Wood Industry Market Leader: Kent Bowie, Metrie

Putting people first is the mantra of Kent Bowie, Metrie president and CEO, and under his leadership North America’s largest moulding producer is doing just that.

Bowie first joined the British Columbia-based Metrie (originally Sauder Industries) 28 years ago. “The Sauder family have helped so many people build their careers and mine was no exception,” he said. “The most important learning I have benefited from is their commitment to inspire, motivate and provide opportunities.  It is impossible to move a company forward without the commitment of its team members and we have worked very hard to earn their trust and loyalty over the years. It is for this reason that we have consciously built a culture where our team is our life blood, our competitive advantage and nothing is more important than leading, listening, and supporting them in any way we can.” 

This was never more evident than during the COVID pandemic, where “we rapidly came together to put support in place and ramped up our corporate and local communication plans.” He added, “We changed our policy and effectively doubled our support for mental health issues to all employees to ensure they had the ability to get help through this very difficult time.”

Along with the advancements made at Metrie, Bowie said one of his proudest achievements has been “helping the team around me reach their personal potential.  We have an outstanding team and to be in a position to support their personal and professional growth is a great honor and something I take very seriously.” The CEO has also signed Minerva B.C.’s Diversity Pledge commitment for gender parity.

Looking ahead at Metrie, along with increasing market share Bowie said, “We are focused on creating the best experience possible for our customers. We will work to achieve that by actively building our culture, developing our team, operating as efficiently as possible and focusing on winning through customer solutions.”

Community service also remains an important endeavor, he said. Earlier this year Metrie formalized its donation efforts and launched a Community Impact Fund.  “We have formed 15 ‘giving teams’ around North America and given them a budget to work with to support their local communities,” he said. “We are very excited to be donating $150,000 this year to help support our local communities.”

Away from work, Bowie enjoys spending time with his family. “We have two boys in university that keep us on our toes and we all love being outdoors and active: boating, surfing, golfing, fishing, etc. – anything outside!”

Quick Glimpse:

• Education: MBA from Queens University (Smith School of Business)
• Number of years at the company: 28
• Number of years in the industry: 32
• Word that best describes you: Optimistic
• Business mantra: People first (a bit overused these days but still the most successful and satisfying approach to building a lasting and impactful company). 
Best advice: Learn to let go of your failures and treat them as learning experiences.
• Who have you tried to emulate: My Dad.  He was the kind of man who talked only when he had something important to say, cared deeply about the people in his life and knew that work was always secondary to his family.

About the Wood Industry Market Leaders: This marks the 12th year Woodworking Network has paid tribute to outstanding men and women that have made an impact, not only at their companies, but within the various wood products industries. Since 2009, more than 80 industry professionals have shared their influencers, insights and strategies.  Read more about the 2020 and past honorees at WoodworkingNetwork.com/Market-Leaders.

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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]