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Kelly Baird-Pestell on rigging industry & teamwork

Kelly Baird-Pestell is our Territory Sales Manager from Sudbury, Ontario and she’s worked in and around the rigging industry for most of her career—just because she’s behind-the-scenes, doesn’t mean her hands don’t get dirty.

Read on to learn more about her career path in the rigging industry, and her role at Hercules SLR. 

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

I completed a Business Administration diploma at community college and right from school, went to work in the mining industry. I worked as a mine clerk right out of college for 2 years, and then went to work for another company as their Service/Maintenance Planner, and this role included a lot – I was in-charge of contracts, ordering equipment parts and scheduling jobs for multiple businesses and mine sites in town as we had several contracts. I had a hand in most of went on at the mine.

I had my third child, went back to work for a short time and decided it was time for a change. I saw a position with Hercules SLR as a Service Supervisor, and this proved to be the best move I could’ve made. Since then, I’ve been Operations Manager and now, as Territory Sales Manager I feel like I have a solid understanding of all aspects of the business.

What made you decide to go into the rigging industry after achieving your diploma? 

The Sudbury mining industry was booming at this time, so it made sense to follow the opportunity – I grew up with family who worked in the mining industry, so it was also something I was familiar with. (Did you know Mining is one of the main industries Hercules SLR serves?!)

I made a goal to get a job with a large mine that’s in Sudbury right out of school, and I did! Some people joke and say I have a horseshoe hanging over my head, (laughs) but I think it has more to do with knowing what I want and having the drive to go after it. I was a single mother that was able to spot an opportunity, decide what I wanted, and achieve it. I walked out of college with a diploma, and right into a job!

I loved it. Even though I didn’t come from a technical background, I can learn anything I put my mind to. I jumped in headfirst, and even though the environment was tough, I was able to grow a thick skin quickly (important in this industry!), and learn how to hold my ground.

I also love that the rigging industry impacts the whole community. Especially since mining is so prevalent in Sudbury, the rigging industry impacts our entire community – It’s nice to know work makes a difference.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

The biggest reason I joined the Hercules SLR team is the opportunity for growth. Sometimes, you’re thrown into things that take time to grasp and there’s so much going on that really, you’re forced to learn.

We have some awesome training opportunities at Hercules SLR, like Covey Leadership Training, Rigging Fundamental training and meetings with suppliers about new products – this hands-on experience is just one of the reasons I wanted to work to Hercules SLR.

I love working for a Canadian company, contributing to an end-result and actually having my voice heard. Even though we’re a national-wide company, it really has that small-company-feel. At Hercules SLR, I really feel like our executives listen to what we say, and will actually try our suggestions to see if they work.

Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR?

I haven’t travelled very much during my time at Hercules SLR – I’ve been to Hamilton, Ontario! However, I’d love to visit our head office on the East Coast. Eventually, I want to visit Hercules SLR’s East and West Coast branches and learn more first-hand about how different regions work, and what they focus on.

rigging industry

What’s something you’re most proud to have accomplished in your career at Hercules SLR?

Honestly, I’m most proud of our team in Sudbury. Our region experienced a lot of change over a 6-month period, and during this challenging time we were able to come out stronger than ever. Our team not only brought in new customers, but we were even able to bring back customers we had lost.

Advice on leading a team:

To be brutally honest, there was an Operations Manager here once who gave me some great, simple, advice – “Have work-life balance,” Which is something I used to struggle with. Now, I don’t live to work, I work to live. I enjoy my family, job and life in general.

To do this, I try to take a step back, get organized, not put too much pressure on myself and remind myself I can only do so much. I find if I’m stressed, I can’t work to my full-potential. So now, I try to put myself first– for me, this means eating healthy, going to the gym and spending time with my family, so I can do my job better.

Being able to put myself first makes it easier to focus on the different priorities that arise each day. This company doesn’t run with only one person. Hercules SLR needs every team member it has to rise to top and be the leader in the rigging industry. I’m so grateful to be a part of it!

What do you love  most about your job and the rigging industry? 

I love the variety! Everyday looks different. I love helping our clients fix their problems  Nobody calls us because their crane is working! We’re constantly the solution for our clients, and I love being part of the solution, not the problem.

And, as I mentioned, I also love our Sudbury crew Adriana, Rick, David, Netasha, Frank and I make a great team!