Planes and Trains (but not Automobiles): Building the Canadian Transit Brand with Bombardier

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Everyone is talking transit at Queen’s Park, with huge infrastructure announcements what seems like everyday. That made the timing of our meeting with Pierre Pyun and Alice Trudelle from our sponsor Bombardier especially good! Pierre and Alice took us through the stages of a true Canadian success story, which started out as a small family snowmobile business, and evolved into the transit sector giant that it is today.

Bombardier has become an internationally known and trusted name in rail and air transit, and while it remains proudly Canadian with manufacturing facilities around the country, it has also expanded to locations in other continents, with a major transport HQ in Berlin and 73 other sites across 29 countries. Pierre and Alice candidly shared with us that it has not always been smooth sailing, as Bombardier has struggled to compete in a very competitive global environment, both on the aerospace and the rail side. But with the new C-series Bombardier planes, which have been airborne for the past year, we may be seeing a lot more of the “l’évolution de la mobilité” running the skies.

After flying through Bombardier’s history and the unique challenges of handling government relations for a company that has to consider the connections between its domestic performance and the international market, we continued into a casual conversation on rail transit and where Ontario is headed on that front. As several of our interns lamented, Ontario is woefully behind on extensive, fast rail lines, despite housing a domestic company that services some of the most successful rail transit in the world.

As it always goes with our meetings, too soon we were out of time and we had to bid farewell to our guests and return to our placement offices. Thank you Alice and Pierre for giving us an insider’s look on how Bombardier works, and maybe there is a site visit to your Kingston facility in store for a future cohort!

Remember to return regularly to see our ongoing adventures in the real version of House of Cards.

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Pierre Pyun and Alice Trudelle of Bombardier with the 2016-2017 OLIP Interns

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