“I am a team player all around – that’s what I’ve done my whole life. Once I am a part of something, I’m committed.”
Keith grew up playing sports and that team mentality – focusing on a common goal – has served him well as his career progresses at Richardson International.
Keith started as a trucking coordinator after meeting with Richardson at a University of Manitoba Supply Chain Organization recruitment event. Today, Keith works closely with locations that buy grain from producers to ensure alignment with Richardson’s merchandising sourcing strategies to meet end-use customer needs. Keith puts his teamwork to use every day, supporting various colleagues in different areas.
“Our job is to facilitate the purchase of grain from the producer, move it into our elevators, determine the most effective and efficient period of time or manner in getting it loaded on rail cars and making sure it hits our facilities in Vancouver in time to get vessels loaded.” Keith admits that for a newcomer, the fast pace of the network can be overwhelming.
“You don’t need to start a position as an expert,” Keith said. “A lot of the roles within the company allow people to learn along the way. After spending some time in various roles, you have a greater understanding. I know how I fit into our Richardson team.”
Providing learning opportunities to new employees and recent graduates – who, like Keith, are looking to grow in a career in logistics and supply chain management – is Richardson’s new Merchandising & Transportation Development Program. The program exposes participants to key supply chain functional areas in logistics, truck, rail, and marine. Employees in the program also have the opportunity to work in country operations at a Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centre.
Skills in Action
Throughout his time at Richardson, Keith has built on the knowledge he gained from majoring in supply chain management. Keith credits his growth in the company to applying his business school education along with getting work experience and hands-on training in a team setting.
“A few years ago I got the opportunity to visit our Richardson Pioneer terminal in Lacombe, Alberta,” said Keith. “I think that was a really key piece of my training in terms of being able to see what it took to work with producers to contract grain, seeing a lineup of trucks deliver into one of our facilities, seeing what it takes to store and treat that grain, and ultimately load rail cars into our logistics network. It was a key part in my development to see what it takes to be part of a location team.”
Keith’s team spirit approach has helped him build relationships with colleagues and customers and improve his communication skills.
Making an Impact
As Zone Merchant, Keith interacts with different groups – including staff in the Winnipeg head office in as well as at elevators in his zone covering southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Even though the members of these teams are spread out geographically, he noted how aligned everyone at Richardson is.
“Whether you’re talking to someone in a different department or calling someone in the country, it’s very evident that everyone has the same goal.”
Applying his knowledge to support that common goal has been really rewarding for Keith. Commitment and curiosity have also served him well.
“It takes some time to learn the role and to become an expert,” Keith said, explaining that high level knowledge isn’t gained in a year, so it’s important to be dedicated to the overall development process. “Richardson is able to provide a wide variety of experiences to employees. Everyone's career path is different and Richardson provides a unique pathway for all its employees.”
Word of Advice
Keith urges students and graduates to consider Richardson, noting it is a top company within Canada’s agriculture sector. The company’s learning opportunities – including development programs in merchandising and transportation, along with agribusiness, operations, and finance and accounting – are another key reason why students should consider Richardson.
“Between the great team you get to work with and all the opportunities available, Richardson is a great place for anyone coming out of school.”