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Murray Darroch Vice President of Commercial Operations, Nexans Canada Inc.


Dear Fergus colleagues,

Happy Birthday Fergus

It is my pleasure to celebrate with you your 50th anniversary!

Congratulations on 50 years of strong focus on people, processes and process controls, allowing you to adapt to changing market conditions and move swiftly from automotive to residential, commercial and industrial markets and customers.

Since 1966 Fergus has built a long lasting reputation of know-how and excellence in cable making. The Plant has been upgraded several times, mainly in 1996 and 2005, and in 2015 we launched a complete modernization and capacity improvement which will make Fergus a leading cable producer for many more years to come.

Wish you many more to come! Kind regards, Steve Vermeulen, Executive VP, NA

I wish you all a very safe and very happy celebration.

On behalf of the 220 current employees of Nexans, Fergus I want to invite you to our 50th Anniversary Open House on Saturday, June 11th. In 1966 we started as Fergus Cables to manufacture automobile wire and hired the ďŹ rst of hundreds of people from the local area who have worked with us over the last 50 years. There’s a good chance you know someone who works with us today or has in the past. One of the main reasons Nexans located in Fergus, is the people and the strong community. People have always been a strength in our plant. Manufacturing is very competitive and our employees have adapted to changing business and customer demands. The Fergus facility has been rewarded with regular investments to become a world class operation. Last year we expanded again, investing $15 million to add a 125,000 square foot logistics facility and upgrading some of our equipment. These changes will ensure continued success and good local jobs for years to come. Our doors are open June 11th from 10am to 2pm so you can take a tour through the plant and the new warehouse to learn a bit more about what we do.

Arnaud Poupart-Lafarge, CEO

I hope to see you on the 11th! Cameron Matthew, Plant Manager

cordially invites you to attend our


1966 - 2016

refreshments ... picture display door prizes ... memorabilia

OPEN HOUSE of the Fergus Plant

Saturday, June 11, 2016

10:00am to 2:00pm



YEArRcSommunity in ou

Parking Access:

700 Gartshore St., FERGUS The 670 Gzowski St. entrance will be closed the day of the Open House


C E L E B R AT I N G 50 YEARS IN FERGUS Officials: keys to longevity include quality workforce, technology, adaptation JAIME MYSLIK


OWNERSHIP HISTORY Canada Wire and Cable (owned by Noranda Metal Industries) and Essex Wire bought the 60-acre plant site in Fergus in July of 1965 as a joint venture. The facility was called Fergus Cables Limited and construction cost about $5 million. “It actually started out basically as an automotive plant, so small cables that ran at basically high speeds and then over the years the business developed into more of

When I started here the biggest reels we handled were 36 inches and the aisles were 16 feet wide. Today we handle hundred-inch reels and the aisles are about half that width, so we have really built the plant within the walls.

FERGUS - As the Nexans Canada Inc. plant in Fergus marks its 50th anniversary, it celebrates not only the operational milestone, but also its success at remaining relevant and competitive in an ever-changing market. Though changes to the plant may not be obvious from the outside, apart from last year’s 225,000 square foot warehouse and outdoor storage expansion, the inside is continuously updated. Vice-president of commercial operations Murray Darroch started working at the plant 48 years ago, just two years after it opened. “When I started here the biggest reels we handled were 36 inches and the aisles were 16 feet wide,” he said. “Today we handle hundredinch reels and the aisles are about half that width, so we have really built the plant within the walls.” The same goes for the plant’s workforce. Production started in August 1966 with 15 people, and just one year later that number had grown to 160 employees. Now the Fergus facility employs about 220 people. As new technology is developed to make production more efficient, the workforce remains stable. “The amount of people within the plant really hasn’t changed over the years,” Darroch said. “So the number of people hasn’t changed, but the amount of production has changed dramatically.”

MURRAY DARROCH - VP COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS what it is today ... an industrial and commercial aspect and moved away from the automotive industry,” Darroch explained. The plant produced its first piece of wire on Aug. 6, 1966, the same day as the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Fergus. In 1968 Canada Wire and Cable bought out Essex Wire and in 1969 the plant became Canwirco Ltd. By 1971 the Fergus plant again changed names, becoming the nucleus of Canada Wires’ Construction Products Division. In 1991 Noranda sold Canada Wire to Alcatel Cable S.A., creating Alcatel Canada Wire. In 2001 Alcatel separated its Alcatel Cables and Components business into its own publicly traded company, named Nexans, a standalone publicly-traded company (on the Paris stock exchange) focusing on energy and communications cables. Now the Fergus plant is part of the global network of the Francebased Nexans, focusing primarily on low voltage residential, commercial and industrial cables. WORKFORCE Despite numerous ownership changes, officials say the plant has always stayed true to its workforce. “The plant opened in ’66 and then the spring of ’69 they were negotiating their very first contract

