By HEIDI ULRICHSEN
In the 1980s television show MacGyver, an extremely resourceful secret agent named Angus MacGyver got himself out of dangerous situations using a practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items.
The 30 employees of R.L.P. Machine & Steel Fabrication in Timmins have taken a few pages out of this character’s book, said the company’s president, Steve Symes. They are proud of being able to fix almost made of metal.
“We like to think of ourselves as a bunch of MacGyvers that are very qualified in welding and with steel.”
Symes said the 40-year-old company fabricates and repairs metal objects like platforms, stairways, railings and tanks for mining companies like Porcupine Joint Venture, a group of open pit and underground gold mines located near Timmins.
It also does work for the energy and forestry sector, and for general industry. He said the company is located in Timmins to be close to its customers. It has a 30,000 square foot shop where this work is done.
“We have very qualified people working for us,” said Symes. “We motivate innovation and thinking outside the box.”
In the years to come, R.L.P. will start fabricating high-tech equipment, he said.
“We’re going to stay close to our customers and we want to increase our abilities to service whatever their needs may be,” said Symes.
“We have signed secrecy agreements on high-tech equipment for the mining industry. Without getting into a lot of detail, it’s more towards a lot of robotic mining.
“Our customers are the developers. Being the MacGyvers, we’re the practical guys. We’re the guys that know how to build it and make it work. The engineers at the mines do the calculations. We don’t do the engineering.”
Times have been good for R.L.P. in recent years, with the rise in metal prices making up for closures of sawmills in Northern Ontario. “Our business runs in cycles, so there has been growth and contraction over the years. But in the last few years, we have grown dramatically.”
Above all else, Symes said he believes in treating employees, suppliers and customers with honesty and integrity.
“The most important thing to me as the CEO of the company is our honesty and integrity. Without appearing overly religious, that is one of my key beliefs. I reflect that in the company as much as I can. ”