New manager announced for Lafarge Exshaw Cement Plant

Sep 12, 2018 | Plant News

Kate Strachan has been named the new Plant Manager of Lafarge Exshaw, assuming the position in the beginning of June. In her new role, Strachan will oversee the production process, ensure stringent health and safety standards and monitor environmental performance of Canada’s largest cement plant.

We have chosen a very strong leader for the plant. Kate was selected through a competitive process and brings an excellent production track record and proven background building high performance teams. She has a collaborative leadership style and she will be a trusted community partner.Brad Kohl, CEO Western Canada

Kate has been Production Manager with the Exshaw plant since 2016, following a year-long role managing the transition team for the recent modernization project. She is the first female Plant Manager at Exshaw and the only woman currently running a cement plant for Lafarge Canada.

“Lafarge has been preparing me for this opportunity for 18 years. I earned it through hard work, determination, a solid technical background and a familiarity of community issues,” said Kate. “We plan to remain a proud community supporter, a key industry in the region, a safety-first organization—business goes on.”

Kate’s dad was a marine engineer from Manchester, England. When she was younger he brought her on boats for ship inspections. She also helped him work on motorcycles. You could say being an engineer was her calling.

Strachan, who lives in Canmore with her husband and 6-year old son, graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Victoria. She started with Lafarge 18 years ago with the Richmond B.C. Cement Plant. After nine years in engineering, she became Production Manager in Sugar Creek, Missouri. She moved back to Canada to work in Exshaw after Lafarge sold the Sugar Creek plant.

“My first focus is running the largest cement plant in Canada. We have operational targets we need to hit to make sure our customers get their product,” she said. “As an organization, we will continue to look at our operations to make sure we have the right people in the right roles. We will look for ways to do better, environmentally and economically; improving emissions and managing dust.”

Jim Bachmann’s tenure as Plant Manager officially ended at the end of June after five years, as he completed his expatriate contract with Lafarge. Former Quarry Manager, John Boyt, also completed his expat assignment and returned to Lafarge operations in the U.S. in April. To lead the quarry team, Lafarge hired longtime Bow Valley local Scott Casslemen, a 17-year Exshaw Plant employee.

“Jim was a great manager and mentor. He did countless amounts of work bridging the community and industry, and a lot of great work with the plant,” says Kate. “I wish him the best and I know he wants the same for me. I’m excited, I know how much of a responsibility this is. I believe in my people, my team.”