Last Fall, we lost a dear friend, and the Canadian manufacturing sector has lost a remarkable champion. At this time of memorial, it is with great sorrow, pride and reflection on our dear friend, that on behalf of Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium and our many member manufacturers across Canada, we remember John Evans and add our testimony to his exemplary accomplishments – both with EMC and the manufacturers he touched – during his too brief time with us.
When we first became acquainted with John more than two decades ago, EMC was a single consortium organization located in rural Ontario, having just launched a new consortium in Brantford. John joined EMC in 1999 as a member with HD Brown and moved to Ranpro shortly after, where he and owner Gord Jamieson tapped into every resource EMC could offer, building Ranpro’s business and becoming a model member and flag bearer for the cause. John always provided tremendous support in representing manufacturing health & safety issues and EMC’s EH&S and Safety Group initiatives.
No matter the subject, location or time of year, John would always be there. He rarely if ever missed supporting an EMC event and the opportunities to connect with other manufacturers. He loved sharing his journey and what he hoped to accomplish to grow. Many such events resulting in the members digging into the ‘nitty gritty’ of plant issues and how to grow manufacturing participation in the region. The result of John’s efforts were a vibrant consortium and a group of manufacturers who had become part of the family.
“John’s kind and gentle nature and willingness to help others certainly solidified our long-lasting friendship and regard of one another. When his new career at Shouldice Stone in Shallow Lake began and brought him from his previous position at Ranpro Inc. in Simcoe to our general neck of the woods in Bruce County, it wasn’t long before my husband Harvey and I had the chance to sit back and relax on our front porch in Kincardine with him and his lovely wife Donna – catching up on his new role and his family and adjustments to all of that, reflecting on days past and chuckling now and again about the great kidnapping escapade,” remembers Bren de Leeuw, retired Western Canada Operations & Vice President, Community Partnerships & Stakeholder Relations with EMC, during her eulogy at John's recent memorial service.
When John was diagnosed with the very rare Corticobasal Degenerative Disease, he chose to remain active with our Board and as General Manager of Shouldice Designer Stone, continued supporting fellow members and EMC’s initiatives. Once he retired from work and he and his wife Donna moved back to their home area in Brantford, John continued to remain active with EMC and the Board, through to his passing last November.
John’s accomplishments and contributions to Canada’s manufacturing sector are well known to EMC and many of our members. Our personal experience with him as a friend and colleague, is to remember John as a kind and caring individual whom everyone at EMC thought of very highly. We all liked John personally and professionally, and his support and belief in EMC provides a legacy for helping Canadian manufacturers grow and become more competitive.
John’s humble and kind nature opened many doors for these opportunities to flourish, both within his home consortium, as well as planting seeds for growth throughout the sector. The untimely loss of such an important advocate for small-town industry has not only affected his friends at EMC, but all manufacturers across Canada, and leaves a gap that will be difficult to fill.
We are proud that the relationships John helped to forge with EMC and members have remained strong, and the initiatives developed through our partnerships continue to live on today as sustainable resources that benefit all manufacturers.
While a short testimonial cannot capture all that John Evans has done for Canadian manufacturing, we trust this will honour one of the best industry champions we have ever known. A true mark of John's achievements and a tremendous legacy which EMC’s Board-of-Directors, management, staff and members wish to recognize.
A memory from Al Diggins, Board Chair, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium:
John was a very special man in so many ways; it was definitely " family first" all of the time. When we first met and talked about EMC he thought I was from outer space. But once he experienced his first EMC event, he totally embraced EMC's philosophy and became an amazing ambassador to his fellow manufacturers. John took this spirit into various communities as he moved through his career. When we asked him to join the Board of Directors, John became our driving force with his passion for Health and Safety in the workplace and in people's personal lives. His involvement with the Board was inspiring and truly dedicated. When his health issues ensued, we spent hours on the phone. With tears in our eyes he showed inner strength beyond! He indicated he wanted to stay on the BOD and contribute until he couldn't any longer! He was honoured with a lifetime membership on the BOD, and this he treasured.
John’s love for family and friends, his dedication to helping manufacturers get better at what they do and John’s contribution to EMC's BOD were totally beyond reproach! And, his love for Donna was as strong as I have ever seen!
John you will always be our friend in our hearts and I will miss forever!
I know you are in a good place...'save me a good seat'!
Thank you, John, for blessing us with your presence in this world, thank you for being our friend and thank you for helping EMC in countless different ways through hosting, sharing best practices, attending SIG Events and Conferences, participating in our Safety Group and training programs and as a very valued Member of our EMC Board of Directors.
On behalf of our Past President, Al Diggins, Current President, Jean-Pierre Giroux, our EMC Board Members, and our entire staff both past and present, we wish the Evans family the very best. John’s memory will have a special place in our hearts and within our organization.
Rest easy John, and peace be with your family and friends always.