Shannon Warren, the President and CEO of Matrix Labour Leasing, Discusses Align and Buildex

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  • Shannon Warren, the President and CEO of Matrix Labour Leasing, Discusses Align and Buildex

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. My name is Shannon Warren, I’m the President and CEO of Matrix Labour Leasing, one of the fastest-growing staffing agency for Alberta’s blue-collar workforce, based in Calgary.

I built this company from nothing ­– actually it started in my basement – because of experiences I’d had as a blue-collar worker. I learned first what not to do as a leader, because I saw how it affected my work-life balance in a really negative way. Specifically:

  • I was living through seeing my income fluctuate all the time and,
  • I was dealing with disorganized management structures.


I saw the effect that all that had on staff retention in my industry, as well as the impact it all had on the quality of work that came from people in this kind of position. This inspired me to start an employee-centric labour supply company that put my people first. Happy staff do better work and create happier clients.

13 years and 65 million dollars later, we have grown, but our roots remain intact. As we expand, every decision references our pioneering mandate:

How do we build a best in class organization that people gravitate towards. How do we build a culture employees feel privileged to be a part of regardless of oil prices, labour supply and demand?

When you’re starting up, you’re re-using paper clips to save money on office supplies. Money is tight and every penny counts. As you expand, your focus shifts to where you should be spending your money. Do you invest in real estate? Infrastructure? Technology? Marketing? The answer is yes. You invest in all of those. That’s what we did at least.

Today I’m here to talk to you about two investments that I strongly believe in.

The first, is Matrix Connect. We’ve successfully built a social media platform that not only connects workers to employers in a friendlier way, it also connects people to other people. It has a lot of social features like the ability to comment on job postings and send messages to other people, but the most important part is that Connect makes it really, really simple to see the job postings that are best suited to each person, and lets them apply with the click of a button. Think of it as an aggregation of best practices from Indeed, LinkedIN and the other online job sites in the market, but more social. This felt like a natural expansion to what we do, based on our core values of streamlining the hiring process for our employees, as well as for employers. In the end, it’s so much easier for employees to apply to the jobs that suit them, and it’s easier for employers to screen for the most qualified applicants. I strongly believe that this is the future of labour placement. Period.

Next, I’m really excited to report that we’ve partnered up with Patricia Forrest a veteran in multiple facets of indigenous placement in Alberta’s Oil and Gas Industry to form Align Staffing. Patricia will be steering this initiative as CEO and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback and requests for proposals to supply Indigenous craft labour throughout the province. With the uncertainty in oil prices, access to real-time labour placement in both oil and gas as well as construction is both economically viable and strategic to navigate through these tumultuous times. Align’s values have been calculatively designed to mirror ours. Like Matrix, Align pre-screens employees, and a lot of focus is put on safety and training including more than 80 hours of mandatory pre-training and testing prior to commencement of fieldwork. Environmental responsibility and wildlife awareness is also a core value for our new organization.

My experience tells me that future, efficiency and efficacy of labour placement will be heavily dependant on horizontal integration. Through our investments in technologies, acquisitions and syndications expect faster turnarounds, better pricing and less overhead in staffing in both construction and oil and gas. This will be Matrix’s commitment and difference.

Thank you. 


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