Meet Rosemary - Office Manager at Royal Door Ltd.

Since 1975, Royal Door has been delivering a reputation for excellence and quality that is as solid as the doors they produce. From five door styles, the company has now expanded to offer over 150 door styles. Rosemary entered the family business in 1993 to help support the company’s growing success.

What made you choose your career path?

I was a high school teacher, and it came down to the lack of freedom in the teaching profession. I shared this thought with my husband and my in-laws, and they said, you know, what? The business is growing – why don’t you just come in?

My first reaction was that I don’t know a thing about manufacturing. I don’t even know how to use a tape measure. My parents weren’t business people. I have zero skills in this realm of work. My father-in-law, and my husband said, if you’re willing to learn, we’re more than willing to teach you. And the rest is history. Everyone in the business took their time to teach me and answer my questions.

What are the biggest barriers you have faced and how did you overcome them or are overcoming them?

We are always dealing with outside competition from countries that don’t have a high standard of living like Canada’s. It’s hard for us to compete because materials and labour cost so much more here. How do we compete dollar to dollar when competitor’s products are so much cheaper? We try to join groups like CME/Ontario Made, and we try to lobby the government to make them understand that for us to be viable and to provide employment, taxes need to be lowered for Canadian-made products.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

To my parents’ dismay, I don’t think I would have gone to university. The five years I spent at university; I didn’t further my education. I learned things yes, but I didn’t really feel like my life experience was enriched. It did, however, provide me an opportunity to get into a profession.

If I could turn back, I would probably have chosen a different career path. It might not have been manufacturing, but it could have been a trade like an electrician or maybe even a plumber. I love the fact that I would have full control over something. Like being able to be an electrician and wire a whole house from scratch. That’s such an incredible accomplishment.

Why would you encourage young women to enter careers in manufacturing?

I have a daughter and she’s in the manufacturing industry too. I look at her interacting with clients and I can see how happy she is. I asked her once – wouldn’t you have been happier working in an office? Her response was, no, I wouldn’t change this for the world.

When it comes down to it, the opportunities in manufacturing are limitless. There’s so many aspects and you’ll never get bored. There’s also flexibility – I set my own hours, and the pay is incredible.

Once a project is complete, your name goes down in history that you were part of the team that created that. That’s a sense of accomplishment, and I don’t think people can get that just from a nine to five job.

The personal rewards are also incredible. Over the years, we’ve made a ton of doors. They’ve gone into homes of people from all walks of life, including Elton John, Justin Bieber, and Walter Gretzky. It’s just so incredible that I’m making a product that is good enough to go in everyone’s home, no matter who they are.

I’ve been in manufacturing for 30 years and I’m just getting started. I wake up every day and I’m excited. What am I going to create today? People that started working at Royal Door in their twenties have now been here for forty or upwards of fifty years. It’s a recipe for happiness. That’s what a career in manufacturing would be.