By Kate Watson
Do you drive along Ochterloney Street? Walk through the Alderney Landing Ferry Terminal? Buy your groceries at Sobeys?
Then, although you’re probably not aware of it, you’re very familiar with the work of Mattatall Signs.
Mattatall Signs is one of the largest sign companies in Atlantic Canada. More than 30 people are employed in the 20,000 sq ft. facility on Ilsley Avenue in Burnside, designing, manufacturing and installing a wide range of sign products. The factory boasts state-of-the-art equipment, and is one of only two companies in Atlantic Canada capable of producing braille and tactile text signs.
And while Mattatall Signs is definitely an industry leader, thanks to President Robert Mattatall’s strong belief in giving back, the company works hard to be a leader in the community, as well. One way they do this is by hosting students from local high schools in a job shadowing program.
Justin Boudreau, the company’s Director of Finance and Administration, recently took the time to walk me through some of the things students learn when visiting Mattatall Signs.
“We’re involved with the 02 program [Read more about it here],” explains Boudreau. “We get a lot of great kids coming in who want to work with their hands.”
While the majority of students arrive wanting to know about the graphic design element of sign making, Boudreau makes sure they get exposed to all the other career opportunities the industry offers.
“We have a little presentation that talks about the different departments: production, art, graphics, installation, sales and finance and administration. They usually want me to skip quickly through the finance and administration part,” he adds, with a laugh.
Students get the opportunity to see the elements of sign production in action in all the departments.
Boudreau says that part of the thrust of working with young students is in keeping people employed locally. “There is no signage fabrication pool at college. This is our way of helping to grow the work force.
“I think it opens a lot of eyes to the fact that Burnside is a vast place and so much of what people see and use in Atlantic Canada comes from right here in Dartmouth.”