Trade & Business Growth Thursdays Lunch & Learn


CME is hosting a series of Lunch & Learn sessions that aim to help participants promote and create awareness of trade issues and opportunities. These roundtable discussions on business needs and entrepreneurial alignment will help support the adoption of best business practices and growth for the manufacturing sector. This series of sessions will provide attendees with the opportunity to listen from business leaders and professionals on key aspects of business development and exports, to share experiences, make meaningful business to business connections, and to encourage focused discussion on key areas for manufacturers.


Business Owners, Presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, General Managers, VPs of Sales and Marketing, Sales Directors, Sales Managers, Business and Marketing Functions and anyone with general responsibility for business development, business growth, export and commercialization within the manufacturing environment.




11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. CST





APRIL 28, 2022 - Exports and International Trade Across Canada, the US and Beyond

Every company talks about exports and innovation. Not everyone succeeds!

This session will take you on Barkman’s journey to learn of their market expansion across Manitoba and Western Canada, their considerations and decisions about the U.S. market and their Minnesota plant.

And what about innovation? Efforts in this regard are not only based on new products and services, innovation is part of the company’s culture and ingenuity to leverage opportunities and global connections. Barkman’s extensive network in Europe positioned them as a leading force in North America and innovation resulted in new product development for their domestic market.

Brian Pries brings two decades of hands-on leadership experience building on skill development and strategic planning to be ready for business growth.

To learn more, register and join us. For maximum impact, invite your ownership or management team to participate in the session and follow up with a debrief at your company on how to get started down this journey.



Raised on a family farm in Manitoba, Brian Pries obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 1995, and held several finance-related positions in accounting and banking.  In 2003, Brian joined Barkman Concrete as Finance Manager, becoming General Manager of the company in 2007 and President in 2020. Brian has helped lead the company through a period of significant growth and transition, including expansion throughout Western Canada.

MARCH 25, 2022 - Executive Roundtable and Best Practices for Internal Business Alignment

This session will focus on the effective identification and alignment of company resources and skills to advance company vision. Companies tend to focus on external customers. What about your internal customers? Do activities and attitudes within your company support employees and functions that are interconnected within your business?

This session will cover departmental interactions, value creation and processes that enable best practices across the business. By focussing on process, you will gain insights to drive company alignment, departmental and cross-functional activities and resource allocation. By attending, you will gain access to a few tips that will make it easy to implement the learning into a day-to-day program.

For maximum impact, invite your ownership or management team to participate in the session and follow up with a debrief at your company on how to get started down this journey.



Mike Easton
President & CEO, Argus Industries & TerraCab Industries

Mike’s business and culture philosophies have been featured at conferences, on the radio and in a few publications such as CBC Radio, Winnipeg Free Press, Wall Street Journal, The Financial Post and the business book “The Humor Advantage”. Mike has spoken at several Local & National Conferences including speaking at the Asper School of business MBA program and at the CME/AME National Lean Conferences. Mike has also had some international speaking opportunities to present in a global supply chain conference in Porto, Portugal.

MARCH 3, 2022 - Entrepreneurial & Business Development Strategies for Manufacturers

This session will focus on the effective implementation of strategies around three key areas of the business: vision and purpose, focus on people, and the role of management to enable action.

Whether your company has a large upper management team, external advisors or a small ownership group at the top, you are likely faced with common challenges around vision, people, and management skills to achieve optimum internal alignment. This session will dive deep into the guiding principles and practical actions you can take to ensure your company’s vision is reflective of who you are, and what your purpose is.

By focusing on people, you will hear practical examples of how to develop and grow your team. Lastly, the management portion of the presentation will give you insights into activities and KPIs to help move your organization forward.

To learn more, register and join us. For maximum impact, invite your ownership or management team to participate in the session and follow up with a debrief at your company on how to get started down this journey.






Chad BrickChad Brick
President & CEO, The Eastside Group of Companies

Chad began his career as a public accountant obtaining his Certified Professional Accounting designation at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, handling large and small clients. He chose this field out of a desire to gain hands-on experience at all levels of business which he now uses at the Eastside Group, where he started in 2007.

Now, after 10 years with the Eastside Group of Companies, the Eastside team has successfully seen the Eastside Group expand its market share, diversify into new industries and develop a high performing management team. Chad believes the Eastside Group has sustained its success for three key reasons: “We are committed to quality”, “We put the customer first”, “Our people are what make Eastside what it is today”.

Chad is proud of the Eastside team at each of its divisions, grateful for the customers who have remained committed to us over the years, and thankful for our suppliers whose partnerships we value greatly, and who have been supportive of our growth and development.