HERStory | Sylvie LeBlanc, P.Eng.
Meet Sylvie – Production Manager at Systemair
With a wide array of responsibilities as the Production Manager for Systemair’s Bouctouche, New Brunswick location, Sylvie leads a team of 150 employees who contribute to the manufacturing of air handling units. She oversees the manual assembly work, fabrication, and projects to improve production such as looking into new equipment and robots.
What led me to the manufacturing sector:
In university, I had two work terms working for manufacturers. That’s how I was exposed to the sector and had the realization that manufacturing offers such interesting opportunities. That led to me to my decision to work for Systemair right after graduating.
What continues to attract me to manufacturing:
My day-to-day is different all the time which I really like. You’ll never bored. You’re always on the go. You get exposed to so many aspects of a business. My position being directly in manufacturing allows me to look directly at the assembly and fabrication processes, while also working alongside logistics, engineering and other aspects of the company.
Manufacturing also offers so many opportunities to see different areas of the business and learn something new every day. There are no limits to what we can improve on in manufacturing.
Even for someone just starting their career, there’s a lot of neat things and growth that is enabled for us in the manufacturing environment.
Opportunities for women entering a manufacturing career:
There are so many different opportunities. There’s HR, purchasing, design, quality – the list goes on. With so many different areas to explore in manufacturing, it really comes to down to what you’re interested in.
I’m not a closed office kind of person. I like to interact with people, and manufacturing offers that. I sometimes refer to the production floor as a playground. I have the office work to do but the production floor is where all the fun stuff lives with all the equipment and challenges.
Pivotal projects in my career:
In my third year at Systemair, I worked on a $4 million project that brought in new steel equipment. This was quite a big deal for a new person that was very fresh out of university. It was a big eye opener as it exposed me to technical aspects of the equipment, which I hadn’t had previously.
Most recently, we’ve been looking at importing robots into our production floor and automating the process of assembling doors. This process was being done manually, and we essentially designed a system that would do it automatically.
We’ve been working on this for the past two years which has been a great challenge as it’s not a store-bought solution. We’ve had to design it ourselves which has been really engaging, challenging, and quite neat to bring technology to production. I’ve loved being exposed to this and I’m sure young people going into manufacturing will love to see this new technology.
Systemair’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion:
At a corporate level, Systemair has guidelines that all employees must have equal opportunities. A standard has been set that by 2025 all leadership must be comprised of 25% of females at a minimum. In our Bouctouche location, 50% of our leaders are actually female.
We have a good ratio of males and females, which I think we benefit from in our culture. People I’ve hired recently share that they want to work for Systemair for our culture. We work together and love collaboration. Having a good portion of our leaders being female has left a very positive impact on our day-to-day operations and company culture.
Importance of mentors:
There’s a huge benefit. I personally chose my career because in high school a woman working in manufacturing shared her story and it really sparked my interest.
Whether male or female, mentors have so much influence on where people will go in their careers. For me personally, I’ve been given many opportunities and exposure, and have been empowered by my mentors.
Allyship is also critical for women to feel that they’re not alone in the workplace. Having someone in your environment that can relate to what you’re going through, can also have a big impact and help you navigate through your tougher challenges.
Fun fact about myself:
My husband and I are planning on buying a cargo van and turning it into a camper van. This will involve designing the updated vehicle, and working on electrical and plumbing. It’s a way for me to have my creative juices flowing outside of work.