and there was a strike at that point,” Darroch explained. “I can’t remember the exact amount of time, it was a reasonably long strike.” That’s the only strike the plant has seen in its 50 years. “That’s actually something we’re sort of proud of,” said plant manager Cameron Matthew. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 636 represents approximately 190 production staff at the plant today. Officials say the company has looked out for its employees when the global economy has taken a downturn. “In the early ‘90s there was job sharing around here,” Matthew said. “It was before I got to the plant.” Darroch explained that in the mid 1980s and early 1990s there were periods when employees worked three- and four-day weeks, on work share programs. “It was a work share program that the government sponsored so you employed your people, you never laid your people off,” Darroch said. “You had them work so many days a week and ... like they were on unemployment, the government would pick up part of their two days even though they weren’t working, but it was more economical for the government to do that than to have people laid off and they’d be paying them full time.” Darroch explained it was a gov-

ernment incentive that many factories benefitted from at the time. “It was a way that we could keep all of our people employed and that goes back to ... why we have such good people,” he said. “They were looked after, they look after us and it’s been a good relationship for those years because of those things.” More recently, when the economy slowed down about 10 years ago, the company was able to prevent layoffs by having current employees paint the entire plant an idea that Matthew came up with himself. “Things had dropped and we made a decision to keep everyone and we knew things would turn around and we wanted to keep our people,” Matthew said. The decision helped keep a comfortable relationship between management and plant employees. “Cameron was talking at one of his quarterly communication meetings with the employees and he mentioned to them that it had cost a million dollars to paint the plant, that was the cost to the company to keep everybody employed,” Darroch said. “One of the guys put his hand up and asked, ‘Do you need a second coat?’” Matthew said that one of the good things about the plant is that everybody is comfortable with everybody.

“You don’t sit in your office and people don’t sit on the floor and everyone works together,” he said. “Everyone knows each other.” The plant has a number of third generation Nexans employees and possibly one or two fourth generation employees. “When the facility was started all of the employees were basically from Fergus, Arthur and Mount Forest,” Darroch said. “So those were all small communities back at that time so people came in to work, they all knew each other, they all lived in the same small towns. “So I think a lot of that led to the type of relationship that has lasted for 50 years with the employees.” MACHINERY UPDATES The Nexans plant in Fergus has also been able to update its machines over the years with the confidence that they would be run efficiently, safely and perform at the maximum level. There have been significant changes to that machinery since the plant first opened. “Each machine was controlled independently through the operator’s skills,” Darroch said of the initial machinery. “Today much of that is controlled through PLCs (an industrial computer) and HMIs (touch screens) that actually tie the line together.” The shift in machine control also meant operators needed to become more technical as well. “There’s training within the plant nowadays,” Darroch said. “Everybody has been upgraded as the years have gone by. People learn new technologies and they learn the new systems.” Now machines are highly automated and have been simplified. “Way back you’d have a bunch of people when you fill up a reel and you put a new reel in you might CONTINUED > 4


Nexans officials: keys to longevity include quality workforce, technology, adaptation FROM PAGE 3 technological upgrades, people are still the most important ingredient to the high quality cable the plant produces. “You still need to depend on your people, they still have to interplay with the systems,” Darroch said. “The systems will help control ... the diameters and basically at the end of the day the costs of the product, but it’s the operator’s skills that are important and we’re fortunate that we’ve got a really, really good workforce in this facility.”

In other cases there could be almost no loss because there are multiple machines that do the same thing and the product can be moved around as needed.

“And those two things will determine if you’re even capable of making it and ... able to make it at a price that will allow you to win the job.” Nexans has about 22,000

The systems will help control ... the diameters and basically at the end of the day the costs of the product, but it’s the operator’s skills that are important and we’re fortunate that we’ve got a really, really good workforce in this facility.

BREAKDOWNS The plant is comprised of 100 machines, a few of which breakdown daily in some way, Matthew said. “You sort of prioritize,” he said. “You may have to rush parts in, you may have to get things made quickly, if it’s a really important machine you might pull all of your maintenance or a bunch of your maintenance people onto that one machine to get it up and running as quick as you can.” In an extreme case a breakdown of a high value machine could cost the plant approximately $1,000 a minute in terms of wire scheduled for production, Matthew said.

“We did the CANDU project in Busan (South Korea) where it was as a special nuclear cable,” Darroch said. “Well, we don’t make nuclear cable in this plant every day.

need a few people to get that done ... while the line’s running, a complicated process,“ Matthew said. “Today the equipment does it on the fly automatically, changes from one to another without slowing at all.” However, the skill level of the operator remains as important as ever. “The whole job isn’t just computers, we still have to do a lot of manual things out there and a lot of that is sort of training that we do here with our employees,” Matthew said. “There’s a lot of the basics that haven’t changed over the years,” he added, noting those procedures still require “a lot of experience ... in an industrial environment.” Of course, the goal of most changes it to increase production. “To be around for a long time you’ve got to be productive and the people here have been really good about sort of changing as the technologies change and then they’ve adapted to those changes,” said Matthew. “That’s helped everyone’s productivity, which means you can keep competing against everybody else out there.” However despite highly

CAMERON MATTHEW - PLANT MANAGER “Copper is valuable so you can put a lot of product through in a short amount of time,” Matthew said. PRODUCT The plant ships about $1 million worth of product a day, primarily to Canadian distributors across the county. However, 30 to 35 per cent goes to the U.S. and 5 to 8% goes to international destinations. In the international market the majority of the products manufactured in Fergus are special projects.

