustments
  • On-boarding CSR’s in sales, shipping & receiving
  • Branch Management handbook on roles & responsibilities
  • CertTracker training roll-out—Labour recovery, department training
  • National Sales Strategies training and score boarding
  • Quote conversion

Before you took on the role as Program Manager in a national capacity, you had a lot of success as a Branch Manager—What kind of things did you achieve? 

One undertaking that was an enormous success, was improving operational strategies by delivering 93% labour recovery in our manufacturing department during our first 6 months in business. Last year, this department hit their 85% target, improving by 10% in the last 6 months, and they did it with 1½ fewer staff members. 

Another project that was a major accomplishment was work on a CSR-confident sales approach. I worked to launch initiatives like the Air Miles program, new product programs and product & services training to give CSR’s better tools to provide the best customer experience they can. We’ve put CSR’s on the road with our outside sales representatives to learn more about our customer’s lives, actually see the sites & projects they work on and be able to build stronger relationships with them and give the best service possible. 







HR@HERCULESSLR.COM  (902) 468-6827


Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

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

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email

Why Workplace Culture Matters | #HercAtWork

why workplace culture matters


Fun at work is important, and this is one of the reasons why workplace culture matters — Seriously. We’ve went over our passion for safety before, but we’re also passionate about fun. 

Why is fun important? Well, an article from Monster states that a focus on happiness at work not only leads to a more positive workforce, but a better bottom-line, too.

Studies found organizations that had fun and were allowed to be silly were linked to higher employee engagement, retention and profitability. Another study completed by the University of Warwick found that happier employees put in more effort, and were more productive by 12%, and in some cases even 20% more productive.  

There are more abstract benefits that show why fun workplace culture matters, too—Workplaces that allow employees to have fun also allow them to be more creative, which often leads to employees to find unique solutions to organizational problems.   

Fun really is a win-win situation for employers, managers and employees. 

workplace culture matters employees dressed up for Halloween at Hercules slr
Some of our staff from ‘Accounts Receivable’ at Head Office having fun on Halloween


















Here are just some of the ways we have fun at Hercules SLR: 

  • Contests and incentives for reaching goals, targets & achievements 
  • Social committee with activities like mini golf, axe-throwing and arts & craft nights  
  • Company comraderies
  • Collaborative and upbeat environment 


At Hercules SLR, we work hard and take pride in our work, but we know that sometimes it’s nice to sweeten the deal.

Hercules SLR offers: 

  • Fully-equipped break-room with vending machine, complementary coffee & tea and cooking appliances like a grill, toaster & kettle
  • On-the-job training (Videos, manuals, online power-point & resources) 
  • Free parking



HR@HERCULESSLR.COM 1-877-461-4876







Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries. 

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

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.