About HRS Industrial Contracting

Mike Hupman, owner of HRS, has always wanted to know “how machines work,” and how to fix them.  The establishment of HRS Industrial Contracting in January 2013, represents the culmination of his life-long fascination with all things mechanical, and his sheer determination to succeed. Mike and his wife Beth manage this family-run business from their base in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

Gaining Experience and Certification

Mike began his mechanical career in 1979 as an automotive apprentice at Mick’s Auto in Liverpool. In 1986, Mike began working at (then) Bowater Mersey, a pulp and paper mill, located in Brooklyn (just outside of Liverpool, Nova Scotia).  It was at Bowater that he learned the trade of industrial mechanics. The mill, with its specialized, large-scale equipment that processed raw wood into finished paper products, provided ample opportunities to learn all aspects of industrial equipment installation, troubleshooting, maintenance and repair.

During these 8 years at Bowater, he earned his industrial mechanic’s (millwright) certification, and was promoted to maintenance planner. In that role, Mike planned/oversaw the paper mill equipment maintenance. The mechanical department consisted of 100+ tradesmen, with seven trades foreman.

Stepping into Entrepreneurship

In 1994, he purchased and ran a small radiator shop in Hebbville, Nova Scotia. There, he built a reputation for great customer service and satisfaction. He grew the business into a full-service automotive repair facility.  Eventually the business became a Napa Autopro outlet.

In 2010, the economy in Nova Scotia (and elsewhere) took a downward turn and Mike found it necessary to look for formal employment. And once again, he found a job at Bowater Mersey Mill, which by then, had been bought by Resolute Forest Products. Back at the mill, Mike was, as before, performing mill maintenance.

Global demand for paper had been in steady decline for years, leading many to be concerned about the future of the Resolute Forest Products operation. At the end of  2011,  Mike left the employ of the mill, amid rumours of impending closure.

In early 2012, Mike drew upon his millwright and managerial skills to open an industrial maintenance business, under the name of Hebbville Radiator Contracting. This business employed a handful of skilled and experienced tradesmen.

During early 2012, Mike was still working at the mill site, but this time as a sub-contractor for firms such as Black and McDonald, and Ashland Canada. These companies were contracted by Resolute to undertake equipment disassembly and removal. (See descriptions of the work we completed during this time on our Projects page.)

Closure of Resolute Forest Products (Bowater Mersey)

In June 2012, the mill did formally close, much to the distress of the entire community. The mill had been operating in the community for over 80 years, and was a key economic driver in Queens County, and beyond.

The economic shock hit many businesses on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, including Mike’s business.  Mike had to downsize his employees to just 2 men, finding work for them at the radiator shop in Hebbville.

Laying the Groundwork for HRS Industrial Contracting

Looking for opportunities to grow their struggling business, Beth and Mike decided to earn their safety certifications through the program offered by the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association (NSCSA).

Once certified with NSCSA, Beth and Mike developed a safety training program for their employees. Now HRS Industrial, with their safety-trained employees, was in a position to grow, providing a future for Mike and Beth, and their employees.

Through the remainder of 2012, Mike and a small crew of men continued to maintain the mill, now under the management of Renova Scotia Bioenergy Inc.

HRS Industrial Contracting Established!

In January of 2013, HRS Industrial Contracting was formally established. Mike and Beth continue to expand their business, taking on bigger and more complex jobs. At times, Mike and Beth have employed up to 35 local people, and have been able generate new work for local sub-contractors.

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