That was basically a one-off.” The plant has also done work for Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Panama, Egypt and Thailand, to name a few. While those projects may be outside the scope of daily operations in Fergus, Nexans generally has in-house experts who can help out in any situation. “Usually if you’ve got a project like that you have a team that will work on it ... I mean long before it becomes a project at the plant level you go through the design stage and the costing stage,” Darroch said.

employees worldwide. FERGUS PLANT At one time there were plants located throughout Canada, now there are four – the Fergus plant, the head office in Milton, the Montreal Rod Mill Facility and the Weyburn Facility in Saskatchewan. Through all the changes the Fergus plant has thrived. “It’s in a good spot,” Matthew said. “There’s a good community around here so we’ve always had good people that we can

bring in and hire and just geographically it happens to be in a really good spot - that’s maybe a little bit of luck. “Good people and just constantly changing and I think the company recognized that ... if you’re going to sort of pick someone to stick with, you know, you look at your best facility and you stick with it.” COMMUNITY The community also enjoys having Nexans as part of the Fergus landscape. Mayor Kelly Linton said the manufacturing sector remains the largest employer in Centre Wellington, representing about 22% of all jobs in the township. “Nexans is a big part of that,” he said, noting the company now employs about 220 people. “They’re a longstanding part of our community.” The mayor explained some residents often voice concern that Fergus is a bedroom community, but Nexans is one of the prominent businesses that provide local financial benefits to both its employees and the municipality. Large businesses like

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As long as you’re really, really good at making the wire and keeping the things within 10ths of 1,000ths of an inch - those are the types of things we really work at.


Nexans bring a significant tax contribution to the township, Linton said, helping to ease the tax burden for homeowners. “That’s a huge benefit,” he stressed. He also said the company has been at the same location on Gzowski Street in the north end of Fergus for so long that those who drive by it every day may take it for granted. “It’s nice that we are able to recognize Nexans,” Linton said. “Fifty years is a long time.” He added the township wants to work with Nexans, which he called a great corporate citizen, “to ensure they are here for a very long time.”

“But the manufacturing of low voltage residential, commercial and industrial cables has minimal labour needed, allowing Fergus to remain competitive in the industry. “We’re more of a skillbased manufacturer,” Matthew explained. “Even if the cost of labour is more expensive here than say (in) China ... they have to ship it here ... “We can compete with lower labour cost countries in wire and cable because the amount of labour in the cable is so low. “As long as you’re really, really good at making the wire and keeping the things within 10ths of 1,000ths of an inch - those are the types of things we really work at. It’s really demanding on the processes.”

“The magnitude of what we did was maybe even a little more than we expected,” Matthew said. “We sort of went into it with the idea that we would figure it out but we didn’t really know how it was going to work. “Honestly I can tell you lots of times last year we weren’t quite sure how we were going to get there, we just knew we were going to figure it out. And now this year ... things are settling out and doing much better. “For the immediate time it’s just to get things running smoothly again like they were before we messed everything up.” Now the plant is much more productive and able to compete in the market, Matthew added.




One of the ways Nexans has remained relevant and present in Fergus is a shift in products. Many of the automobile parts the Fergus plant produced in its early years are now manufactured in countries where the cost of labour is lower than in Canada, Matthew said.

Last November the company opened a brand new warehouse and outdoor storage expansion totaling 225,000 square feet. It also updated about 12% of its machines, so future plans revolve around stabilizing production and getting things running smoothly again - like they were pre-expansion.

The plant is holding an open house for its 50th anniversary on June 11 from 10am to 2pm at the 670 Gzowski Street plant. The community is encouraged to stop in for a plant tour and to learn about the changes and updates.


- With files from Chris Daponte

The new warehouse expans

ion includes row upon row of

product storage.


Nexans employees share roles, satisfaction with company JAIME MYSLIK open,” Darroch said. “The employees can sit and ask questions at those meetings also, so it’s a back-and-forth type of thing.” And employees stay. Stewart, 52, started working at the plant when he was just 18 and plans to remain there until he retires. “Where would I go?” he said. “I like coming here ... You know when you started

and they usually give it to the person with the highest seniority, so that’s how I ended up where I am now,” he said. Stewart transferred to the facility’s new warehouse distribution centre when it opened last fall and works as a shipper. But despite his 12 years of shipping experience, the new role took some adjusting.

The people are really good, right from management down.

