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EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT | MÉLANIE LAVERY, ELECTRICITY

21 May
2021

Categories

Tell me Mélanie, how long have you been with the NRCFAMILY?

ML: My first day was November 2, 2015. It will be 6 years this year!

I lost my old job, the place was closing. I went to the job fair and saw the NRC booth. I didn’t want to hand my resume because I thought they weren’t hiring women. I remember Sylvain Pigeon told me OF COURSE WE DO! So I took a chance.

I remember during the job interview I said I didn’t know anything about electricity and tow trucks… I didn’t even know what a positive and a negative is on a car battery. They told me we know you have no experience, if we choose you we will help you learn. 

You were hired to work in the electricity department right?

ML: Yes! I learned everything on the job, with the help of good colleagues.

Before joining NRC, I was at my last job for 17 years. I was a robot operator. I loved my job enough to get up at 2 a.m. to do overtime. I loved my job because I knew it by heart and I was good at it!

So when I started at NRC, I didn’t feel competent enough. I was starting from zero, even below zero (laughs)

After the electricity, I went to help in the finishing department, washing, rustproofing, shipping…

I have learned a lot here and will learn a lot more. 

At NRC, the rhythm is fast and you always have a ton of work ahead. How do you deal with the stress? 

We always have work to do. It’s motivating and the days go by quickly. And I don’t mind doing overtime! I am always ready to help. If someone says to me hey I need this done for tonight, of course I’ll stay to finish it!

Your greatest professional achievement?

Learn to boost a car haha! The first times I was asked to do a strobing module, I was so lost! Today I can do it easily. Persevering would be my biggest accomplishment. 

Oh I just remembered… One day, Mike Do told me ’’Hey Mel, I need the 50/65CSR in the laundry room.’’

My first reaction? There’s no way I’m doing this… He went to the helper side and told me to get in the driver’s seat. I was panicking… I was sure there wouldn’t be any fence left or anything on the truck when I would be done.

The first time I pressed the brakes, Mike’s glasses flew out in the dash. He told me to calm down with the pedal (laughs). 

I finally did it one shot deal! I didn’t believe it… I got out and said to the guys NEVER AGAIN! 

Woman in Male-Dominated Industries

I said from the start that I didn’t mind it. I was the first woman at the factory where I worked before. They were doing a test. I was finally there 17 years. Afterwards, they started to hire more women in the factory.

I have no problem taking my place and when it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t work, the person will know it. I respect you, I expect the same from you. 

What do you like about working at NRC

The team! Everybody is always ready to come and help you. The family spirit is definitely present. 

We also make incredibly beautiful products. I am always proud to share our posts on Facebook!

When you say tow trucks, people think of carriers. When you get to explain and show to them what we really do here in St-Paul, it makes me very proud. 

What does NRCFAMILY means to you? 

It’s a family. People are human here. I spend more time at work than I spend at home, so I need to have fun, that’s really important to me. Here we have loads of it!

The summer gatherings where you can bring your children; the zoo, the ranch, not all companies do that. Meeting other people’s families is always fun!

Each year, NRC offers a trip and a paid week’s vacation to one lucky employee. Melanie won it at her second year with us. 

At lunch, I told my kids I was bringing the trip back this year. I asked my dad in heaven and he’s going to have me win it. 

When I realized that I had won for real, I was over the moon! I was so embarrassed and wanted to hide under the table. At that time, nobody in the family had a passport or anything. I was definitely not ready to travel! It was my first trip ever and since then, I’ve been traveling every year.

Other than your job, what are you passionate about in life?

My bike, the Ride de Filles event, my kids… 

My children, they are my greatest pride. I think they are off to a good start. I gave them everything I could. They see that we are working hard to have what we have, there is nothing free in life. If you want something, work for it! I will help you, I will push you, but I will not do it for you.

You go horseback riding with your daughter sometimes?

Don’t talk to me about it… I’m not really comfortable on a horse, but I’ll do it to make her smile. She just loves it! She’s been following courses since she was little. 

I also go to drag with my son, and I have so much fun! I bought a motorcycle with him. He didn’t want to drive my small Honda, so we bought one together. He pays half of the registrations, insurance and we both can use it when we want, equally. 

What do not many people know about you?

AC / DC, Metallica and Roxanne Bruneau, that’s my jam! The Compagnie Créole too. I have Ça fait rire les oiseaux in my cell phone and I’m not ashamed about it. 

Also, I have already skipped school … I’m going to be 45 and my mom doesn’t know it yet … I skipped classes to go see my boyfriend, sorry mom.

Tell me a bit more about this cause close to your heart, the Ride de Filles?

I have been participating in the Ride de Filles for 5 years now! It started with 50 motorcycles. The goal is to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation. It has become more and more popular over the years. This year, there will be 300 women on motorcycles.

My mother-in-law is a fighter. In the old days my son didn’t have a car and she was the one driving him in and out of work 3 days a week, after her morning treatments. She never told us anything… 

In 2019, Mélanie and her mother-in-law raised $12,000 for the Ride de Filles.

The woman with cancer who calls the foundation because she is not able to feed her children or make rent this month… Well that’s what the foundation is here for.

I set myself a goal of $500, but I would love to do a whole lot better! Even if we are in COVID I think we can do it 🙂 

We would be very much grateful if you could make a small donation, just here > make a donation 

In 2020, the NRCFAMILY lost a great employee. It was a hard hit on our staff, but we came together and did everything we could to support each other through it. Mike Do, we miss you. 

When Melanie started working at NRC, Mike offered to give her a lift morning and night because she hates driving in the winter.

ML: By traveling together every day, we became close. We had lunch at St-Hubert together, he would help me fix stuff at my house… Always there for me!

I wondered at the beginning if his wife was jealous … Not at all! I left my car there in the morning, and when I came to pick it up she had removed all the snow for me and it was ready to go. They are just good people with good values.

Until the end I said to Mike, I have one word in life; I’m here now, I’m going to be here tomorrow, I’m going to be here forever.

At NRC, we had a fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner and once again the NRCFAMILY was there to give support. It was an NRC initiative, I wouldn’t have asked for it, but it was really thoughtful. Never that Mike would have asked for anything either …

Mélanie was there for Mélissa, the children and Mike throughout the last moments. She has shown great strength, empathy and listening. We are lucky in the nrcfamily to always be able to count on good people who have their hearts on their hands.