In observance of our 35th anniversary year, this feature is one of a series of tribute articles acknowledging five seminal figures in IVES’ history whose contributions to the company were critical in its creation and continuing success. Each of these notable figures provided vital elements to IVES’ recipe for success and it is upon the shoulders of these five giants that the company was built and still stands today.
Grant Mackenzie came on board with IVES in 1992 and aside from Coin Ives himself, he is probably the single most significant person of the four discussed so far in terms of the effect his contribution had on the growth and long term viability of the company.
Grant’s immediate assets were his innate abilities as a truly masterful trainer and his mechanical/electrical background that paved the way for the creation of the electric powered equipment operator training materials such as the narrow aisle forklift, powered pallet truck and aerial lifts. Later, he would also manage and contribute to the creation of the loader materials.
In addition, Grant’s considerable prowess as a highly organized administrator and project manager was instrumental in accelerating the growth of the company while maintaining a solid, sustainable foundation on which it could truly flourish. His range of high level capabilities gave him the versatility to seamlessly transition between any task that was required, from training to marketing to project management and everything in between – he could do it all. All of which were extremely valuable assets that Colin recognized and rewarded.
Grant quickly climbed the corporate ladder within IVES from Staff Master Trainer to Chief Instructor, Technical Director, Director of Training, and finally, General Manager. Eventually, he took on so much of the company’s technical and administrative load that for the first time in his career, Colin was completely freed up such that he could focus solely on business development and eventually retirement.
“He really was the best of us” says current IVES General Manager Rob Vetter. “He was so knowledgeable and capable yet never harsh or arrogant, and always willing to listen. When I joined the team I thought I knew everything when I actually knew nothing compared to him. He showed me that without ever uttering a negative word or demeaning me. I went on to follow Grant as a trainer and manager and I like to think I did those things pretty well, but everything I accomplished I did while desperately trying to emulate him. I could not have had a better mentor, and I am happy to say he is still my friend today. There really isn’t a single facet of the company that Grant didn’t touch, improve or otherwise have a positive effect on.”
Grant went as far as he could go within the IVES corporate structure and in 2001 he decided to tackle other challenges outside of IVES and retired from the company. He still actively trains and continues to inspire others to this day.
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