FERGUS - A common sentiment among employees at the Nexans Canada plant in Fergus is that it’s the people and environment that make the workplace enjoyable day in and day out. “I like the atmosphere ... of working here,” said 33-year veteran employee and warehouseman Jim Stewart. “The people are really good, right from management down.” With 20 per cent of the workforce being with the company for over 30 years, employee loyalty isn’t a problem for the Fergus plant. The company has worked hard for five decades to build that allegiance. “This facility has always been open and honest with people. Sometimes people don’t like the answers, but that’s going to happen in business,” said vicepresident of commercial operations Murray Darroch. “Business decisions have to be made but for the most part, people are taken into consideration in every decision that’s made.” To help keep employees informed, each quarter plant manager Cameron Matthew holds a communications meeting with everyone in the plant. “He has a presentation for every employee in the facility which is totally

Jim Stewart

JIM STEWART - WAREHOUSE out so young ... I couldn’t imagine going somewhere else.” After he began working as a coiler right out of high school, Stewart was actually laid off, but his application was kept on file. Two years later he received a call and was hired full time - and he’s never looked back. However, Stewart’s time at Nexans hasn’t been stagnant. As new job postings came up he put his hat in the ring. “We can post for them

“The whole job changed ... now I’m shipping from a warehouse perspective, which is totally opposite to what I was doing,” he explained. “The paperwork’s all backwards to what I was doing. “Instead of shipping out full skids, because before you’re shipping to your warehouses so they’re all full skids pretty much, now everything’s partials and there’s all different types.” However, Stewart’s years of experience often come

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We extend our sincere congratulations to the Nexans team in Fergus upon reaching your 50th anniversary. This is a great achievement and a milestone most worthy of celebrating.

in handy when estimating the maximum amount of product that can fit on the truck without going over the agreed shipping weight, while still keeping the cargo safe. “Like I said I’ve been here 33 years,” he said. In addition to working in the coiling department and as a shipper, Stewart also worked in the armouring department, producing armoured wire

often used in commercial buildings, and as a router in the packaging department, labeling products. Though Stewart has moved through various jobs in the plant and is now in the furthest corner from the office, he still connects with his co-workers. “It’s always been a great place to work - always has been ... there’s a lot of good people here now and over the years,” he said.

“And that’s what makes it enjoyable.” Another long-time employee who’s planning to call Nexans home until her retirement is plant controller (accountant) Darlene Wilson, who started at the plant 27 years ago. “I worked for Noranda Metal Industries which is the factory just north of us. It’s closed now and it was

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As you also celebrate the Grand Opening of your new warehouse, we wish you many more years of success in Fergus. We thank you for your business and for allowing us to be part of your journey.



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Darlene Wilson

Steve Spitzer

I think we have a good team and the job is varied enough that it’s always interesting and things are changing so it’s never boring

DARLENE WILSON - PLANT CONTROLLER FROM PAGE 6 owned by Noranda Mines and then they sold it to Wolverine Tube and I really liked working for Noranda

and Canada Wire was also owned by Noranda at that time,” Wilson said. “So when this job became open I thought, ‘Oh I can go back to being part of

Noranda,’ and then within six months Noranda sold Canada Wire too.” However, despite the sale she stayed with Nexans. “I was happy here,” she

said. “I live in Fergus, I want to work in Fergus.” One of Wilson’s responsibilities is the payroll for the company. With 195 hourly workers the process could become overwhelming, but with a new automated system it’s manageable. “We have hand scanners that track the hours and then it’s uploaded into a payroll system ... that actually creates the pays and does all the deductions and everything,” she said. “Being at the plant a lot of the responsibilities are in our head office so we do payroll, we do accounts payable, we

do the costing and then of course any of the month-end transactions of recording the business for the month.” When asked why she stays at Nexans, Wilson replied, “I like my job, I like the people. Why would I leave?” Having worked in other factory settings, Wilson said the aspect that really sets Nexans apart is the people. “It’s a really good bunch of people that we work with,” she said. “I think we have a good team and the job is varied enough that it’s always interesting and things are changing so it’s never boring.”

To help drive home the point about Nexans being a great place to work, Wilson shared a memory about a new hire. She said a Nexans human resources representative phoned the employee to say he got the job “and he said he felt like he had won the lottery ... that really says a lot about our company. “We have a lot of longterm employees and well, we’ve got a lot of new ones now too and I hope they feel the same way because it’s been a good place to work. I have no regrets.” CONTINUED > 10

Congratulations EVERYONE AT NEXANS

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Congratulations Nexans on your 50th Anniversary


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Want to extend our sincerest congratulations on your

50 th Anniversary

50th anniversary in Fergus. We appreciate the opportunity we have had to serve you over the years and extend our best wishes for your continued success.

487 St. Andrew St. W. FERGUS 519.843.4770 |



Approximately 20% of our staff have worked with us for over 30 years and to us that speaks volumes as to Nexans’ credibility as a #1 employer.


Bare Wire Packaging


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Warehouse Armouring

Extrusion QC Test


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Approximately 20% of our staff have worked with us for over 30 years and to us that speaks volumes as to Nexans’ credibility as a #1 employer.


