Eric Naaman Interviewed by CJAD 800 Host Elias Makos

Posted by Damotech Marketing on February 7, 2020
Damotech Marketing

large_cjad_800_am_montreal_qcEric Naaman is an entrepreneur with an unconventional career path. He acquired Damotech in 2010 with a desire to grow an organization that would reflect his values in terms of company culture. As president of Damotech, Eric has been responsible for turning his company into the largest rack safety company in North America. He was recently featured in a the Montreal Gazette, in an article by Susan Schwartz naming him a 'Dream Boss' because of how "he has gone above and beyond in ensuring that the people who work for his company are truly happy and enjoy their lives at work and at home.”

Elias Makos is the host of The Elias Makos Show on CJAD 800, the station's mid-morning show. He is also CTV Montreal's Technology Analyst.

Tune-in and listen to the interview from February 5, 2020.

Eric-Naaman_CJAD-800_Interview

Transcript of the interview:

Intro Interactive and involved. Elias Makos, CJAD 800.
Elias Makos Our next guest has been described as the Dream Boss. Let's meet him right away. Eric Naaman is CEO of Damotech. They're based in Boisbriand. Hi, Eric.
Eric Naaman Hi Elias. How are you?
Elias Makos I'm doing well. Listen, I saw this a wonderful profile of you in the Montreal Gazette earlier in the week. And I said we got to talk to this guy. So, Eric first off, why don't you tell me what Damotech is.
Eric Naaman So Damotech is a rack safety... warehouse and rack safety company. We advise and manufacture racking... repair kits to repair racking in warehouses. And we give advisory services for engineering in order to provide safety and make sure that the warehouse environments that people work in are really safe.
Elias Makos So, Eric, when you describe your company, I'm just going to be honest. You know, you mentioned warehousing and safety and that kind of stuff... To me, it sounds like this is a job: you go in, you punch in, your punch out, you do your job. But you've turned this workplace. You know, there's something where you've said, you know what, I want to make this workplace special. I hear about the trips that you bring your whole company on, whether it's to Mexico or somewhere else. Now, this idea of trying to make your employees' dreams come true.
Eric Naaman Yes.
Elias Makos When did you say, you know what? I'm CEO of this place. This is my company. I don't want to make it like other workplaces. I want to make a difference. When did that happen?
Eric Naaman So I bought the company about 10 years ago. And essentially from the beginning, I wanted it to be a special place to work. And my reason for being an entrepreneur is to inspire self-achievement through an exceptional work experience. So right off the bat, I... That's the reason why I like what I do and the reason for doing it. And so... So I wanted from the beginning for it to be a special place to work. And of course, over time, you keep adding more and more sort of initiatives to make the place a bit more particular. Because when you want to hire and attract 'A' players, you need to give them 'A' player kind of environment.
Elias Makos Eric, you know, you're a businessman. So I got to ask you for all of this stuff. What's the return on investment?
Eric Naaman So a huge return because basically we see it and retention. We see it and the quality of the players that we attract. You know, 20 years ago, the competitive edge was cheap labor. Today, the competitive edge is smart talent and being able to attract the best possible players and to give them the skillset and the environment for them to be able to thrive is key to the equation. And so the return is very obvious to me. I mean, the reflex frequently is for people to say, well, it's expensive and it costs money. And all these things. But what I discovered over time is that... the salary is not the only gauge of an employee's happiness.
Elias Makos Absolutely. Eric Naaman is the CEO of Damotech. He joins us on the line right now. Eric, I see one story here. You have 77 employees. Has that grown?
Eric Naaman Yes. So where we're growing pretty fast and so we're somewhere we're hovering around there. We keep adding and more players as we go along. And we have about, I think, seven or eight positions that are open right now.
Elias Makos Okay. Wow.... So you had 77 employees, you took them all to Mexico. Okay. What is the benefit that you know, like, obviously everyone gets a break in that kind of stuff. But obviously, there's a corporate thing. What comes out of it? What do you see when you take your whole company and you say we're going to Mexico? What comes out of it?
