Battleshield - it’s only just beginning

http://www.prescott-russell.on.ca/affaires/developpement_economique/histoire___succ_s/battleshield_-_ce_n_est_qu_un_d_but
Luc Thibault, founder and owner of Battleshield, with a fire truck and an employee, in its garage, in the background
Where and how things are made has always been a fascinating topic.

In the age of consumerism, where most of the things we use on a daily basis are made somewhere far, far away, learning that something is made right here, in our backyard is always special… Not to mention a source of pride.

That being said, have you ever wondered where fire trucks are made?

The answer is: right here, in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.

Battleshield Industries Limited, located in the Vars Industrial Park (a few steps away from Embrun), prides itself on being “your fire equipment one-stop-shop”. The family-owned business manufactures custom fire trucks - on top of offering top-notch service around the clock.

“It all started with service. I was by myself, in my basement and drove around in my pick-up truck to do repairs and testing,” said Luc Thibault, founder and owner of Battleshield.

Since its official creation back in 2012, Battleshield has grown so consistently that it was forced to move to bigger and bigger quarters every single year.

“When we moved to our current location, we effectively doubled the size of our last facility. Now, eight months later, our shop is full and already running at full capacity. We’re currently expanding to 1.5x times the space we have and just purchased the adjacent lot to expand even more in the near future,” said Thibault.

When visiting Battleshield’s shop, the first thing one would notice is the fire trucks. Some are being repaired and others custom-built. That’s not where Battleshield’s expertise ends, however.

The company and the team’s experience, drive and know-how have allowed them to work with various law enforcement agencies and fire departments located in both Ontario and Québec.

“We’re all about service. Our warranties are longer and we are available 24-7 for our clients. Half the team are firemen, myself included, so we know what it’s like,” said Thibault.

Custom-built success

One of Battleshield’s important milestones was undoubtedly their first demonstrator fire truck.

Once completed, Thibault’s first custom-built fire truck was on its way to Campbell’s Bay, in Québec. This endeavour also allowed Battleshield to arm itself with all the necessary certifications to become a manufacturer of emergency services vehicles.

Today, Thibault and his team’s certifications place Battleshied Industries Limited in one of the top manufacturers out of all of Canada’s fire truck industry.

“These days, we build between 20 and 25 fire trucks a year. Building time is similar to pregnancy, with a nine-month gestation period,” said Thibault.

Local pride

Thibault and Battleshield have always been local.

“I’m from Embrun - 4th generation. We’ve always been in the area.”

Today, Battleshield employs 27 people and can still be found in Vars, near Embrun, in the 417 Industrial Park.

“Being in Prescott and Russell is great, especially for networking. I know most of my provincial, federal and Chamber of Commerce representatives. We’ve received help from an economic development standpoint. Also, everyone’s proud of our success, so it was always easy to gain support when it was time to grow and move on to the next step. Geographically, I couldn’t ask for more. Most of our daily needs are met through local suppliers and for the specific, specialized items, we have Ottawa.”

It seems Battleshield’s success story is far from over. Currently, the company is maintaining over 350 fire trucks on a regular basis. According to Thibault, the team expects to triple its growth over the next year.

Anyone curious about this fascinating company would do well to visit their website, or simply drop by for a visit - you’ll definitely be greeted with a smile!