Supporting the next generation of engineers and accelerating Quebec's technological transition: The Fonds and GCM Consultants' challenge
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ invests in GCM Consultants, a Montreal-based engineering consulting firm. In doing so, the worker's fund is supporting the next generation of local consultants while contributing to accelerate Quebec's energy and technological transition. To discuss this significant transaction, we met with a team made up of the industry's new guard and "wise" guard, a nickname given to the shareholders who will be leaving over the next few years.
When it was founded in 1994, GCM Consultants concentrated its offer on mechanical reliability for the industrial sector. Today, the team describes itself as a "one-stop-shop" for technological engineering. They offer comprehensive and integrated services that combine all engineering disciplines for the industrial world, both at strategic and operational levels. The company, which employs nearly 400 people, has developed several specific fields of expertise and supports its clients in their technological and energy transition while also helping them face the environmental issues that their operations may entail.
In order to further expand GCM and support its growth, shareholders can hand over the baton to a third generation. If investors wished to pass on the company to successors in whom they could trust, their search for the right investment was granted equal concern. This co-investment by the Fonds and the Fonds régionaux de solidarité FTQ—Montréal thus offers peace of mind to GCM's outgoing shareholders and ensures the preservation of the organization's DNA and the leadership that was built over the years.
"It is important that the people who will now carry the torch know GCM and preserve the control we have over our destiny. That's why we are counting on people who have been with us for a long time. Now, with the Fonds being a minority shareholder, we know that the next generation will have the resources necessary to face what challenges the future holds," says Normand Thouin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GCM.
Amélie Dugas-Sampara, Director of Investments—Private Equity and Impact Investments at the Fonds, explains that the business relationship began with the Fonds régionaux in Montreal. GCM quickly gained access to the Fonds’s extensive network and became a logical partner with which to work hand in hand toward Quebec's technological transition. Through its investment, the Fonds not only provides GCM with additional capital to pursue its growth strategy, but also lends its expertise, namely, in governance. These advantages will allow GCM to solidify its organizational structure and remain credible in the engineering consulting industry.
"Our similar long-term visions make all the difference. The Fonds provides capital, but we are mainly there to support the company in the sustainability of its development plan. When we invest, we invest in a management team, in people, adds the investment director."
A Great Impact on GCM Consultants: Allowing the Next Generation to Grow
Having developed an orderly succession plan, management has meticulously targeted the people who could fulfill their vision. Although they use the term "next generation", this new team is composed of employees who have been with the company for many years. As such, this investment encourages local talent and supports the growth of Quebec expertise.
"Those who came before us want to mentor and coach us to become great managers and make the right decisions for GCM. We have already been involved in various discussions concerning the future of the company which makes for a very natural transition," notes Nathaniel Tiffany, vice-president of engineering, one of the members of GCM's new guard.
There is an aura of trust and respect among the team members, whether they are from the wise guard or the new generation. Long-time managers are proud that their efforts will continue to shine, while their successors are thrilled to have been chosen to take the wheel.
"The strength of our values will win. We have no hesitation in thinking that our talents will make a difference because they have already done so in the past," says Yves Malouin, President and CEO of GCM.
An Impact on the Economy: Accelerating Quebec's Technological Transition
If the benefits of this investment are positive for GCM and its successors, they are also positive for Quebec as a whole. Vision 4.0, which is based on the use of new technologies to interconnect and synchronize systems and processes, is the pillar on which GCM's current activities are based. Indeed, the engineering consulting company plays an increasingly important role in the technological, energy and environmental transition in Quebec.
"There is a gap between where Quebec is in terms of technological transformation and energy transition and where it wants to be. Our expertise allows us to reduce this gap by accompanying various players in the industrial world, both to integrate intelligence into their processes and electrify their facilities or to switch to renewable energy, such as green hydrogen, for example," explains another successor, Philippe Grégoire, vice-president of Innovation and Technological Strategy.
"The Fonds's investment acts as a catalyst, continues Amélie Dugas-Sampara. It allows us to support GCM in the deployment of its expertise to accelerate the technological and energy transition of many companies, whether in Quebec or elsewhere in the world."
This strategic investment in GCM Consultants creates an exponential effect that supports the Fonds's commitment to act responsibly to act responsibly and ensure the sustainability of Quebec SMEs.
With its financial, strategic and human support, the Fonds allows a local company to entrust its successor with the reins for its future while also contributing to the acceleration of Quebec technological transition. That's what we call the Fonds's double impact.
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