Bare Wire Packaging


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Salaried Staff Maintenance

Warehouse Armouring

Extrusion QC Test


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Employees plan to retire with Nexans FROM PAGE 7 Though Wilson is nearing retirement age, she’s not ready to leave just yet. “I’m thinking, ‘Well I’m still having fun, I like my job, I like the people, why would I retire?’” she said. “It has been 27 years so I haven’t really worked any other places, but I’m sure ... if I had I’d still like this one.”

mechanical trade,” he said. “It’s not easy to just do that, but I figured working in industry would be a good start.” Spitzer began working in the armouring department (wrapping aluminum on BX house wire and heavier industrial wire), but soon applied for a millwright

said. “We like to update them to make them more efficient and safer by today’s standards. Some are new machines that we have to install and tweak to make them work the way we want.” Spitzer said a favourite part of his job is working with SolidWorks, a computer-

I’m excited about the changes we’re making and am proud to be part of it.


Steve Spitzer, 57, also came to Nexans when he was ready for a job change. He’s been at the Fergus facility for 20 years. The millwright came to Fergus and operated an electronics store for 13 years. In 1996 he sold the business and came to Nexans. “What I wanted to do at the time is get into a

apprenticeship. “A millwright is an industrial mechanic who can build and repair machines,” Spitzer said. “You have to be versatile and know parts of many trades.” He said it’s the millwright’s job to make sure new and updated machines work and work well. “Some are old machines that just keep going,” Spitzer

aided design program that allows him to model parts and assemble them on the computer so he knows how the change works before he modifies the physical machine. “If I’m making a modification to a machine, I can first model the machine, then create new parts and assemblies and make them fit,” he said. “I can change

the parts or try different ideas until it works. Then I can have the part custom made or just make it in the shop.” Spitzer said he’s happy working at Nexans and looks forward to staying until it’s time to retire. “I’m exited about the changes we’re making and am proud to be part of it,” he said. “We’re always busy in the shop and we do what we can to keep that new warehouse busy with wire.” One of the employees who depends on millwrights is John Cox, 52, who works as a SAMP, or wire drawing, operator in the plant. He began working for Nexans eight months ago and is still in awe of how comfortable and happy the workforce is. “The environment here is nuts you wouldn’t believe it, just so relaxed. I swear to God, I’ve never worked at a place like this.” And he’s worked in factories for over 30 years. One of the things Cox appreciates at Nexans is the on-the-job training. “I trained for five weeks,” he said. “They actually train you. You won’t believe the

John Cox

places I’ve worked where guys get hurt because they weren’t trained and then everybody plays pass the buck. “No, (here) they actually train you, they make sure.” Cox said knowing his son,

who also works at Nexans, has been trained well gives him peace of mind. Cox too is planning to stay at Nexans until retirement. “I’ll never quit here. I bet you my son never quits here,” he said.


Nexans 50th

on your anniversary milestone

we are Proud to be a part of your celebration as the Designers & Publishers of the Nexans Anniversary feature



Congratulati ons to FergusPlant Plant Congratulations to Nexans, Nexans, Fergus

celebrating 50 years in the Community Celebrati years and the Grand Openingng of50 their new Warehouse

in the Community and the Grand Opening 866-878-5556 of their new Warehouse 866.878.5556

Township f o f l a h e b n O

Staff, n Council and o t g n i l l e W of Centre



tions a l u rs t a r Cong brating 50 Yea ty! i n u IN Cele m Com IN OUR

Read our publications online at The Wellington Advertiser - 519.843.5410

Congratulations to Nexans, Fergus Plant celebrating 50 years in the Community





Nexans Worldwide

According to the Nexans 2015 Annual Report, December 31, 2015 the group’s 26,607 employees broke down accordingly: NORTH AMERICA 3,415 employees 32.2% women 15.1% managers 90.9% on permanent contracts Average length of service 7.3 years Average age 39.2 years

MERA 3,706 employees 40.9% women 7.7% managers 54% on permanent contracts Average length of service 6.1 years Average age 34.3 years

EUROPE 15,194 employees 34.3% women 9.2% managers 95.5% on permanent contracts Average length of service 11.1 years Average age 41.7 years

APEC 2,707 employees 25.6% women 18.7% managers 58.6% on permanent contracts Average length of service 10.1 years Average age 38.2 years

SOUTH AMERICA 1,585 employees 9.9% women 20.9% managers 98% on permanent contracts Average length of service 10.6 years Average age 39.9 years

Congratulations to Nexans on 50 Years of Success

TED ARNOTT, MPP Wellington-Halton Hills 1.800.265.2366


on your 50 th anniversary!

Best wishes

for your continued success!

The company boasts an industrial presence in 40 countries and commercial activities worldwide, employing over 26,000 people and sales for 2015 came to 6.239 billion euros at current metal prices and 4.604 billion euros at constant metal prices, representing a 1.7% organic decrease compared with 2014. Following a flat six months, during which sales edged back 0.8% on an organic basis, the second half of the year was marked by the expected slower growth in submarine projects and contraction in business in the oil and gas and mining sectors, especially for AmerCable. Operating margin totaled 195 million euros, up 32% on 2014 (148 million euros) representing 4.2% of sales at constant metal prices versus 3.2% in 2014.

