Meet the Heat and Frost Insulators

Bob Wood, Retired Business Manager(New Brunswick)

If you ask retired Business Manager Bob Wood, working in the heat and frost insulation industry is about working with people. "It was certainly a people business," he recalls. "Not only working directly with [heat and frost insulators], but working with the other trades to make sure that things get done when they're supposed to… I enjoyed the people I met." And, he says, he hopes that the industry can find more of them to fill the growing need for heat and frost insulators.

Bob wants today's youth to know that the trades offer many opportunities—from hands-on work in the field, to management and supervisory roles. As a high school student, Bob wasn't sure what he wanted to do. When he heard of a Heating and Ventilation program that his friends had taken at Halifax Community College, he thought: "They've done well. I'll give it a try!" Bob enrolled, and found work as heat and frost insulation estimator with Halifax-based Steam Mechanical Contractors as soon as he graduated in 1960.

These days, most estimators start out in a civil or construction engineering program. But in the 1960s, the process was less formal. "I had an old mentor, Mr. Henry Gauthier, and he took me under his wing," Bob recalls. "I learned a great, great deal from him." A year later, Bob was offered an estimator job at Guildfords, a stocking distributor of industrial and commercial construction products. Bob made the move, and began what would become a career-long relationship with Guildfords.

Bob's strong work ethic and leadership skills didn't go unnoticed. After 8 years as an estimator, Guildfords offered him the role of Business Manager at their new office in Moncton, New Brunswick. "They asked me if I'd like to have a go at it, and I said, ‘Sure!'" he recalls.

After 45 years in the industry, Bob retired in 2005. But he still keeps his ear to the ground when it comes to future heat and frost insulation projects. In the next year or two, he says, many industrial projects will appear in the Maritimes. The door is wide open for new workers looking to enter the heat and frost insulation trade. "There are currently plans for building two Liquefied Natural Gas plants [in New Brunswick]. These are massive projects. If they get built, then the pipelines will have to get expanded to carry that natural gas down to the states… [And in Nova Scotia] people are talking about chemical plants as a by-product of the natural gas that's coming in from off-shore."

With so many projects in the works, Bob hopes that young men and women will consider a career in the heat and frost insulation industry. "There's a good living to be made," he says.