“The first thing I do when I wake up is go and kiss my two-year-old son good morning. I pick him up and take him to our room and spend 5–10 minutes playing with him before breakfast. It’s a few minutes of peace I get before going into my busiest part of the day at Road Canada, my roadside-assistance white-label company.
Being the CEO and general manager at Road Canada means that my days are never the same. I came to the company as a French guy from Martinique who had just spent a significant amount of time in Spain, working in the management market.
“I’ve learned to know when to wait and be patient and when to react quickly by jumping on opportunities. I’ve learned that establishing a solid team with the right people is paramount to the success of any business. I think I’m still the same at the core, and I will always remember my roots. I am thankful for every day that I get the opportunity to lead my team in offering a valuable service to the community.”
Since a young age, I learned that everybody is different and brings his or her own experiences, culture, and uniqueness. Therefore, you have to give your approach, your technique, your management style that differentiation and adapt to each individual. My international education in Manchester, England, and Madrid, Spain, helped broaden my horizons to understand these things and overcome obstacles. Living in many different countries, you need to learn to be adaptable, street smart, and willing to immerse yourself into the culture to truly appreciate the people and your surroundings.
I’ve learned how to tailor those street smarts and use it to my advantage within the company. When I started, I would take a lot of time to make a decision to ensure that the right decision was being made. Over time, I have learned to make decisions quicker due to increased knowledge of the Canadian market and the ability to trust my instincts. In order to retain and attract new clients, it was imperative that Road Canada focused on the quality of service we delivered and the ability to customize to each client’s needs.
FACTS & FIGURES
Focus on services other than roadside assistance in 2009
Focus on services other than roadside assistance in 2013
Road Canada serves the top RV club and fleet companies in the country
Today I am a more pragmatic CEO, and I know how to make decisions quickly with a good mixture of analysis, feasibility, and forward thinking.
It’s that strategy we have to apply to growing Road Canada. As one of the leading roadside-service companies, we’ve managed to diversify our portfolio quite a bit. We started with 90 percent of our business in roadside assistance in 2009. As of 2013, it’s now 51 percent of our business, with 49 percent in other services. We hope to double our size in the next two years, and a big part of that is being under the MAPFRE umbrella. With the industry changing so drastically, we want to add at least one new line of business by the end of 2016.
This is incredibly important because eight years ago roadside service was considered more of an afterthought. Now companies have been looking ahead and are starting to introduce roadside as a value-added service to differentiate themselves with their customers. The market is getting more competitive, so we have to find ways to retain our clients through diversifying service offerings and maintaining high-quality standards. We’ve been able to start from scratch, build a reputation, and live up to it with our experience in the market. In the next two to five years, there will be a greater appreciation of the roadside service, and we want to position ourselves as a leader in the industry.
You can’t be afraid in this business. You have to be willing to take risks. You have to set your goal and go for it.”