Canada's Leading Defence Magazine

Search

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT – Marshall Canada

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT – Marshall Canada

BY JAMES CARELESS

Marshall Land Systems Canada General Manager, Stephen Isaacs, welcoming visitors to the grand opening of the new production facility in Moncton, NB

MARSHALL CANADA

Expanding to Support Canada

In business for over a century, Marshall Group is a family-owned UK company of diverse engineering skills — doing everything from building Britain’s first refrigerated food truck to creating the iconic ‘drop nose’ of the Concorde supersonic jetliner.

Marshall Canada has been in operation since 2006. “Here in Canada, we do a mix of engineering services on the aerospace side, plus we produce custom-built truck-carried containers and pods, vehicle solutions, and engineering solutions on the land side for the army,” said Sam Michaud, EVP of Marshall Canada. “Recently, we have reorganized Marshall Canada into three business units: Land Systems, Aerospace, and our Marshall Skills Academy.” The company is headquartered in Ottawa, with its Land Systems business and Skills Academy in New Brunswick, and its Aerospace business in BC. With locations across the country, it’s no wonder Marshall Group views Canada as it’s second home market.

INVESTING IN LAND SYSTEMS

Marshall Canada’s Land Systems business has already made its mark in Canada, having supplied four kinds of loadbeds for the Canadian Army’s 800 Medium Support Vehicle System – Standard Military Pattern (MSVS-SMP) trucks, plus ancillary equipment for 1,500 other vehicles. However, the company sees many more sales opportunities for its products here and abroad — particularly its truck-mounted containers and pods that can be custom-configured for command, communications, medical, and other functions.

This is why Marshall Canada has just opened a brand new 82,000 sq. ft. production facility in Moncton, New Brunswick, to support the Land Systems business in the build/supply of specialist containers and operational infrastructure to the domestic and international markets. Marshall Group is now fulfilling a contract for the Dutch Armed Forces (Defensiebrede Vervanging Operationele Wielvoertuigen) to provide it with 1,400 truck-mounted container systems. These containers will fulfill functions such as Command and Control shelters, workshops, and controlled atmosphere/basic storage units, backed by an initial 14-year fully integrated availability support package.

“Our customizable containers look a lot like 20-foot shipping containers, because armies like things that can be moved in a modular fashion and set up anywhere in the world,” Michaud told CDR. “The reason we chose Moncton for this new facility is because we wanted easy access to logistic nodes to move material in and out of the country, because we’re going to be supporting a lot of export work. We also wanted access to the kind of skilled workforce that you can find here in Moncton: When you look at the capabilities that Marshall Canada provides, it’s typically at the very high end of the capability set — high quality, durable, extremely flexible and multi-mission/ multi-environment capable. It’s not just a shipping container that’s been painted green. We need skilled people who can handle this kind of work.”

Worth noting: When Marshall Canada builds a customized container for the Canadian Army or an international client, it comes with everything that the customer needs. “If we build

a mobile workshop, it comes with all of the necessary machinery and tools inside,” Michaud said. “If it’s a Command and Control; centre, it comes with the servers and communications equipment already in place.”

“Bidding for the LVM contract is one of the most exciting things we have on the go right now,” says Michaud

THE LVM POWER TEAM 

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is in the process of acquiring its next generation of mobile ground equipment through the Logistics Vehicle Modernization Project (LVM). According to the federal government website Canada.ca, “The Logistics Vehicle Modernization project will acquire new fleets of light and heavy logistics vehicles, trailers, vehicle modules, and armour protection kits. These vehicles are used by the CAF to transport personnel, equipment, and supplies in support of operations at home and abroad. They will also transport modules that can be used as spaces for functions such as cargo space, troop lift, ambulances, workshops, and command posts.”

One of the bidders for the LVM contract is known as ‘The Power Team’. Marshall Canada is a member of this team, along with General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, Mercedes-Benz, SOFRAME and Manac. They are proposing the NATO-fielded Mercedes-Benz Zetros Truck as a common platform for the LVM’s Light, Heavy, and Tractor configurations.

“The LVM is going to replace the Canadian Army’s fleets of light trucks and heavy trucks,” said Michaud. “If the Power Team wins the contract, Marshall Canada will be providing all of the backend infrastructure for the trucks; the load beds and the containerized solutions.”

Bidding for the LVM contract is “one of the most exciting things we have on the go right now.,” he added. “We are really excited to be partnered up with General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, which is the Canadian Army’s provider of choice for wheeled vehicles. The lineage, expertise and credibility that GDLS-C has with the CAF is without peer in Canada. So, we’re really happy that they selected us for the backend infrastructure along with Mercedes-Benz with their excellent fleet of vehicles.”

Pursuing the LVM contract and opening its new facility in Moncton aligns with two key Marshall Canada values. “First, we want to bring a capability to the Canadian Armed Forces and our international clients that they can rely on; that is dependable, affordable, and offers a long life cycle because of its durability. The second part, which is strategically important for this country, is to bring more value to the Canadian economy. The way we’ve built our supply chain for the LVM provides a number of benefits to vendors and the industrial base in the eastern half of the country.”

AEROSPACE

For the past 17 years, Marshall Canada’s Aerospace business has been providing design and support services out of its facilities in Abbotsford, BC. In Canadian military circles, the company is best known for its support of the RCAF’s CC-130H Hercules Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft, as a subcontractor under the Primary Air Vehicle Optimized Weapons System Management (PAV OWSM) program.

