August 26, 2022
Gescan welcomes Stuart MacDonald to the newly created role of Director, Industrial Sales. With more than 25 years of experience, Stuart is known for his abilities in negotiation, operations management, strategic planning and execution, coaching, and sales and marketing. In his new role, Stuart will be working to grow Gescan’s capabilities and presence in the Industrial Automation and Controls sector. “The vision for achieving growth is to create a self-sufficient team. The goal is to be able to understand our customers and provide the right products,” said Stuart.
A non-linear career
Stuart graduated from Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 1992 with a major in Economics but was always more interested in technology. In 2002, a diploma in Applied Technology from the Arts Institute helped him progress in this direction. In 2014, he also did a series of management courses at UBC Sauder.
Stuart’s academic background, previous jobs and life experiences have profoundly influenced his non-linear career. “From having kids to my first Ironman to climbing mountains, they all shape who I am,” said Stuart. While grateful for how much he learned about marketing and business during his five years working for Molson, his heart was still keen on finding better use of technology to improve business. So, he set out to do just that.
Since then, Stuart has managed technical sales and support teams for some of the industry’s largest electrical distributors. While working for a major construction products and equipment wholesale distributor, he and his team even won the first-ever Bradley Cup (awarded by Allen Bradley to the top-performing distributor in North America) awarded in Canada. “The credit for the win goes to the team. I was happy to receive it as the district manager, but those guys are the ones who worked for it,” said Stuart, who bagged the award in 2018 for the BC sales region.
Chasing challenges & solutions
Stuart chases solutions but expects to find challenges as an unavoidable part of the game. “I like challenges where outcomes are unknown. I don’t mind failing if I try something new. I find it very satisfying when I can figure something out,” said Stuart.
Driven by health and happiness, Stuart also likes to keep a healthy quotient of fun at the workplace. “At the end of the day, we are all here to do something valuable. We are here to find solutions to hurdles and move forward. But we are all here also to live our best lives,” said Stuart.
“Knowledge in the IT space is key.”
The industrial trend is moving towards using data to optimize processes. “Knowledge in the IT space is key to being successful in the OT (operational technology) space,” Stuart explained.
Automation processes are nimble, and reporting and recording data for optimization is crucial. “There’s often this fight because of security. How data gets used and monitored is a big part of the journey,” said Stuart. He added, “With our focus on ICT and Industrial Automation, Gescan is in a great position to support customers along this path.”
“Goals are good, but they should not be revenue based alone. It is my goal to help build Gescan’s portfolio to be a real (industrial) end-to-end distributor,” said Stuart.
“We have a great opportunity to make lives easier by delivering what the customer wants,” added Stuart. “Gescan is known to be a well-organized company, well advanced in their digital journey, and our industrial customers will benefit from our investments in technology.”
Know your product
The award-winning director’s important advice for those looking to progress in this industry, “Know your product and applications very well. Learn what interests you. If you have a passion for a field, you need to understand and dig into the details. The more you know, the more valuable you are to customers, suppliers, and users.”
Outside of Gescan, Stuart is an Ironman, a mountain biker and a guitar strummer. “I live in North Vancouver. I can go right out of my back door and be in the best mountain biking places in the world, so it’s the kind of thing you want to be part of in the neighbourhood,” he said.
What’s the best life advice Stuart ever received? “Make sure you enjoy the day because it goes fast,” a total stranger and a senior Ironman participant told him.