Father and son build high technology at Raute Canada

Laura Aronen

What made Jim Kenny to encourage his son Spencer to come to work at Raute? What is it like to build a career as an apprentice?

In April 1992, Jim Kenny began his career with Durand Machine and started as a shop helper. Durand then became Raute Canada twenty-six years later, and Jim’s progressed to the title of Machine Foreman. 

“A friend of mine worked here in Hydraulics and informed me that Raute was hiring.  I strengthened my skill set by going through an apprenticeship program. I worked 10 years as a machinist and then returned to Raute in 2010 after a leave to run the machine shop. Six months ago, I was promoted to Machine Shop Foreman.”, Jim recaps his work history at Raute. 

“The typical day at the shop starts with a ‘Toolbox Meeting’. We go through the recent safety instructions, workload, and what to expect for the day. In the machine shop, we work closely together with engineering. My main duty is to organize the work tasks. There are currently 13 of us in the machinery department.”

 “Over the years, machining has become more challenging and complex. Technology has of course developed a lot and is CNC controlled nowadays.” 

Following his father's footsteps

In 2018, it was time for the younger Kenny to join the company. By that time, a 15-year-old Spencer was still in high school and was desperate for money to buy his dream car. That’s when his father Jim encouraged Spencer to join Raute to earn the money for his car. At first, Spencer started part-time over the summer months as a ‘Sweeper’.

 “As a ‘Sweeper’ you get to taste a bit of everything. Raute offers the possibility to see all the different functions; electricity, millwrighting, and machinery”, Spencer describes his first experiences at Raute.

Spencer (left) and Jim Kenny.

Currently, Spencer works at Raute as a Millwright and is taking his Red Seal at the same time as an apprentice. 

“To get Red Sealed, you go to school full time for 7 weeks out of the year along with 8700 hours and testing.  Once that is done, I work full-time. You get full pay and are also reimbursed for the cost of the courses. You pay in advance and get your money back when you pass and get the certificate. That creates great motivation. Raute has been able to rocket my career which I am really grateful for.” 

“Another nice thing about Raute is the variety. You get to work with different things and even work with service repairs for local companies. On top of that, the company offers stability”, describes Spencer. 

Unlike his father, Spencer found millwrighting more interesting than the machine shop and decided to pursue his Red Seal. “One time we had a shortage in our fabrication department. They were like ‘Hey, you painted your Camaro, come rescue us!’. So, I helped for a while in painting. It is truly great to be able to learn and utilize different kinds of skills in your work and in your free time when working on projects at home.” 

Spencer and his famous Camaro.

Working together 

For both, father and son, the best thing about working at Raute are the people.  

“Work atmosphere is really good and people are getting along. We also do stuff outside work; like Christmas party, having a barbeque, or going to watch baseball games”, both Jim and Spencer recall. 

 “You need everyone’s contributions to complete a project successfully and you get to work with a variety of people in different departments”, shares Jim.