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October 07 Businessexcellence 79 Canam has grown and also contracted in the past, undergoing a major restructuring in 2004 that saw it sell off some assets not directly related to its core business in non-residential construction and realign itself into eight business units, a structure that remains today. Future strategic moves will also likely be focused in those same areas, where the company has developed strong markets and a positive reputation, for instance, within sports stadiums. In addition to the Yankee Stadium work, Canam helped build the home of football’s New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles and will help make steel for the new stadium of the Yankee’s cross-town rivals, the Mets, as well as a new football stadium for New York’s two NFL teams. It also is among the largest makers of steel bridge girders in several markets, an expertise getting plenty of attention in both the US and Canada in the wake of the mid-summer bridge collapse in the city of Minneapolis. Despite the pressures of overseas competition, Canam Group will likely be fabricating steel in North America for some time to come, says Dutil. While costs can be less in overseas locales, time is often an issue for the company’s customers and some of the large-scale fabrication it does (one of its Quebec facilities recently produced a 253-foot-long roof joist) is not conducive to longrange shipping. “All of our products are custommade,” Dutil notes. “I can’t say we are insulated from overseas competition, but we feel there are opportunities as well as challenges there.” If Canam makes major strategic moves, meanwhile, they’re more likely to come when the business is growing more slowly; the company had 35 percent earnings growth in the second quarter of 2007, as sales rose 32 percent. “We are not necessarily the biggest in all of the markets and niches that we work in, but we’re one of the largest. We also strive to be the most reliable and the closest to our customers, but that is of course an endless destination,” says Dutil. In fact, adaptation is something the company has grown accustomed to on a daily basis. As a Quebec-based company that deals with American and Canadian customers and suppliers and employees in places such as Romania and India, even the switchboard operator has learned to be fl exible. “She’ll say ‘bonjour’ but she knows she could hear a reply in one of several languages,” Dutil says. “We just keep adapting.” CanamGroup “We are constantly telling our employees that innovation, improvements and ideas are important and that they can contribute to that in valuable ways”