Eric Naaman So one of the challenges that we have is that we're a manufacturer. We're also an engineering company. We're also a software company because we have a software division and we have, of course, a sales force. And so when you put these four sort of groups in a room together, you want them to mesh and to gel and to collaborate. And so the way to do it is to sort of take them out of their environment and to do all these teambuilding exercises. We do something... Everything we do is called DAMO something. And so we do DAMO Olympics. We do... we give DAMO Hero awards. We do all these things that make the employees very much aware of who they're collaborating with, who they're working with. All these things.
Elias Makos Eric, one of the things you recently did as you asked each of your employees to set down five dreams they hope to realize during their lifetime.
Eric Naaman Yes.
Elias Makos Where did that idea come from?
Eric Naaman So there's a few variations. There's a... some entrepreneurs in the states that have done variations of that. There's 'Les 5 grands rêves', which is a French book that also has spoken about that. But basically none of them have done it to this scale. So for the 30th anniversary of the company, I wanted to do it 30 times. So that's how this came about.
Elias Makos What did the dreams that have come true so far?
Eric Naaman So quite a few of them. We have an employee that went to Paris. We have Fred that took his family dog sledding with his children. We have Guillaume that went to see the Golden State Warriors in California. We have Antonio that jumped out of a parachute with his wife. And they liked it so much that their mother... his father and mother in law went the weekend after. We have Églantine that did a night out with her friends in a limo. We have Felix, who's a welder at our place, whose dream is to be a goalie. And so he wanted better goalie equipment. So we equipped him for that. We have Louis that went to Ireland with his girlfriend. So all kinds of different ones. And then and the rest are being organized. And they're basically any... The dream has to sort of be aspirational. It has to be... I have to have the ability to realize it of course. And, but it doesn't have to be super complex like we have, for example, one of our employees, David, became a father recently and he's a music lover. So we're sending him to see a concert at the Jazz Fest. And our human capital manager has offered to babysit his newborn so that he can go with his wife and spend a night at a hotel.
Elias Makos Okay. Eric?
Eric Naaman Yes.
Elias Makos What is your message to other CEOs of, let's say, small and medium sized businesses that hear this story of you and you spending money on this and this kind of stuff and say? And and they would say, man, I'm just gonna take that money and buy a third car. What is your message to those CEOs?
Eric Naaman By far, by far, the most important asset that a company has is their employees. And so if you take care of them, they'll take care of you.
Elias Makos Eric? I'll just... and because this is such a good story and I'm so impressed. I'm on the Damotech website. It's D-A-M-O, by the way, D-A-M-O TECH, T-E-C-H, Damotech dot com. Slash careers. I went to the page. Let's talk about the jobs you've got right now. Junior Engineer, you're looking for a Graphic Designer. Now you know, and those may be particular, got to have a certain education, that kind of stuff. Here's some of the other jobs. Shipping and Receiving Laborer. You're looking for a Sales Support Agent that is English speaking, perfect for our audience. You're also looking for a Welder, the evening shift and a Developer. Is that a Developer, Dev Ops? What kind of job is that?
Eric Naaman That's software.
Elias Makos Okay. So, listen, you've got these jobs that are up there. They run the gamut. There is something for everyone. And I'm getting the text messages, by the way, saying that they're that they're enjoying this interview. And what you do. Eric, I hope this leads to a whole bunch of people who are looking for a better career and looking for a better company to reach out to you, man. Thanks for coming on the show.
Eric Naaman Thank you so much Elias. Much appreciated.
Elias Makos All right. That's Eric Naaman, the CEO of Damotech. And I love this. The Web site's fantastic too! Lot of stuff on the company culture and the family BBQs and the values and... Yeah, that's that's the way to do it.

Topics: Damotech, Events, Naaman

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