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MANUFACTURING
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WGI Westman Group Inc.
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conveyors for agriculture and industrial use.
“I started production in April of 1976 with six
employees,” Edwards recalls. “Those employees
had previously worked for me at the company
I had worked with, which had its head office in
Oshawa, Ontario.”
Now 83, Edwards serves as the company’s
chairman while leaving the day-to-day opera-
tions to President and CEO Paul Cunningham,
who has been with WGI Westman for 19 years. As
a tandem the pair is in constant communication
and effectively oversees operations of the entire
conglomerate. During our conversation with the
two senior executives, it quickly becomes evident
there is a very high level of trust between them.
The authority, autonomy and trust Edwards
bestows upon Cunningham are essential factors
in his being able to run a successful enterprise.
“It’s been the ride of my life,” Cunningham
begins. “I couldn’t imagine working anywhere
else. I can go to him and say ‘Russ I think we
should buy this company and this is what we
should pay’ and he says ‘go for it’. In 30 minutes
we can sit down and decide whether we’re going
to spend $30 million.”
WGI Westman currently has 34 factories
as well as a distribution centre and sales office
located in Edmonton. In 2015, WGI Westman
flirted with international gross sales of $500 mil-
lion and it’s still growing. It’s anticipated there
may be a slight retraction this year with agricul-
ture and oil and gas, but as both Edwards and
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