By design, Matt MacKenzie can only get into his office via the shop floor. The move ensures he can chat easily with the MacKenzie Atlantic team each morning before the business of the day really takes hold. The banter is about how they are doing and what they did the night before. The vibe is friendly, relaxed and often ends with a few laughs and shakes of the head.
Photo: Natasha Poirier Photography
“I did my apprenticeship with a boss who yelled, threw tantrums, and really didn’t seem to give a shit about his employees. I vowed never to be that guy,” says Matt. “There are a lot of supervisors, managers and shop owners who think being hard on people is the way to drive productivity. In my experience, that doesn’t work. Even if it did, I’d find a better way.”
That said, he also knows the German-trained journeymen he apprenticed under were some of the best in the country – possibly beyond. It was their attention to detail that worked its way into his DNA and helped him hone his trade as a journeyman tool & die maker.
With Matt’s commitment to business, team and customer success, MacKenzie Atlantic has grown from a one-person, one-machine shop to a 20-person, 12-machine, two-shop operation in Musquodoboit Harbour and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It started in 2005 when Matt and his wife, Carmen, packed up their basement apartment and drove from Vancouver to Matt’s hometown of Dartmouth to set up shop in Musquodoboit Harbour. Matt had just finished his apprenticeship, but he had already secured the first customer for MacKenzie Atlantic.
With the guidance of his father’s keen business sense, Matt began to grow MacKenzie Atlantic. “I made a lot of phone calls, shook a lot of hands, and promised delivery of a superior product, on time and on budget, even under what seemed ridiculous circumstances. The premise is that we work as an extension of our customers’ businesses, not simply as a vendor,” says Matt. “I also quickly learned to ask for and listen to what the MacKenzie Atlantic employees have to say about our work, what we can do differently and where we should go next.”
It may seem cliché but Matt didn’t think MacKenzie Atlantic would grow to what it is now.
“We have a great team, a strong and growing customer base, a pretty sophisticated operation, thanks in part to our ERP system, and we’re diversifying,” says Matt. “We’re proud of the work we do, the relationships we have with our customers, and we can’t wait to see where we go next.”
“We’re proud of the work we do, the relationships we have with our customers, and we can’t wait to see where we go next.”
Matt MacKenzie, owner