When Gordon Green’s father, Donald Green, started Metalfab Fire Trucks in 1967, he had no way of knowing that it would persevere and grow into the thriving fire truck manufacturing company that you see today. He may not have known it at the time, but he did have a vision—one that Gordon is at the helm of today as he guides the organization through each new chapter.
Raised in the Family Business
Gordon has always been a part of Metalfab in one way or another. “I started working here as soon as my father started the company,” Gordon says. “I was 12 years old, and I immediately learned how to weld, among other things. I worked here after school and during holidays and all that good stuff.” Soon, however, it was time for Gordon to go off to university. “I went to the University of New Brunswick and took engineering,” he explains. “I ended up in Ontario, but after a few years, I came back in 1980 and have been here ever since.”
Gordon became the President of Metalfab in 1995, buying out the rest of his family in 2009 so he could go all in. “It was a family business, of course, but we all had different priorities in life,” Gordon explains. “I wanted to grow the company, and my siblings were happy with it the way it was. Eventually, we came to an agreement. Most of my siblings moved on, but my brother actually just retired last year.” And with Gordon in charge, Metalfab has certainly grown.
A Client-Centric Approach
Over its long-standing tenure, Metalfab Fire Trucks has had the distinct pleasure of serving many fire service organizations and communities across western Canada and beyond. While many of their partnerships are decades long, with some customers having six or more Metalfab trucks, they’ve also been cultivating new networks over the past few years. “We are constantly breaking into new territories and finding fresh avenues of revenue for our business,” Gordon says. “In recent years, we’ve completed contracts in Alberta, BC, New York, and Maine, so we want to keep pushing across North America.”
And no matter what issues the Metalfab team may face, they always have the customer’s best interests at heart. “One thing we’ve been encountering—that everyone’s been encountering since COVID—is supply chain issues,” says Gordon. “We’re dealing with trucks, pumps, electronics, and all different kinds of components, and it only takes one thing to hold up a truck delivery. So for us, it’s about being flexible enough to work around it and keep the customers happy.” He adds, “We’ve been known to change the order of our truck builds, for example, so that we can stay on track throughout these challenges.”
The Future of Metalfab
So how exactly has Metalfab transformed from a vision inside Donald’s head to where it’s at today? As Gordon explains, “Basically, all we’ve done is seize opportunities as they’ve arisen. If a new market area opens or a product pops up and there’s interest, we’ve grabbed onto it and explored it.” Gordon admits, “Some stuff has worked out, and some stuff hasn’t, just like any typical business. There is no great master plan behind all this; it’s more about trying things out to see what aligns.”
And as the organization looks ahead, this mindset will come in handy. “As I’ve become older—and may I say wiser—I’ve become more patient, which is something I’m teaching my managers,” mentions Gordon. “I always tell them that there’s no need to get stressed out about stuff you can’t do anything about, and if things are meant to work out, they will.”
Eventually, and by eventually, we mean within the next 5–10 years, Gordon hopes to retire while leaving Metalfab in good hands to continue into its next evolution. “My father is 97, and he still comes over every few days to see how we’re making out or what new products we’re selling,” Gordon beams. “So it’s not like I plan to remove myself from the business completely, but it would be nice to retire by the time I’m 75 like my father did before me.”
Luckily, Gordon has a couple of managers interested in stepping up. Now all he must learn is to be okay with delegation. Regarding this, he says, “I’m getting there. I know I’m not indispensable, so I’m trying to delegate to ensure the company keeps moving forward even when I’m not here to make it happen myself.” With many exciting innovations in the fire truck industry on the horizon—including electric fire trucks and computerization—Metalfab Fire Trucks is uniquely positioned to be on the cutting edge of these new technologies.
Ultimately, Metalfab is an organization that has been built from the ground up with the blood, sweat, and tears of the Green family. This second-generation, family-owned business doesn’t just outfit departments and communities with fire trucks; Metalfab Fire Trucks is dedicated to empowering first responders with state-of-the-art, life-saving equipment, embodying a commitment to safety, resilience, and the protection of communities in the face of emergencies, while also leaving behind a multi-generational family legacy.
If you have any questions or would like further information on Metalfab and their workshops, please call them at 1-800-561-0012 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org today.