Successful companies all have one thing in common: they value their employees just as much as their customers. That fact is certainly true at T2 Utility Engineers, (T2ue), which has a committee dedicated to organizing several employee appreciation events that culminate with an employee appreciation week in June.
The company also fields a hockey team, as well as a cycling team, and it sponsors a pair of employees who are tournament anglers. The anglers, Mark Cavanaugh and Jamie Bradburn, came in seventh among 135 teams,in the 35th annual Canada/U.S. Walleye Tournament this past May, in Bobcaygeon, Ontario.
Hitting the Ice
Of all the team efforts and employee appreciation activities, the T2ue hockey team is the granddaddy of them all, forming shortly after T2ue became a company in 2012.
“It was formed to boost morale and out of a love for hockey,” says Lawrence Arcand, T2ue president and the team manager. “It builds camaraderie and one of the things we like to instill in everyone here is a real team environment. Every employee has the opportunity to participate on these teams and as we work, we are working as one big team and this is another way to reinforce that.”
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Unlike a typical recreation league team, the T2ue squad has a rotating cast of characters based on availability come tournament-time with about the half the members coming from T2 and the remainder are clients or friends and family of employees.
“We really just pull people together for a specific tournament or a game. We have talked about getting together more frequently but we haven’t set anything up yet,” Arcand says. “This is a way for us to have additional time on the ice, get together with colleagues and have some fun together a few times a year.”
As with any sports team, there are rivalries — all friendly — but the strongest has to be with the Region of Durham, Ontario, where T2ue is located. Adding to the regional rivalry is the fact that the region is a T2ue client and there are employees working for the region who are former colleagues.
Hoisting the Cup
Though Arcand did not elaborate on which team won the most recent Region of Durham match-up, he was happy to report that team T2ue won its first tournament in April. The event was the 24th annual engineering hockey tournament sponsored by WSP. The six-team tournament featured consulting firms and municipalities from around the Greater Toronto Area.
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As can be imagined, the entire company — hockey player or not — was excited that T2ue won the WSP tournament. Arcand reports that scores, photos and congratulations were flying around on e-mails and texts before the team even got home from the rink. It also provides great fodder for “water cooler” conversations and Arcand notes that there is a palpable sense of anticipation in the office when the time comes for a tournament or a game. Oh, and it is another avenue for T2ue to build ties with its clients outside of the workplace.
“The trophy from that tournament is being rotated proudly and on display at all of our offices for the year until we have to bring it back to next year’s tournament,” Arcand says. “I think that the hockey team is a great way to boost the morale for those who play on the team, and it also boosts the morale for others in the company who may not play hockey, but like to see that we get involved with charity tournaments and other games, and sometimes even bring home some hardware.”
When the teams are having success — whether on the ice, on the water or on the road — it translates over to the success of the company. Arcand’s hope is that that as T2ue grows more successful as a company, its extra-curricular success stories will follow.
Arcand adds that since hockey is in the blood of all Canadians, having the company team provides a great excuse to get out on the ice and have fun. “Not that you ever need an excuse for that,” he quipped.
Fun for a Cause
As for the charity aspect of the sport, for years T2ue has been a part of the United Way of Durham Region’s SCORE4UnitedWay hockey tournament. United Way of Durham Region bills the event as a, “Weekend of good hockey, good fun and good service to our community.” Proceeds from the event benefit more than 40 charities and 200 programs in the Region.
“I jump at every chance I get to lace up the skates and step on the ice,” Arcand says. “It is even more rewarding when I can do it as part of the T2ue team alongside other colleagues and our clients.”
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Most recently, on the charity front, the T2ue cycling team, of which Arcand is a member, completed the Ride4United Way Gran Fondo for the United Way of Durham Region. Like the hockey tournament, this is a fundraising event, but unlike the hockey tournament, Arcand laced up his biking shoes instead of skates and rode 160 km Aug. 16.
Speaking to both United Way events, Arcand encapsulates all of T2ue’s extracurricular efforts.
“Obviously No. 1 it is a very worthy, local cause and it gives us a win-win opportunity to help a local charity as well as perform a team building event that gets the company together.”