The year was 1984, the original Apple McIntosh personal Computer went on sale, top performers from Britain and Ireland collaborated as Band Aid to raise money for the famine that gripped Ethiopia and Van Halen’s “Jump” hit number one on the charts.
It was that same year that Derek Lovie began his service at what is now known as L3Harris WESCAM. At that time, he was a big fan of Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, David Bowie, Duran Duran and the TV show Cheers. Now, Lovie is being awarded for his 35 years at the company that he “still likes working at.” Adding, “It really has been quite a journey. From the early days of working in the film and television business to the present where we work on military and government programs, it has always been fascinating work.”
The Long-Service Awards
The Long-Service Awards mark incremental milestones for every five years of service by WESCAM employees. This year, over 100 WESCAM employees were honoured for their dedication at a celebratory luncheon held at the Burlington Convention Centre.
Long-service awards play an important role in motivating and engaging staff. In fact, Morneau Shepell’s annual Trends in Human Resources survey indicated that more than two-thirds of Canadian HR leaders (67 percent) identified improving employee engagement as a priority. Further, 59 percent identified attracting and retaining employees with the right skills as the top priority.
Rewarding loyalty and commitment by recognizing those who have dedicated their careers to WESCAM is proof positive that the organization values people who are committed and who add value to the company.
“The real reason for our success, in a word, is you,” said Jacques Comtois, General Manager in his video tribute to the recipients. A statement that was echoed by 15-year Service Award recipient Pat McKay, Vice President Finance & CFO. “I take care of the numbers, but for me, what makes the numbers work are the people, the technology, the care we give our customers and the trust that our customers have in us every day. The caliber of people that work for this company is second-to-none, they raise the bar every day, they create fabulous technology, and they inspire each other. For me, it’s been the highlight of my long career, and I just hope that everyone finds the joy that I found here.”
Research shows that companies that develop a culture based on employee recognition and reward will be in a better position to thrive because employees remain more motivated and engaged. Staff morale is very important to retention. And like most businesses, recognition of the individual and their contribution is a vital tool for management to show their appreciation.
“To me, this award means that I have really found a company that I enjoy working for, and that I love what I do. It also means that it may be time for a challenge and a new adventure within the organization,” explained Bindi Dhaliwal, five-year Service Award recipient. “I am proud of my new role as United Way Chair. I am a true believer in giving back to your community and helping those in need, especially children.”
Why Awards Matter
The company has been growing and there are many new faces. New hires are encouraged to seek out veteran employees to get to know their stories, find out what motivates them and learn more about the business, which has evolved and grown over the past four decades.
Since June 2018, 350 full time, contract and co-op employees have joined the company, and the Senior Leadership Team has some new faces, all with exciting new ideas. “L3Harris is embracing the new, while honouring our past,” said Shannon O’Connell, On-boarding Coordinator and MC of the Awards ceremony. “We’ve moved to a bigger venue this year for the ceremony, and in five years, we will likely have to increase our venue size again.”
“Although the corporate landscape has evolved over time, WESCAM continues to value employee contributions year over year and believes that long service employee milestones should be celebrated and acknowledged,” said Maria Inacio, Human Resources Coordinator in charge of the Service Awards Event.
In speaking with colleagues and managers of the 25-year award recipients, the impact on the organization is clear, with compliments such as “magnanimous, supportive, altruistic, can-do attitude, meticulous, practical, exceptional, inclusive, sense of humour, a leader, drive, passion, dedicated, mentor, enthusiastic, fast learner”. Echoing L3Harris values of Integrity, Excellence and Respect throughout a commendable tenure, during which time careers were fostered and memories are made.
As Lovie explains, “I have so many incredible memories from working on live sporting events, music concerts and feature films. The best team memory has to be the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. That was our biggest event to date. We had 12 turrets at the event for broadcast coverage. But, top of the list for personal memories has to be my trip to Los Angeles to attend the 2004 Prime Time Emmys. I received an Emmy nomination that year for my work on Survivor.”
“The Service Awards are a way to celebrate and recognize the valuable people who have committed to and built this great company over the years. These are the people who play such a key role in helping our new hires navigate the company and unlock their fresh ideas as a source of inspiration and innovation,” said Jan Barton, Vice President, Human Resources. “One can never predict the path we will wander in building a career. Every challenge we tackle, or new role we take on, teaches us a thing or two about work and a thing or two about life. Then one day, you can look back 5, 10 even 35 years from now and say ‘wow, what a career I had!”
WESCAM technology provides defense agencies around the world the tools they need to protect the countries they serve. To find out more about our technology, check out WESCAM.com or visit us on YouTube. You can also visit us on Twitter at L3HarrisWESCAM and Instagram at wescamisr. If you are interested in talking with someone about how WESCAM’s products and services can help improve your mission success, please visit the Contact Us page on our website.