WinDoor 2017 : Viva Montreal

One of the special advantages of getting involved in Fenstration Canada as well as WinDoor is the unique ability to get acquainted and establish special friendships across the country with peers. Yvon Houle, founder and president of Portes & Fenetre President, has been in the industry for many years and also quite active in various industry associations, especially Fenestration Canada. Yvon and his wife have travelled Canada literally from coast to coast as events such as the FenCan AGM have moved from St Johns, NL to Winnipeg, Mb to Vancouver, BC to Mont Tremblant, Qc.

The recognition of Yvon with the C.P.Loewen award should speak volumes to an individual’s commitment to the window and door manufacturing industry. However, a true sense of that commitment is really experienced by taking a tour of his truly “self built” window factory in Montreal. While Yvon has expressed some senses of reduced day to day involvement in the business, I was truly impressed by the literal excitement as we walked through their facility the day after WinDoor Montreal. And, for those of us who are not so mechanically inclined, it is amazing to see and listen to Yvon talk about how he spent hours bringing a special piece of equipment into operation or how he literally built a unique drilling device complete with complex electronic control system!

Participation in and attendance of industry events has created the opportunity to quite easily visit suppliers or other window and door manufacturers from various parts of Canada and we’ve take extra advantage of it. The examples of such previous industry visits include pultruder Inline Fiberglass in Toronto, entry door fabricator/distributor Trimline and window manufacturer Westech in lower mainland BC as well as Adfast Industries and JRC in Montreal. And it becomes patently clear in my eyes that there is so much to be gained in additional insights as one truly engages in Fenestration Canada as well as regional associations.

Yvon paid special attention to my travel arrangements as I was able to take the metro to Longeuil station where his daughter Marie-Pier Houle, Administration Services Manager picked me up and drove me to their factory/office/showroom. We proceeded promptly into the factory and it should NOT have surprised me but the excitement and passion for various elements of the industry were prominent throughout. Its perhaps not obvious to all but the so called medium size fabricators don’t always have the resources to acquire the latest equipment and technology. So, its truly suitable then when Yvon’s first focus is a cutting system which Portes & Fenetres President was able to acquire for an affordable price – albeit needing some hands on attention to bring it to life. Yvon poured hours of his personal time into that project but it now has become the heart of his factory!

I have to say that I was amazed at the same kind of connection that popped up repeatedly as we went through every stage of the manufacturing process – from a “self made” custom drilling device to the machine shop to 4 point welding system to lineal wrapping to vertical glazing stations. In all of those cases, Yvon had very personal stories of dedication to making them come to life for their very own special purposes. It sure didn’t sound like somebody that was “cutting back” and a confession to that effect came out eventually, “I get up very early and put in almost a full day no matter where I may be!” And that continues to speak to the point that there’s a LOT more to business success than luck!

The excitement continued beyond the factory and into discussions about family involvement as well as the sales and marketing team. Yvon seems to be lucky to have been able to incorporate daughter Marie-Pier Houle as Administrative Services Manager and step son Marc-André Villemure as Operations Manager. It became quite clear that in conversation with both Marie and Marc that Yvon had given them an excellent chance to grow into the business (and both found the time to walk WinDoor as a second generation engaged in this special Canadian event). I was also introduced with some fanfare to Robert Desroches, VP sales as Robert was on track for both an excellent month and year! Yvon quite proudly talked about their sizeable marketing and sales team and their operation also became apparent while researching this article at www.portesetfenetrespresident.com. Almost instantly, up popped a live message inquiring about my visit to the website and it turned out to be none other than Marie! Like father like daughter?! The company has recently negotiated a sizeable expansion in the production area so the future looks bright for the production side to keep up with that dynamic sales team, even if Yvon pretends to step away and hand the keys to the fam! Inspirational visit to Portes & Fenetres Presidente!

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