In this capacity, Marshall Canada provides engineering and technical support for the Hercules SAR aircraft, along with designs for modifications aimed at keeping these aircraft robust and ready for service. The aerospace business provides similar support services to other aircraft operators as well.

At CANSEC 2023 in Ottawa, Marshall Canada announced its intention to establish an aircraft maintenance facility here, to complement its existing in-country aerospace engineering business. Although a final location has not been determined, the company is leaning towards Abbotsford for this facility, with the goal of starting operations by the end of 2025.

“Marshall has been operating a very successful aerospace business in Canada since 2006 so opening an aircraft maintenance facility is a natural next step, enabling us to provide a greater level of support to our growing global customer base,” said Marshall CEO, Kathy Jenkins, at the time.

“Last March, Kathy and I spoke about the benefits of investing in Canada — and today it’s terrific to see that Canada has been chosen as Marshall’s investment destination!” said Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development. “It is thanks to our Canada-UK trade partnership that international economic opportunities like this one are so successful. I look forward to seeing Marshall grow in Canada.”

Sam Michaud points to Marshall Canada’s support of the RCAF’s CC-130Hs as their Aerospace business’ bread-and-butter. The secret of their success? “Marshall’s been working with Lockheed Martin, which is the original equipment manufacturer of the Hercules, for over 50 years now,” he told CDR. “As a result, we have a long-term, very close partnership with one of the world’s top foremost aerospace companies. We’re very proud of that close relationship and, in fact, we are the biggest provider of support to the Hercules fleet outside of Lockheed Martin themselves.”

Marshall Canada builds customized containers for the Canadian Army which fulfill functions such as Command and Control shelters, workshops, and controlled atmosphere/basic storage units

TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION 

As anyone who needs skilled staff will tell you, good help is hard to find these days. The ongoing retirement of the Baby Boomers, a shortage of younger skilled workers to take their places, and demand from other industries for the best employees, has tilted the labour market to the sellers’ advantage.

Fortunately, finding the next generation of skilled workers by training — and paying! — them is a longstanding tradition for Marshall. The company first started training apprentices back in 1920 to support its Marshall Motor Holdings division. Marshall then expanded into flight training in 1929, aircraft apprentices during the 1940s, and refrigerated truck training in the 1970s. By the turn of the millennium, Marshall was providing training in additional areas such as maintaining the Lockheed Martin Hercules for the UK Ministry of Defence to modular medical services for Britain’s National Health Service.

In 2022, Marshall rebranded its training activities under the ‘Marshall Skills Academy’ banner, and moved to bring it to Canada. On March 21, 2023, Marshall Canada announced plans to introduce the Skills Academy model in New Brunswick, by offering an initial suite of apprentice-style “earn as you learn” training programs later this same year to address the looming skills gap in manufacturing and engineering in this province.

According to a March 21, 2023 news release from Marshall Canada, these programs are being run as a five-year pilot project in partnership between Marshall Skills Academy Canada, New Brunswick Community College, and the University of New Brunswick Saint John. They are being backed by close to $7 million in support from the Government of New Brunswick.

The first Marshall Canada Skills Academy courses are being targeted to high school students, underrepresented groups in the industry, and people changing careers. Successful applicants will be employed by industry from the outset. They will take part in an initial block of learning at the start of each academic year, followed by a schedule of four days per week at work and one day in class at either of the supporting higher education institutions. The first group of students entered the Academy in September, 2023.

The best part: Marshall Canada Skills Academy participants have the opportunity to achieve fully funded qualifications, obtain relevant work experience, and earn salaries while receiving full support throughout their journey. At the same time, participating organisations will grow their own talent pool with support from highly regarded education providers.

Four distinct programs will be delivered under the five-year partnership. They are:

• Manufacturing Essentials (Micro-credential): An eight-week course giving a basic introduction to several trades and opportunities to build employability skills.

• Advanced Manufacturing Diploma: An 18-month course leading to a certificate at the technician level. There is also a three-year option leading to a diploma at the technologist level.

• Bachelor of Applied Technology (Industrial): Participants complete a combination of in-person and virtual learning as well as tracking their on-the-job learning.

• Masters in systems engineering (Industrial): This course is aimed at domestic and international graduates who have completed an applicable bachelor’s degree. International graduates will participate in a residential settling-in period for six weeks prior to the start of term.

Student enrollment over the five-year pilot project is planned to reach 454 in total, across the four programs.

But can such an industry-led approach to skills training really work? According to Sam Michaud, it already has. “Our UK parent company has trained over 20,000 different apprentices over the last 100 years,” he said. “In fact, our Aerospace business’ General Manager Lee Kitson started out as an entry-level Marshall apprentice, and has worked his way up through various Marshall training programs.”

Michaud added that the people being trained by the Marshall Canada Skills Academy will be available for hire by other companies, whether they belong to the Marshall Canada supply chain or not. “What we do is provide training to bring the entire industrial base skills base up in the region,” he said. “We hold job fairs where people off the street can see the different companies taking part in the Academy, pick the fit that makes sense to them and enter the program right then and there. We’re just starting with the first level this year, but over time all four levels will come on stream and allow people at any level to register.”

All told, Marshall Canada is poised to have a profound impact on this country’s aerospace, land systems, and skills training sectors. And given their parent company’s long history, one thing is certain: Marshall Canada is here for the long haul.

James Careless is CDR’s Ottawa Bureau Chief

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Please fill out the following information to be added to our newsletter distribution list.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Name
=