Congratulations NEXANS th 50

on your

Anniversary & New Warehouse

We wish you continued success and look forward to working with you into the future. Jerry & Sarah O’Donnell and staff O’Donnell Enterprises Inc.


COMPANY HISTORY 1972 Between 1972 and 1974, armouring machines were added to produce AC90 cable to enter the commercial building market.



Until 1973, only thermoplastic compounds were extruded in the plant. Now, a Continuous Vulcanization (CV) extruder was added, allowing the plant to extrude thermosetting compounds on XLPE cables up to #10 AWG and to insulate rubber cords.


In July, Canada Wire and Cable, in a joint venture with Essex Wire, purchased 60 acres of land in Fergus for a venture named Fergus Cables Limited. The companies planned to build a plant for the manufacture of building wire, cords and automotive wire and cable. Construction began with the sod turning September 16. Construction cost was about $5 million.

1966 Construction was completed in June and production began in August: the first piece of wire was produced on August 6, which was Highland Games Day in Fergus. Although the official opening was not held until almost a year later (June 9, 1967), the Fergus plant was built and fully operational within 11 months of when construction began. In July, the facility had a total of 15 employees. By the official opening, the number had grown to 160. The first order for the facility was for three million pounds of aluminum conductor for early hydroelectric transmission lines in Ontario.

Fergus Cables sold its northernmost 32 acres of land to Noranda Metal Industries, leaving the 28 acres that the plant occupies today. Most of the facility’s early production was automotive wire like SXL, GPT and coil lead. Their HPN product was used by the automotive industry for block heater wire harnesses, as well as by the small appliance industry for cords on products like kettles and toasters.

1968 Canada Wire and Cable bought out the Essex Wire share of Fergus Cables Ltd, and Canada Wire became Fergus’ sole owner. In 1969, Canada Wire formed a subsidiary company, Canwirco Ltd., which comprised the Fergus plant and the Simcoe Magnet Wire Plant.

1971 Canwirco Ltd. was dissolved and the Fergus plant formed the nucleus of Canada Wire’s Construction Products Division, which manufactured building wires.

1975 An additional CV extruder was added.

1977 A tandem extrusion line was installed for extruding nylon over PVC. This line was capable of extruding sizes #14 AWG to #2 AWG. A 60” cabler was also added to permit twisting larger size building wire and armoured cable core. This also allowed conversion of braided NMD90 CANADEX® to PVC/Nylon.

1980 Another division of Canada Wire, Industrial Wire and Cable, was merged into the operation and the Construction Products Division now consisted of the Fergus and Etobicoke plants, and a divisional office housing senior management and other administrative functions. The Construction Products Division had the largest share of the Canadian building wire market with its wire being used in one out of three homes in Canada. Products were increasingly sold to foreign markets including the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Panama and Egypt.

Congratulations Nexans CONGRATULATIONS on your 50th Anniversary

Staff & Employees

• New Construction • Renovation & Additions • Basement & Structure Repair • Excavation Work • Hand-Crafted Cabinetry • Concrete & Landscape Construction • Industrial, Commercial & Residential

905 Gartshore St., Unit B Fergus, Ontario N1M 2W8 P: 519.843.2550 E: W:


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Best Wishes

On Your 50 Year Milestone

Congratulations Nexans on your 50th


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750 Division St. Cobourg, ON




Supplied CORFLEX® cable to the SINCOR Coke and Sulfur Handling project in Venezuela.

Fergus started working together with newly acquired Amercable by supplying PVC compounds and buying medium voltage assemblies to expand Nexans’ range of CORFLEX® cables

2014 Fergus completely stopped the use of lead in PVC and ended the lead program in the plant.

1989-1990 Fergus produced specially designed naval vessel cables for the Canadian Navy’s frigate program.

2006 Expansion of the U.S. product line by adding multi-wire drawing, double-twist stranding and automatic packaging equipment.


1995 Fergus provided Nuclear control cables for the CANDU reactor for the Canatom project in South Korea.


Fergus expanded into aluminum products with the addition of an aluminum drawing machine for USEI and Dahlia, as well as increasing aluminum building wire production. Nexans and BC Hydro signed a five-year extension to a utility cable and wire supply contract worth around $75 million CAD. Much of the cable for this contract, which included infrastructure improvements in preparation for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, was supplied by the Fergus plant.

Fergus’ capabilities were expanded to include intermediate and power size products. Also added were stranding, extrusion, cabling, armouring, packaging and testing equipment.

2009 CORFLEX® MV and LV cables from Fergus were installed in the PLATONG (CHEVRON) project in Thailand.





Logistics expansion with the construction of a 125,000ft2 warehouse attached to the main production building and 100,000ft2 of outdoor storage.

Fergus produced cable, mainly copper RWU, to supply First Solar in Sarnia – our first major solar farm project.

Investments to modernize all production processes of Canadex and to modernize the insulation and cabling of Industrial cables.



