It might sound counterintuitive to say that, for an IT services firm, technological savvy isn’t the most important management trait. But for Nucleus Networks CEO Martin DesRosiers, it has proved true.
DesRosiers said it is more important to have the right people skills, combined with qualities like drive and passion, to achieve success in the IT field.
“We can always teach the tech stuff, but it’s really hard to teach the attitude and interpersonal skills,” said Des-Rosiers, who joined Nucleus as its 12th employee in 2013. “Those skills can be refined, but it really is about building good relationships and having people trust you. Show people you are passionate about what you do, and people will rally around that.”
Since that time, Nucleus has grown to a team of 60-plus professionals, and DesRosiers himself has moved up to become CEO and an equity partner in the firm. Nucleus now has offices in Vancouver and Toronto, and full-time resources in Victoria and Montreal to support the IT needs of more than 100 companies across Canada.
For DesRosiers, Nucleus’ focus on culture is vital to spurring growth, by motivating employees to operate at an optimum level and by attracting and keeping customers through better service.
“We won a lot of awards regarding our culture, and it’s all about having camaraderie and being a team,” he said. “It’s like a giant sports team – at the end of the day, we are all just humans working towards the same goal, and it’s important to have core values, a brand promise and vision. It is also important for people to know what they are. Why are we coming to work every day at Nucleus? It’s important to know those things.”
DesRosiers’ emphasis on workplace culture has been formed by his extensive experience both as an employee – he was a senior technical analyst working for the federal government in 2006 – and as an entrepreneur (he started his own IT consulting firm that same year and more recently has delved into his own coffee business, the Beachcomber Coffee Co.). Often, he said, a company’s biggest mistake is not investing – figuratively and literally – in its own people.
Birthplace: North Vancouver
Where you live now: Gibsons
Highest level of education: No formal degree; some post-secondary programs
Currently reading: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Currently listening to: Astroworld by Travis Scott
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Veterinarian
Profession you would most like to try: Food critic
Toughest business or professional decision: Walking away from a company that offered a lot – including equity – to stay with them. But I’m thankful that I did
Advice you would give the younger you: Travel more
What’s left to do: Honestly, it’s important to have balance. My passion project is to create a coffee company (Beachcomber Coffee), and it’s my creative outlet outside of tech