COVID-19 UPDATE: How Our Company is Keeping Employees and Customers Safe and Work Continuing – March 26, 2020
In these unprecedented times dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, we are committed to continuing providing the exceptional service and quality of work our customers expect, while also keeping our customers and employees safe and healthy. We ask for patience and compassion at this time as additional health and safety measures have been put in place that may change how we approach work, and has reduced our staffing available.
Our commitment to our clients, colleagues, and communities
For our team at MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd, the well-being and safety of our clients, colleagues, and communities are our top priority. Just like you, we are monitoring new developments regarding COVID-19 closely and implementing new policies and procedure as we get new information.
All staff have been asked to complete the Shared Health Manitoba COVID-19 Screening Tool. Any changes to any answers and a new screening must be completed and submitted for review.
When to stay home and self-isolate
MG Services is limiting in-person meetings. Any meetings that must happen will need to be done in a clean and disinfected space that can accommodate seating 6 feet apart, with limited attendees. If any of the following circumstances apply to you, please call ahead to reschedule your appointment – we can accommodate phone or video conference instead.
- you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
- you have traveled outside of Canada OR outside of the province within the past 14 days
- you have interacted with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
We have asked our MG Services staff who meet the above criteria to not come into the office or their job sites and to follow the directions of local public health authorities.
A safe environment
As a part of our regular focus, we follow best practices to ensure that our office and job sites are a clean and safe environment for all. Regular cleaning, additional review of hand-washing procedures, and use of soap/hand sanitizer is continuing. We are ensuring work being done is completed while 6 feet apart for coworkers or other workers on site. We are limiting in-person meetings and walk-throughs. Tools, equipment, dishes, are asked to not be shared, or require disinfecting between each person’s use if sharing must happen. Our approach has been informed by the guidance of governmental agencies and public health officials.
The Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM) has released some excellent resources for the construction industry, which we have sent to all staff for review and are following the procedures from the dates of release.
Building a better, more equitable workforce
‘The industry requires smart people. It’s not just about brute force. It’s the ability to think, problem solve, make decisions and work with others. Women are good at that.’
Women currently make up only about two per cent of the construction industry workforce, and regardless that some men may be threatened by the presence of women in the workplace, the industry needs to get those numbers up.
To help that relationship-building process, the Manitoba Construction Sector Council — along with sponsorship from all of the industry groups and several of the largest construction companies in the province — is holding the first-ever Women in Trades conference that ends Wednesday at the Victoria Inn.
By the year 2020, the federal government has stated that 319,000 new jobs will be required in the construction sector alone. Even though forecasters predict the Manitoba construction scene will cool down a bit after the end of construction of Bipole III and the Keeyask dam, there is still the matter of the current wave of baby boomer retirements that means the industry must aggressively recruit women.
Carol Paul, executive director of the Manitoba Construction Sector Council, said 19 per cent of the workforce will be retiring in the next few years.
“Even if we have have a bit of slow down, we are still not going to have enough workers to fill the positions that are available,” she said. “Quite often you hear, ‘It’s a man’s world.’ It really isn’t. The industry requires smart people. It’s not just about brute force. It’s the ability to think, problem solve, make decisions and work with others. Women are good at that.”
It’s also been shown that women take better care of their equipment, they are consistent and they will spot issues that come up and report them before they become bigger issues.
There will always be sexist prejudices in the society, but conference goers heard tips like when they hit a barrier be sure not to be held back by one person’s views.
“Surround yourself with people who will support you. Find mentors,” Paul said. “My board chair, Colleen Munro, has been instrumental in me advancing in my role.”
And Paul herself has helped others. Mila Mirkin, who works as a transportation designer at the engineering firm, Aecom, in Winnipeg, received her civil engineering degree in Israel. She is working her way through the Canadian certification process with just one exam to go.
She has been at Aecom for more than four years and said that she is happy and lucky to have the position she has. At one point she reached out to Paul for advice.
“I got some amazing advice about how to adjust, to be more confident and about how to be a part of the Canadian workplace environment,” Mirkin said.
Women are being encouraged to consider a career in the trades far more aggressively these days. A new federally funded program called the Office to Advance Women Apprentices has just opened a Manitoba office after experiencing phenomenal success in Newfoundland and Labrador where female participation in the trades went from two per cent to 13 per cent.
Muriel Torchia Shyjak, an environmental design graduate, worked in the field for a few years then had the opportunity to buy a contracting firm and since 2016 has been the owner of MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd.