Supplied long lengths of 5kV TECK cable for the Confederation Bridge linking Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick on the mainland. At 12.9 kilometres (8 miles), the Confederation Bridge is world’s longest bridge over ice covered water.

Fergus was awarded five-year Hydro Quebec control cables contract.


Introduced Nexans Excellence Way (NEW) as the Nexans standard to improve manufacturing processes and safety.

Supplied cables to rebuild infrastructure after ice storms in Ontario and Quebec.

Signed a new $15 million five-year contract with BC Hydro to supply control cables

Awarded $12 million Teck cable contract for the Fort Hills Alberta Oil Sands expansion project


Congratulations Nexans on your

50th Anniversary

and helping Fergus grow.




The Drinking water People

50 Years in Fergus

RATHFON MACHINE & TOOL INC. MACHINING, DESIGNING, FABRICATING 598 Glengarry Cres. Fergus, On N1M 2WB 519.843.6240 | Fax 519.843.6245


Nexans opens new warehouse, introduces new equipment JAIME MYSLIK FERGUS - The Nexans Canada plant in Fergus underwent major renovations and additions in 2014 and 2015, including a brand new warehouse and about a dozen new replacement machines. The $10-million Fergus expansion, which was officially announced on Oct. 1, 2014, streamlined company logistics and was made in conjunction with a $5-million investment in new equipment to increase capacity in the manufacturing of low voltage residential, commercial and industrial cables. “We bought a lot of new processes, new technology and big, big equipment,”

look the same coming out the door, but they’re made a different way. “We just turned the inside of the plant upside down as well, not just building a warehouse onto the side.” Vice president of commercial operations Murray Darroch added, “The warehouse was the easy part ... The plant change was huge, it was a step change in technology and in process ability.” For about six months in 2015 plant production dropped “substantially” as the machines were switched out, he said, though the company did plan for some interruption. In late 2014 and the first

in Milton right to the brim,” Darroch said. “So that we had stock to continue to feed the market while we took the production equipment out and replaced it. “Now even with that five or six months of overproducing, we didn’t produce enough to carry us through

During the construction and renovations employees weren’t always performing their regular duties, but no hours were cut and Darroch said they all stepped up and took on whatever task needed to be done. “Sometimes you’d just walk around the floor and

installed a new warehouse facility was being built on the north end of the plant to take over distribution that was previously facilitated at a warehouse in Milton, which eventually closed. The addition took the plant from 260,000 square feet to 385,000 square feet and was completed by Reid and DeLeye Contractors Limited. There was also 100,000 square feet of outdoor storage added. “The warehouse was quite easy; it’s put up a big building and put some stock in it,” Darroch said. Essentially the ship-

facility so we built the new facility and we moved into it in 1988 in Milton,” Darroch said. “The reason we put it in Milton was back in those days we had a plant in Etobikoke, we had a plant in Leaside, we had a plant in Orangeville, we had a plant in Fergus and they all served that warehouse, even Simcoe at that time. “[The Milton facility] was kind of in the middle of everything.” Over the years all the plants were closed or sold except for Fergus, with plants in Weyburn,

The warehouse was the easy part ... The plant change was huge, it was a step change in technology and in process ability.

four months of 2015, the company ran as much product as possible through the plant. “Filled our warehouse

(you wouldn’t) know how all this stuff is going to fit together and you’d be spray painting on the floor and chalking things out and trying to figure out and just imagine what things would look like in a couple months when things are bolted down to make sure it’s really going to work,” Matthew said. “You get one chance to do it right.” At the same time the machines were being

plant manager Cameron Matthew said. “So we fundamentally changed the way we make some of the products. They

the full amount of time.” Matthew said the “sheer magnitude” of what was done took longer than expected. “We had our people all over the place learning how to do new things, moving around ... and they were great,” Matthew said. “Because we didn’t just disrupt the machines, we disrupted them all over the place, so they were very patient with everything.”

MURRAY DARROCH - VP COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS ping process itself was not changed, it was just moved from Milton to Fergus. “We built the Milton facility in 1988, we were originally in Malton by the airport and we had outgrown that

Saskatchewan and Chester, New York making small contributions (which now continue in Fergus). “So it made sense to move CONTINUED > 15

Congratulations Nexans! Rio Tinto offers our congratulations as you celebrate your 50th anniversary and we wish you all the best as you inaugurate your new warehouse. As a supplier of high quality aluminium products, we are proud of our long history with Nexans. Rio Tinto looks forward to continue serving you in the future.

Congratulations, Nexans, on your 50th anniversary!

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5/12/16 3:16 PM

Building on more than a century of experience, Rio Tinto’s aluminium group is an industry leader. With 12,000 employees in 30 sites in 11 countries, we are one of the world’s largest producers of high quality bauxite, alumina and aluminium. Our leadership is reinforced by our access to the largest and best quality bauxite reserves, benchmark smelting technology and enviable hydropower position. Rio Tinto is a leading international mining company involved in each stage of metal and mineral production.


