CAMBRIDGE, Ontario—Growing up in the Kitchener/Waterloo area of Ontario, Glenn Maidment pretty much had three career paths he could have chosen: meat packing, automotive or rubber manufacturing.
Given that Maidment retired Jan. 1 as president of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada after a 51-year career in the industry, there seems no doubt he made the right choice.
"Those were three foundational industries back in those days," Maidment told Rubber & Plastics News. "Right out of school you could get a job in any one of those areas almost immediately."
Back then the Kitchener/Waterloo region was known as "The Akron of Canada," as it boasted Uniroyal and B.F. Goodrich tire factories, along with a host of other rubber manufacturing.
Maidment graduated from high school in spring 1969, took the summer off and then applied at Uniroyal. He was small, and back then you had to be a certain height to work in the plant, so he started as a clerk where commercial truck tires were produced, stuck in a small cubbyhole of an office on the fourth floor.
Back in the day, he said, large tire manufacturing firms also offered career opportunities in a host of other disciplines, such as engineering or sales and marketing. After working at the facility for two years, he transferred to the payroll department. There, he said he really began to think about where he wanted to go with the company.
"It became very clear to me, if I ever really wanted to excel, that I had to go back to school," Maidment said. That affirmation led to night courses at the local university and, after more than seven years of part-time study, he earned a degree in economics, leading to progressively more opportunities at Uniroyal.
When he returned to the plant in industrial engineering, he found himself working on time studies. While he loved the people, the work wasn't for him, he said.
Then it was back to the front of the building and a couple of years in market research.
"In the early 1980s, I got into sales," Maidment said. "I started as a territory manager, selling tires throughout the province. Over the next six or seven years, I had pretty much every territory in the province of Ontario at one time or another."
Uniroyal wanted him back in the office in the mid to late 1980s, and he headed up a new business development unit known as Royal Care. The program essentially was a concierge service for loyal, selected dealers.
"The program I helped create and develop became what Michelin adapted as their Alliance program," he said. "That was one of the things they adopted from the Uniroyal Goodrich purchase."