Step back. Celebrate. Carry on.

Marking the decade year that has been and looking forward to whatever lies ahead

By Jeff Baker

Well… welcome to Day 294 of March 2020!

Wait, sorry… what’s that?  It’s December?!  

*forlorn sigh with tired laughter*

Okay, so we’re still in this, dear reader. But at least we’re in this together.

I’ve often heard the pandemic situation described as not a sprint, but rather a marathon. This past week, though, I heard my province’s top public health doctor describe it in a much more accurate way – it’s not a marathon; it’s an Iron Man.

The Iron Man description is definitely fitting. We’re nine months into this pandemic, and it’s been a long haul. Most parts of Western Canada hunkered down hard in the spring, loosened up a bit through summer, and perhaps our complacency led to the virus rearing its ugly head through the fall into winter.

We’re past the swim and the full-length marathon; now we’re into the endurance bike ride. There’s still so much race left ahead of us, but we cannot let up our efforts, and we cannot give up before the finish line – whenever and wherever it might be.

There’s only one way to the finish line of this thing, and it’s right through the middle of what is probably the toughest slog we’re going to have to endure in most of our lifetimes.

While we’re in this, we might as well focus on what we can control. In my case, it’s the great line-up in store in this issue of Prairie Manufacturer Magazine.

In store

In our fall issue, we dove head-on into the COVID-19 pandemic response from manufacturers across the Prairies, and we explored how the industry was responding to the shock. This time, we’re stepping back a bit from the pandemic focus, instead casting our gaze forward to what might lay in the ‘after’ times.

Our resident economist, Jayson Myers, uncovers how the industry performed over the summer and delves into the countless factors behind what is shaping up to be a very uneven recovery phase heading into winter. Not one to just find the holes, Jayson offers us a glimpse of what might need to change as we move forward.

In a time when it feels like we’ve never been more divided, Christian Masotti from Civility Experts brings us insight and useful tips to bringing civility back into the workplace (not to mention society as a whole!) and shares the positive impact it can have on the workplace and our people.

What’s that saying again?  Never let a perfectly good crisis go to waste!  Well, one boilermaker and steel fabricator with years of experience in the oil sands and beyond shares what he sees as a way forward for industry and workers as the globe transitions into deploying and using more renewable energy. It’s not just a dream for Lliam Hildebrand and his organization, Iron & Earth; it’s how we’re going to thrive.

And because we just can’t ignore the elephant in the room, we do have a bit of COVID-19 coverage in this issue.  One of Canada’s leading virologists and researchers working in the area of emerging viruses and disease, Jason Kindrachuk, offers us his take on the virus, its origins, and our journey with it to date. 

In addition, we’re welcoming a number of new contributors and columnists into our pages to help you understand various aspects of this rapidly changing economy and industrial landscape. If you thought insurance and law were dryer than a box of saltines, our experts will quickly change your mind and give you some wonderful food for thought.

Looking ahead

As we close out our fourth year of publishing Prairie Manufacturer, we reflect on our journey. But we definitely don’t rest on our laurels!

We’re working hard right now to develop another great year of stories from industry and partners across the Prairie region. By the time this issue lands in your mailbox, we’re already working on our spring edition, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want your feedback.

Au contraire, mes amis… we love hearing from you, our readers, throughout the year. After all, many of our best stories come directly from you!

As you take time this holiday season to relax and reflect on your year, and as you look ahead at the year to come, I’d encourage you to share a story with us at Prairie Manufacturer. We love hearing from you, and we love to hear about the successes you’re enjoying – no matter how big or small you might think they are.

From day one to now – and into the years ahead – Prairie Manufacturer is about your industry, your community, and is your magazine. It’s our privilege to serve you.

From our family to yours

For now, that’s it from my desk. I hope you enjoy the read.

Let me take this opportunity, on behalf of the entire Prairie Manufacturer team, to wish you, your teams, and your families the best of this holiday season – whatever tradition you celebrate and regardless of how different it might look.

I hope you can take time to connect with your loved ones wherever they may be, and you can make sure that the holiday spirit stays strong.

Be safe, be calm, and be kind to each other.

Until we chat again.