Executive Profile: Roberta MacGillivray

Roberta MacGillivrayB.G.E. Service & Supply (The Filter Shop) was founded by Roberta’s father, Darrel Sutton. Roberta started at the tender age of 8 in the filtration business and is a second generation owner in the business. Whenever the opportunity presented itself to go work with dad, she jumped at the chance. Roberta started working full time for the family business over 15 years ago and has been the President for the last five years.

B.G.E. Service & Supply (The Filter Shop) is celebrating its 50th year in business later this fall. We are a distributor, manufacturer and service provider of indoor air quality filtration products. We have seven fully stocked, customer service locations across the four Western Canadian provinces and around 200 employees.

In the next five years we see a lot of growth in our business and a real focus on helping our customers develop the healthiest indoor environments to meet their needs be it for people, places, processes or equipment.

How do you motivate your employees?

We have such a great team with very long commitment to our company. I think it has a lot to do with our strong culture and commitment to our CORE Values: Together We Are Better, Be The Experts and Whatever It Takes. Our team tells us that they like working for the family business because they feel part of the family. They also tell us that they are proud of the work we do everyday to help our customers achieve cleaner air. We also take education and professional development very seriously. We invest in educating our team wherever we can about all things related to clean air and we also invest in furthering their business skill set to be better rounded professionals.

Did you have a business mentor and if so, who is/was it?

I have had many mentors along the way, including my dad and the senior management team that came before me. I also benefit from connecting with peers in the NAFA membership to share ideas. I belong to Young President’s Organization which creates a non-competitive forum for entrepreneurs and business executives to share best practices and challenges in their businesses. I seek, whenever possible, to reach out to business leaders in my community to engage and have them challenge me on my business. I also benefit by being a mentor. I provide mentorship through my alumni at the University of Alberta to start-up entrepreneurs. It’s amazing how much I get in return from working with fresh entrepreneurs.

What’s the best piece of business advice anyone ever gave you?

“It’s a marathon not a sprint.” You need to be focused on the end in mind but nothing is quick. Patience and perseverance will prevail.

What is the most challenging aspect of running a filter company?

We talked about this at the last NAFA Technical Seminar. The most challenging aspect about the filter company and also the most rewarding aspect is people. It’s all about the people. They are the essence of everything we do and if you talk to our customers it’s the aspect that they value the most. Providing a clear direction for full alignment is imperative.

What do you think is the biggest challenge the air filtration industry currently faces?

Competition is fierce. It’s important that the industry doesn’t lose sight of what is really important; making sure our customers have clean air to meet their ever changing needs.

Do you have any words of wisdom for up and coming filter professionals?

Get involved. NAFA is a great place to start. There is so much knowledge and experience in this industry and NAFA members are always welcoming and willing to provide advice or a helping hand. Get involved in your local associations as well. Associations are always looking for volunteers and you learn so much and make so many strong connections by getting involved.

How has your company benefited from NAFA membership?

We’ve been involved in NAFA since the 1970’s. We’ve integrated the CAFS, NCT, NCT II, Clean Air Award, NAFA Guide to Air Filtration, IOM Manual, Guidelines and the Technical Seminar and Annual Convention into our regular business processes which has made us a stronger, more informed company for our employees and our customers.