“I get a lot of emails addressed to “Dear Sir” and when people ask to speak to the owner they are sometimes taken aback when I tell them I am the owner,” she said.
She said general contractors may have underestimated her at the beggining but they are quick to come around.
“I do my research,” she said. “I want to know what I’m talking about.”
She also goes out of her way to volunteer at events like the Women in Trades conference and to seek out other women in the business. Meanwhile she now employs about 30 trades people including some women.
Colleen Munro, has been a bit of flag bearer for women in the construction industry for some time. For the past 12 years she has run Munro Construction and has been responsible for sending crews into remote work sites for many years.
“Cultural barriers still need to be overcome. Of course there is still prejudice,” she said. “I always say, you can have all the rules in the HR department but people still have their own prejudices. It is up to the company owners to limit that. If they see women working beside the men the cultural barriers start to have less of an impact.”
And Munro points out the economic realities.
“It used to be that parents and teachers said the smart kids should go to university and the not so smart kids go into the trades,” she said. “Now the people in the trades are making more money than people who graduate from university. And there are plenty of jobs.”
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.
Build Manitoba Magazine – Education Feature – Fall/Winter 2019
Career development and training is an important part of every employee’s success – and that goes for the owners as well!
Muriel Torchia Shyjak has upgraded her skills and training through the Winnipeg Construction Associations Education Centre and was featured in an article in their magazine. Check out the write-ups in the latest edition below.
Amano McGann OPUS Installation at St.Boniface General Hospital – Fall/Winter 2019
MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd’s Technical and Electrical teams installed a large parking lot control and revenue collection system at the St.Boniface General Hospital. The old system was on its last legs and a planned installation of the OPUS series of Amano McGann saw our teams hot-stage the equipment in the MG shop for a seamless on-site transition, to decrease any down-time of the collection system.
NEW OPUS system:
The new system
Build Manitoba Spring Edition 2019: Featured Work – May 1/19
MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd was featured in two projects in the Spring Edition of the Winnipeg Construction Association’s Build Manitoba Magazine. (pages 48 and 49)
We were the Mechanical Contractors on College Jeanne-Sauve’s new student commons at 1128 Dakota St and the Electrical Contractors on Fort Group Chartered Accountants new building at 865 Henderson Hwy.
Thank you to all of the hard work and long hours our crews put in to make these jobs a success and worth featuring in print, around Manitoba.
The Safe Work Manitoba Awards: MG Services Winner and Recipient of the SAFEty and Health Committee Award – September 25/18
SAFE Work Awards recognize Manitobans for excellence in workplace safety and health.
A huge congratulations goes out to the MG Services Health and Safety Committee members for 2018 who this year, won the SAFEty and Health Committee Award through Safe Work Manitoba. Our company also received an honourable mention for the SAFEty Culture Award.
MG Electrical/Mechanical Services’ safety and health committee makes collaboration and relevance a priority. By gathering input from both office and field staff, the safety and health committee members make sure all current issues and concerns are addressed. Open conversation and dialogue about safety helps MG Services address real concerns and issues and allows for quick adjustments to safety initiatives and procedures. Safety as an attitude improves everyone’s well-being and is part of their company’s culture. Watch the video to meet MG Electrical/Mechanical Services’ committee
Press Release: WINNIPEG – On September 26, 2018, SAFE Work Manitoba presented the 2018 SAFE Work Awards to Manitobans who demonstrate excellence in workplace safety and health, and a youth award to a team of high school students for educating their peers about safety.
The awards were presented at The Safetys, a gala that combines the awards programs for eight Manitoba safety organizations. The Safetys was held Wednesday, September 26, at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre (1808 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg). Doors opened at 5:30 p.m., and the dinner and awards presentations began at 6:30 p.m.
“We are pleased to celebrate Manitobans who commit every day to making their workplaces safer and healthier,” said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen.” The award winners demonstrate that no matter what our job titles are, we can make a difference when we take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of those around us. Congratulations to the winners, whose hard work is helping us all build a stronger, safer Manitoba.”