FROM PAGE 14 the facility from Milton to Fergus,” he said. By mid-November of 2015, the plant had smoothed out some of the kinks with the new machines and the warehouse was up and running and full of stock from the Milton facility. “When you start up something new it’s always a disaster at the beginning and it’s frustrating,” said Matthew. “All you want is for the machine to work right instead of start and then stop, so again people were really good working through all that, being patient as we sorted out all the little gremlins and got things going.” Even now operators are still figuring out the new equipment. “There’s still things to learn about the equipment and the capabilities and ... I mean even things as simple as how to schedule things

around a new machine,” Darroch said. “For years you scheduled the equipment in a certain way so that you kept the flow going. Now that machine’s no longer and the machine you’ve got is new so do you have to do things differently at previous operations to make ... running that machine different or better.” The entire flow of the plant changed and all aspects of the plant were impacted. “Every single person in the plant was basically involved in one way or another,” Matthew said. Employee Jim Stewart had been a shipper in the plant for 12 years and moved to the warehouse when it opened. He’s still learning the new processes. “It took a lot for me to get the brain to switch from plant shipping to warehouse shipping when the paperwork’s backwards,” he said. “Like when you shipped

it out of the plant, when you load the material, you scan it as you’re loading it then you create the paperwork after. “In the warehouse you create the paperwork and then you load the material and as you scan it that verifies it to the paperwork.” He said the process helps to make things mistakeproof - “And that’s what we aim for is not to make mistakes.” One of Stewart’s favourite aspects of his new job is shipping directly to the customers. “I get to see the customers directly, see who we all ship to, where that is and that’s kind of interesting to know who all you’re customers are,” he said. “It’s kind of cool to know where (the product goes).” Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton said township officials were thrilled the company decided to proceed with the expansion of the Fergus plant, which represented a 50% increase in plant floor area. “That was huge for us,” said Linton. He noted the Nexans decision to move its Milton operation to Fergus was recognition of what the Centre Wellington area can offer, in addition to its proximity to regional markets and universities. “We’re proud of that,” he said. The timing for implementing the new machines and warehouse expansion

was determined by multiple factors. “Part of this was in order to stay competitive; you’ve got to change some equipment from old technology to new technology,” Darroch said. “There were some changes to product, how you make it that would allow us to be more competitive in the

market. “It wasn’t just an, ‘oh let’s throw a bunch of old equipment away and put in new equipment,’ it was a thought out plan of ‘if we do this, what’s that impact and what equipment do we need to do it?” Now key areas of the plant are considered stateof-the-art, with the

best technology, equipment and processes available, Matthew said. Anyone interested in viewing the new technology, equipment and expansion can do so at Nexans’ 50th anniversary open house on June 11 from 10am to 2pm at the plant, which is located at 670 Gzowski Street.

TOUR OUR FACILITIES at our Open House on June 11


Cooper’s Iron & Metal Inc., as a leader in the metal recycling business and long time supplier, would like to congratulate

Nexan’s on their

50th Anniversary and the Grand Opening of their New Warehouse.


MP Michael Chong

MPP Ted Arnott

Mayor Kelly Linton

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Nexans on its 50th anniversary of operation in Fergus. Nexans is known locally as an important employer in our community, and known worldwide for manufacturing high quality products.

For the past 50 years, Nexans in Fergus has been a world-beating industrial powerhouse, manufacturing quality low voltage residential, commercial and industrial cables.

It is my pleasure to congratulate Nexans on behalf of Centre Wellington council and community on your 50th year anniversary of doing business in the Fergus facility! We are proud to have Nexans as one of our longstanding businesses, currently employing 220 and offering exceptional career opportunities for individuals, including graduates of nearby universities.

The Nexans Fergus facility – as well as the people it employs – are a deep source of pride for Fergus and the surrounding area. Once again, congratulations on this special milestone. Best wishes for continued success!

As the Member of Provincial Parliament for Wellington-Halton Hills, I want to congratulate the management and staff associates at Nexans on their success. Over the years, it has been my privilege to work with Nexans on a number of issues. I look forward to working with Nexans in the future, as we work together to embrace the opportunities before us in the world marketplace.

Your new $15-million expansion demonstrates Nexans’ commitment to Centre Wellington. It also provides the company with reduced turnaround time for its products and new state-of-the-art equipment to respond to the demands of its growing North American market. We are committed to working with you and our other innovative, industry leaders to continue to build a business-friendly environment, making Centre Wellington an even better place to live and work!

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 636 would like to congratulate Nexans Canada Inc. on their 50th Anniversary. Nexans is an integral part of the Fergus community. We represent approximately 190 production staff.

Good for you. Good for your family. Good for your future.

IBEW Local 636 proudly represents approximately 5000 men and women employed in various types of industry in the public and private sectors from Windsor to Ottawa.

We provide services to help ensure a fair and equitable workplace for our members.

Nexans 2016 50th Anniversary Celebration  
Nexans 2016 50th Anniversary Celebration  

Celebrating 50 Years in Fergus. Keys to longevity include quality workforce, technology, adaptation.