by Heidi Riley
A changing global climate has produced the right business climate for a new Island franchise that will be looking to hire as demand for its weatherproofing products grows.
In March 2020, business partners Conner Reid and Oliver Tweel opened a franchise with Calgary-based Weatherskin, a Canadian company that manufactures, sells, and installs weatherproofing products for the construction industry. Conner says the eco-friendly line of coatings, which are made in Calgary, save builders and renovators time and money, and have less impact on the environment.
The coatings, which can be any colour, can be sprayed on vinyl, wood, shingles, concrete, and other surfaces, extending the life of buildings and structures. Epoxy coatings are also available.
The benefits of their products go beyond the surface. “On one job in Charlottetown, we removed almost 25,000 pounds of rock and stone from a roof, which took a lot of weight stress off the structure,” he says. “We replaced the black tar roof with a coating that reflects the sun, which will also save on cooling costs in the summer.
“The coatings bond seamlessly to metal roof joints and stretch as a building settles, which prevents costly leaks. They are also resistant to mould, mildew and radon gas.” Conner adds that unlike conventional weatherproofing coatings, their products do not produce harmful fumes or leach chemicals into the soil.
He admits he second-guessed himself when COVID-19 shut down the country almost immediately after the franchise opened. But reaction from the industry has been positive.
“We are starting to work closely with developers, and they are seeing the value of the products and the time savings,” says Conner. “We can spray a foundation in six hours, which would take a week using conventional construction techniques.”
The fact that the company is Canadian is another selling feature. “We don’t have to depend on overseas shipments. And we can speak directly to the chemists in Calgary who manufacture the products and immediately get an answer to any questions we have.”
The business, located in Stratford, operates year-round. Exterior work is scheduled for spring, summer, and fall, and interior jobs can be done at any time of the year.
“Oliver has years of knowledge of working with epoxy coatings,” says Conner. “He knows the products through and through, how they need to be applied, and how to prepare the substrate before we get started.”
Originally from New Brunswick, Conner started thinking about a career change while working as a Pipefitter in Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
“I saw that the oil industry was seeing many challenges, and that renewable resources were becoming more prevalent. I am 33 years old, and the environmental changes I have seen in the last 15 years are undeniable. I wanted to work with a product that is eco-friendly. With Weatherskin products, I can feel proud of what I am doing.”
After speaking to a Weatherskin franchise owner in New Brunswick, Conner visited the headquarters in Calgary and liked what he saw.
“The capabilities are endless. There is nothing we can’t coat and protect, other than silicone. Our products protect your biggest investments: your house, your barn, and your business.”
He also hopes the company’s products will help preserve the province’s historical buildings. “There is so much history on this Island,” he says. “I wanted to bring something here that can keep our historical buildings standing for another hundred years.”
“We are anticipating a very busy year, and we are looking to hire,” says Conner. “We are looking for general Labourers who are interested in the construction industry, take pride in their work, and wish to grow. We want people who are willing to work and to find the right solution for each problem.”
The company is also looking for skilled Labourers with some experience in the coating industry, such as painters and concrete installers.
“People with extensive knowledge of epoxy, membranes, and coatings are extremely hard to find, but we are willing to train. If someone comes to us with no experience but is willing to learn and grow, we would like to give them an opportunity.”
Employees should be comfortable with heights, because they could be up on roofs, scaffolding, booms, or scissor lifts. The company offers training and certifications in the skills needed. Some heavy lifting of up to 50 pounds may be required, but most of the equipment is on wheels.
“I would love for someone to reach out on Instagram or Facebook to ask if we could have a conversation,” says Conner. “I love talking about the business, and I love showing people what we do.”
To apply, email a resumé to [email protected] or search for Weatherskin on Instagram or Facebook.