Meet Tracy Spear - Owner and Managing Partner of Humble Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

Located in Burnaby, B.C., Humble Manufacturing is a custom metal fabricator with 20 employees

Experience in the manufacturing sector:

Nearly six years

Making a difference:

When Spear purchased the company, she discovered that in its nearly 70 years, Humble had never employed a full-time female fabricator on the shop floor. She set about to change that. “We want to make a difference. This is the 21st century and we should have equality,” she says.

How she did it:

Spear, and her husband, Allan who is the co-owner, began a search.

The woman fabricator they found didn’t quite meet the requirements of the position, but they were willing to train her, and she was willing to be trained. Two years later, she is thriving.

However, they didn’t stop there. Over the past two years, Humble has purposefully hired two more women to join their team.

Manufacturing is about 30 per cent female, but on the shop floors, women make up less than 10 per cent.

“It’s taken intention and effort, but we are over 30 per cent female on the shop floor. I love that … I love that I have been able to practice what I’ve preached,” says Spear.

Why manufacturing:

Spear knew no one, and not much about manufacturing, before she purchased Humble. She comes from the world of sales, management, and financial services, where, she says, she did not sell a “physical product”. In manufacturing she is now making something, and she sees so many possibilities for growth.

“There is nothing more satisfying now that I see the parts we make in everyday life. I guess this goes hand in hand with why we felt it was so important, and it is so important, to have diversity in our workforce because the diversity drives the innovation to make different things and see things in a different way.”

Spear says there are many wonderful aspects to manufacturing, and she wants to be the voice that encourages young people, especially young women, to consider this sector. “I came from a different industry, and manufacturing is awesome. You should check it out.”

Outside of work:

Spear plays hockey and ringette. However, she especially enjoys family time skiing and biking with her husband and two sons.

Advice for younger self:

Be kind. “Being kind gets you so much farther in life.”

Favourite series:

Spear is watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Great, which is about Catherine the Great – two series about strong women.