The 2018 SAFE Work Award winners are:
- Worker SAFEty Award: Garth Drakeley, Arborist at Gontree Tree Service (Brandon, Manitoba)
- SAFEty and Health Committee Award: MG Electrical/Mechanical Services (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
- SAFEty Culture Award: PepsiCo Winnipeg (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
See the full Press Release Here
Read the Construction Association of Manitoba (CSAM) Press Release Here
Building construction was the nights biggest winner, sweeping the board taking home 5 of the 8 awards open to all industries. CSAM extends a big congratulations to the five building construction award recipients and all other individuals who took home awards last night. Let’s keep our workplaces safe and continue to honour the individuals going above and beyond to do so! – CSAM Press Release
Watch the video on Youtube Here
The 2018 Melee Gala – September 6/18
The Melee Gala is a yearly event hosted by Manshield Construction and the United Boxing Academy as a fun charity event, raising donations for a different worth cause each year. This year, the charity selected was Alpha House Project, which is a year-long program for women and their children leaving an abusive relationship that was formed in 1989. Their mandate is to provide a safe place for families to live while transitioning away from violence, while working closely with the families to break the cycle of violence. Caleb Shyjak, one of MG Services owners, signed up to take part in the Corporate Boxing Challenge. Each member which would provide him with a 12-week boxing training program through United, with the finale of the 12-weeks being a bout with another corporate contender at the Melee Gala, on September 6th, 2018. Caleb also trained with 3 coaches from Stingers Boxing Academy, overhauled his diet, and worked on cardio training during this time. You can read more about his training journey on our blog HERE.
The event was a great time, included bouts between the Corporate Challenge members as well as Team Canada vs Team Puerto Rico. Caleb trained hard and fought hard and was cheered on by friends and family. We are all so proud of him for giving so much time and effort towards his training, while still working full-time and running a business – he also personally raised money for Alpha House.
CityNews did a feature on the event which you can watch HERE.
The 2018 IPI Conference & Expo, Orlando, Fla. – June 7/18
The IPI Conference & Expo, is the world’s largest educational and networking event for parking and transportation professionals. This trade show is a once-a-year opportunity to connect and network with thousands of international parking professionals in various facets of the industry while exploring hundreds of exhibits, showcasing the latest technologies of the industry.
Some stats on the show:
- More than 3,000 parking professionals from 35 countries around the globe representing every level of experience and segment of the parking industry.
- 230 exhibitors all under one 170,000 square-foot roof (that’s four football fields’ worth of expo).
We were there.
This year, the event was held in Orlando, Florida from June 3rd-6th. Caleb, one of the owners of MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd, one of our customers, and the VP of Canadian Operations of Amano McGann Canada Inc attended the show together.
Caleb took time to explore the massive exhibit hall, browsed the latest parking technology, and tried out some of the interactive education – watch the video as he tries out a virtual reality machine and flies over a city.
The conference also included some networking events and a chance to explore some of the sites around Orlando – including a Lego site, Bourbon Street, and Disney Springs.
It is important for our company to meet the tech innovators, and explore cutting-edge parking products and services. We want to keep up to date on all of the latest and greatest in parking to better service our customers. After the trip to Orlando, we hope to announce some exciting installation planned for the city of Winnipeg in the near future!
Press Release: Owner Feature Publication – May 23/18
On May 23rd, 2018, one of the owners, Muriel Torchia Shyjak, was featured in the May 2018 Vol.4 Edition of the Who’s Who Women Special Business Edition.
Muriel completed interview questions and working back and forth on the content with the editor, Pat St. Germain, created a beautiful piece that really paints a picture of how she fits into the operations and culture of the company. Having her photo taken was a bit daunting, but Darcy Finley from Finley Photography (photographs in this post were taken by him) made her feel comfortable and at ease in the Asper School of Business Executive Education building on Lombard street. Once both pieces were reviewed, the article went to print. Below is the text and some images take for the publication.
Positively Charged: Bringing Fresh Energy to the Workplace
Owning and operating a business can easily permeate every aspect of one’s life, but Muriel Torchia Shyjak has found a way to make it work, by bringing balance and wellness into the workplace with a positive attitude.
Since Muriel and her husband Caleb took over ownership of MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd. in the fall of 2016, much of her focus has been on creating a healthy workplace culture, one based on transparency and trust. “We have an ‘open-door’ policy — if anyone has an issue or concern, they can come talk to either of us, at any time,” she says. Employees know they are being heard and are part of the conversation. To avoid the common divide that can happen between office staff and field staff, Muriel works hard to foster a culture of inclusion. Her passion for workplace wellness
and engagement shines through in the activities and policies of MG Services.
“I created a fun internal wellness program for staff, that even those working out of town participated in through social media and email. We provide healthy snacks and food options that can easily be grabbed by staff on the go.”
Muriel describes her job as Director of Operations as fast-paced and ever-changing, but being organized, methodical, and attentive to detail keeps things moving along smoothly. “I prepare for everything, take notes, write down ideas. I’ve always loved to learn new things and I spend time researching what I don’t know, reading articles, asking questions, networking, and taking courses,” she says.
