|She Builds Truck Bodies|
When Suzanne LeClair was a little girl growing up in Montreal she decided she would do something different one day. Something Quebec women didn't do. But that had to wait. She married Jacque, an accountant and spent ten years at home raising two sons, Mark and Louis.
Then she chose a new career as a manufacturer. She'd go into the tough male business of building truck bodies. To learn it, she took jobs as a sales rep for two different manufacturers, asked questions and learned the tricks of the trade. Her male employers were happy to tell her because they did not believe a woman could become a competitor. Did they ever have a surprise coming!
In 1978 Suzanne, at age 30, launched her own company "Les Fourgons Transit" with 75 thousand dollars of capital. Most of it raised from a second mortgage on the family home. Now, her company is the giant of the truck body business. In fact, 3 years ago she bought out "Les Boix Campions", one of the companies she had originally worked for.
Suzanne's company produces 2500 truck bodies yearly, creating annual sales of 10 million dollars. In 1986 she took the company on a major expansion program. First she went public on the Montreal Stock Exchange. Then, used the capital to build a modern 125 thousand square foot plant. In 1986 she added on another 25 thousand square feet. But, having shareholders was not to her liking, "It was too restrictive," she told me. "So I bought back all the shares and privatized the company."
She runs a very tight ship. Her staff consists of 60 employees including Suzanne as President, Jacque as Comptroller, Mark as plant manager and Louis as sales manager. You can't make it much tighter than that can you?
Suzanne is highly respected in the business community and serves on the Board of Directors of two major corporations: "Sidbec-Dosco" and the "National Bank of Canada".
Suzanne LeClair set out to do something different, and did. She proved the point that a woman can win in any game. Who ever said that building truck bodies was a "man's business" is now busy eating those words.
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