Trent Gervais is in the right business, at the right time.
Gervais is the President and CEO of The Loomex Group, which is comprised of three divisions, Loomex Aviation and Aerospace, Loomex Education and Compliance and Loomex Infrastructure and Asset Management.
Gervais said the Peterborough-based Aviation and Aerospace firm has had a unique opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide emergency management consulting to several First Nation and Indigenous Communities.
“We’re managing pandemic response for three first nations communities in Ontario,” Gervais said. “We’re also helping the municipalities adapt and work through their (pandemic) response. And now that everyone is preparing for a possible second wave, what we’re doing in these communities is holding debriefings with key stakeholders. We’re looking at what worked and what didn’t, so we can get ready for Round 2 (a potential second COVID-19 wave).”
“Our business model has always been: Just be nice,” Gervais explains as he laughs. “Our staff have stepped up and they’re always dedicated and hardworking but they’ve put in that extra work in this season. How cool is it to go into these First Nation communities and make a difference? To be able to go in and give them advice on something they’d never dream they’d ever be dealing with because they didn’t have the training or experience. I strongly believe that we’ve been able to step up and enhance what we’re already offering. We’ve learned a lot from it.”
After the debriefings with these First Nations communities and municipalities, The Loomex Group produces an Action Report which becomes a historical document that they can pick up again in months, years, or decades later when another similar threat emerges. Then from an Action Report document, Gervais and his team then create a Pandemic Plan.
A Pandemic Plan is then used by clients like First Nation communities and municipalities with actionable procedures.
“We can use these documents to look at the threat and look at how it impacted our community last time,” Gervais explained.
“When COVID-19 hit, the Emergency Management department (which teach organizations, municipalities, airports, hospitals emergency management best practices across Canada) sat down to strategize…as we’re teaching them how to prepare for this very thing.”
The Loomex Group manages seven airports across Canada.
“We had to sit down with these airports and help them plan and adapt for what the airport business was going to look like through COVID-19,’ he explained.
Gervais said The Loomex Group was set to do close to 20 different exercises in the Spring, pre-COVID-19, that were all put on hold.
Every certified airport in Canada has to do an emergency exercise every year, which The Loomex Group will help these airports complete and prepare for. After COVID-19 broke out, Transport Canada announced an 18-month grace period for airports to complete these emergency exercises.
“Most airports have lost 80-90% of their sales,” he said. “Although we have some left to do, many have been deferred to next year. That business hasn’t gone away, we just won’t see those revenues for another year.”
The Loomex Group quickly shifted their focus to another product line, that they knew was sponsored by government money.
“We started looking at what was essential and what our clients had to have. The end result was, we ended up getting a ton of work in that division,” Gervais said.
The Loomex Group usually fly across Canada to provide training on a number of courses, that was another adaption made on the fly.
“We quickly had to flip to the virtual world like everybody else. We have courses that we were delivering over a 2-day period in person, where we now have to adapt and flip them to virtual. It’s a good business decision for a lot of these communities that can’t afford to bring us to a northern, remote community,” Gervais explained.
“What this pandemic has allowed us to do is really enhance what we already offer and provide more options.”