After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Environmental Design in 2005, she entered the electrical field as a commercial and industrial Lighting Designer and later worked as a Marketing Coordinator. Caleb is an electrician by trade, with eight years at MG, most recently as General Manager before the previous owners retired. “We both have very strong but different skill sets so we can each focus on the aspects we are passionate about and cover all the bases,” Muriel says.
She is proud of their 36-employee team and how well everyone works together. “I really want to bring more diversity into our workforce and hired the first two female electricians at our company. Having a team that includes people of different genders, ages, backgrounds, and cultures allows us to better understand and serve our customers since we are always exposed to a wide range of viewpoints. It’s always inspiring to see employees coming up with new ideas for how we do things and really taking pride in their work. We could not be successful without them.”
Muriel gives back to the community wherever she can. For example, she was a mentor at the 2017 Young Women’s Conference to introduce high school girls to trades, and she was a panel member at an event for newcomers to Canada hosted by the Manitoba Construction Sector Council and Manitoba Start.
There is no typical work day for Muriel. She looks after everything from helping with project management, dealing with suppliers and customers, meeting with salespeople, creating and writing policies, planning staff events and training, managing the company’s online presence and of course, fostering employee engagement. “Success isn’t about making a lot of money and having everyone like you. Success for me is being able to answer the question, ‘Am I happy?’ with a ‘Yes.’ ” ❚
Press Release: Manitoba Legislative Chamber Grand Re-Opening Ceremony- Oct 10/17
MG Electrical/Mechanical Services electrical journeypeople and apprentices were part of the sub-contractor team that helped to create a newly accessible Manitoba Legislative Chamber. We were proud to attend the Grand Opening and see the first wheelchairs roll onto the chamber floor. Watch the CityNews video here.
See Free Press Article here. “Changes in legislature chamber barely noticeable, but monumental for disabled.”By Nick Martin.
Chris Sobkowicz was the first to use the wheelchair ramp after a ceremony Monday to reopen the newly renovated Manitoba Legislature Chambers.
See CBC News article and watch the new report here. “Manitoba Legislature floor raised to improve accessibility. Renovations make Manitoba’s chamber among the most accessible in Canada.”
See Winnipeg Sun article here. “Wheelchair access blends in at Legislature.”
Community Building with the YCLM – Sept 25/17
Both owners took part in a Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg build day twith the Young Construction Leaders of Manitoba group. Enjoy the video about the event and why we volunteer for community projects like this one.
2017 Professional Development
At MG Services, we believe in the importance of continued professional development and training for all of our staff. Our employees are a reflection of our company and vision and we want to showcase their talent and skills. Professional development helps staff expand their industry knowledge, soft skills, and be aware of changing trends and technologies – keeping us relevant in today’s fast-paced environment.
Continued education can help fill the skill gaps that might be felt in an organization. Not only does encouraging staff to take courses, seminars, e-courses, classes, and other forms of learning help retain the best talent, but it also boost moral and creates a culture of engagement.
Here are some of the training and professional development that our staff attended and took part in for 2017:
- Electrical Code Upgrade course: Red River College (RRC)
- Avoiding Construction Disputes: Winnipeg Construction Association (WCA)
- Estimating for ICI Projects: WCA
- BST: Project Planning and Scheduling for Supervisors: WCA
- BST: Construction Industry Ethics: WCA
- Communication Skills for Everyone for Everyday: Louis Riel School Division Continuing Education (LRSD)
- Kantech EntraPass CE Corporate Edition Certification
- Fire Extinguisher Training and Certification: ABC Fire and Safety
- First Aider 1 training with CPR and AED- St.John’s Ambulance
- Future of Trades and Technology Summit
- Amano Overture training
- Amano Omnia training
- Company Security Officer training
- Grant Thornton and TDS Seminar on construction fraud and Builder’s Lien Act
- 2017 and SHEday
- Manitoba Women in Construction educational events
- Keys to Creating Powerful Women Leaders
- 5 Steps to Stress Management
Press Release: Misericordia Health Centre Awards Amano McGann Canada Parking and Access Revenue Control Contract – June 13/17
Winnipeg, Manitoba – Amano McGann Canada and MG Electrical/Mechanical Services Ltd have been contracted to provide the Parking Access and Revenue Control System (PARCS) at
Misericordia Health Centre. Amano McGann is excited to announce that this will be the first Overture® installation in Canada. View the full press release here.