Congratulations to Duron Atlantic’s Leadership Excellence Graduates

The Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) and Duron Atlantic Limited would like to congratulate all the graduates of the joint Duron Atlantic Limited and Construction Association of Nova Scotia Leadership Excellence for Managers and Supervisors Program. 

Over the course of the past four months, 12 Duron Atlantic employees undertook 5 dedicated and intensive 1-day education sessions to enhance their skills and knowledge in leadership and project supervision.  By all accounts, the course was a great success, and each participant should be proud of their accomplishment. 

The Construction Association of Nova Scotia’s Leadership Excellence for Managers and Supervisors has become a staple in educating current and future leaders in the construction industry. Sought out by members in both public and private format. Modules included: Leading on the Frontline, Communicating with Confidence, Dealing with Difficult Behaviors, Training and Coaching People to Perform, and Building Personal and Team Accountability.

As we wrapped up the five-day program, CANS interviewed Alan MacPherson, President of Duron Atlantic Limited, following the course, see below for an excerpt from that Q&A session!

Congratulations, Duron Atlantic for being leaders in training!

Interview with Alan MacPherson, President of Duron Atlantic Limited

Why did Duron decide to invest in developing their leaders? Why is improving on soft skills so important to your organization? And what impact do you think this has on the construction industry?   

“Construction is a fantastic industry.  We get to do exciting and important things, and we work with great people to get stuff done!  You’re asking about ‘soft skills’ but I’d challenge you on that phrase.  There is nothing harder than leadership, especially leading people in technical and difficult industries.  What we do at Duron Atlantic is tough work.  What we do is intrinsically dangerous, we work hard and the work we do is far from easy.  To do it well, we need to work together in a safe and positive way, with each person contributing in their own area of expertise.  A good leader allows for their team members to each work to their own capacity, leveraging their individual talents toward a common objective.  This is a hard thing to do and we want to give our people the tools they need to lead at every level.”

Old-school management techniques don’t work anymore.  It doesn’t work in any industry, and certainly doesn’t work in construction.  By providing our people with the tools and resources that allows their own teams to excel, we will be enabling Duron Atlantic to continue to deliver the best results in this industry, bar none.”


What was the ROI for this training? Are you seeing an impact on your leaders? 

“To calculate a Return on Investment for training is something that occurs over a long period of time.  You see it in reduced employee turnover, increased efficiencies on jobs, better safety outcomes, less downtime on equipment, better communication with customers, etc.  We are only able to achieve these things because we operate better as a team – and we genuinely care about our people. 

Our approach to our teams is focused on three things: we hire good people, we offer ongoing education as best that we can, and we provide our teams the resources they need to do their jobs right.  That’s it, really.  The payback for us, as a company, is that we get to work with the highest standard of people in the industry doing the most challenging jobs. 

“Along the way, we hope that we can continue to retain everyone we’ve invested in, but that’s not always within our control.  All we can do is to continue to invest in our people, trust each other to do what’s right, and work together toward common goals – doing what’s right for our customers.”


Why did you choose/trust CANS to deliver this training? 

“We are fortunate in the Maritimes to have great industry partners.  We have been working with CANS for a long time; decades, in fact.  We have a close relationship with CANS and have done lots of education with them through the years.

The Leadership Excellence employees were able to participant regularly in ongoing education by entrusting their worksites in the capable hands of their teams.  In all sincerity, it could not have worked out better.  The training sessions started in February and finished in May.  The folks in the education sessions put their trust in their teams to carry-on their work while they were not onsite, which demonstrated a lot of faith in the teams and was a working testament to the effectiveness of the knowledge learned in the Leadership Excellence course.  Truly, we all benefited from this training even though only a fraction of the company participated in the actual classroom sessions.”


How was your experience working with CANS? 

“CANS could not have been a better partner.  They were flexible, professional, clear in their expectations and delivery, plus an absolute pleasure to work with.  We will be doing further work with CANS, on that, you can be sure.”


What would you tell others about this training and CANS Education? 

“Just do it.  These types of courses are a big investment, of that I am certain.  There’s a risk of people not staying with you after you’ve invested the money and time into courses like this too.  That’s true and I can tell you that it’s happened to us.  But would we invest in this education again?  Yes.  Would we invest in that person who left, you might ask?  Absolutely!  We are in the business of fixing concrete, preventing buildings from leaks, and doing great coatings.  We need good people to make all of these things happen.  And you don’t get good people by accident.  You get good people through trust. 

“Our measure of whether this course is a success is not dependent upon the results of one person or the length of time that someone remains with us.  Don’t get me wrong, as  a business we truly hope that we are able to keep each person we invest in and that there is a measurable ROI for every dollar invested.  But that would be living in a fantasy.  We judge our success in providing education more broadly than that.  We invest in education and our people so that our culture continues to improve, so that people know that it’s good to continue to learn, so that people understand that no single person knows everything, and so that people are aware it’s okay to make mistakes.  Sometimes that is when we learn the most.  And that’s our long-term vision for ROI at Duron Atlantic:  investing in the best people through continuous learning.”



How will your participation in the Leadership Excellence Program make you a more effective frontline manager or supervisor?

  • “It gave us the tools to reach different types of people, like thinking about how people who learn and think differently than yourself can be reached.”
  • “It brought to the surface the differences that people can have in personality, learning, reactions to different pressure etc.”
  • “It gave a better understanding as to how people learn and what you can do to adapt to their needs.”
  • “It’ll make me more effective on how I approach and coach different individuals.”
  • “I will understand that each person has unique aspects that you will have to observe in order to effectively manage them.”
  • “It will help me relate more to my employees and better understand their needs.”

What would you say to others who are considering taking the Leadership Excellence Program?

  • “It will help you understand people better”
  • “It will help you with different situations in and out of workplace.”
  • “The more people you deal with, the more of a priority this course should be.”
  • “Take this course because even if you believe you have things figured out — you likely don’t.”
  • “Have an open mind and there will be a lot of new things you will learn.”

What general comments or feedback do you have about the content and/or delivery of the Leadership Excellence Program?

  • “I found it interesting to see him employ the tools he was teaching us at different times to help keep everyone engaged.”
  • “I enjoyed the fact that it was an interactive and involved course. Better than someone talking at you for 8 hours.”
  • “Gerard did a fantastic job. Very engaging and practices what he preaches.”
  • “I thought it was very well organized. I enjoyed how [Gerard used] teaching us over the weeks as a good example of how to effectively manage a group. The content was a nice balance of theory to real life situations.”
  • “Great course.”

What would you say to others who are considering taking a CANS course ONLINE?

  • “It was a good example of alternative methods of communicating. Easier to have more energy, easier to be distracted.”
  • “It was interesting and just as helpful as taking it in person.”
  • “It well thought out and to give it a chance.”
  • “CANS was a great experience. I prefer in-person, but online was very seamless and fun with lots of educational value!”
Book Your Own Private Training

Questions? For more information on booking private training for your company, contact:

Contact: Chantal Arsenault
Director, Policy & Workforce Development |
902-468-2267 ext 706