Paul Soubry, CEO of New Flyer, on job skills, income and higher education

May 7, 2014


Text on screen: [Address by New Flyer president and CEO Paul Soubry, AUCC membership meeting, Winnipeg, April 8-9, 2014 | Allocution de Paul Soubry, p.-d.g. de New Flyer, Réunion des membres de l’AUCC, Winnipeg, du 8 au 9 avril 2014]

Paul Soubry, New Flyer president and CEO :
So the next question, what combination of skills and experience does the next generation of leaders need to be successful? Now again, it’s 30 years since I went to school, but for me, the easiest courses were human resources, organizational behaviour and so forth. And most of the time, I thought I was wasting my time. I wanted to be an accountant after several unsuccessful attempts at first-year financial accounting, the prof suggested I might to into sales marketing or human resources.

But honestly, those courses to me were philosophical. They were theoretical, they were conceptual, there was no right or wrong, basically soft stuff. But honestly, now that I’m 30 years later, now that I run a business, in my case, 3,200 people in multiple facilities, previously 4,500 people all over the globe, honestly, the stuff that’s really important all day long is organizational behaviour, human resources and people and leadership stuff.

And so I realized you can hire smart people and you can realize you can buy computers and other stuff to design or calculate and so forth. The most difficult thing to do is to teach people how to be a leader. And we spend a lot of time in our business differentiating between management and leadership, and they are two very, very different things.

I’m a bit of a junkie for quotes and so forth, and I love this one from, from Michael Porter at Harvard, and so when you think, when he thinks about and talks about the global environment, he says, and it’s so true in my business cause all I do is assemble a bunch of parts, like 30,000 parts, and at the end of the day, you’ve got a bus. But so does my competitor. There’s not much really different. He says that people are the only real source of true competitive advantage.

And you know, when you look back at, at where people work and the way we respond and how we interact with our customers, at the end of the day, I’m building a bus, no different than any of my competitors. It really is about the people. And so, I really think that’s an important thing that universities should think about and that the difference between your school and somebody else’s school really has to do with the quality of the people that are teaching, managing, leading and, and educating our youngsters.

Text on screen: [Information/Renseignements ; bilingual logo of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada]

A short clip of Paul Soubry’s address at the April 2014 membership meeting of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Tagged:  Co-ops and internships

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