ECAO companies give back to help empower communities
Each year, Alltrade Industrial Contractors invites its employees to help build schools in Africa that provide education to orphans. Along with supplies and equipment, they take with them valuable skills, a commitment to safety and a desire to help others as they look forward to impromptu soccer games with the countless kids who flock to their projects.
“We work alongside local workers and contractors,” says Bob Ritzmann, president of the Cambridge-based company and chair of Lifesong for Orphans Canada, a registered charitable organization that oversees the operations of the Lifesong Harmony School and the Lifesong Girls’ Home in Kitwe, Zambia. The school supports 550 students and grows each year with the addition of another grade.
“People there can’t believe we come all the way from Canada to work on schools. Zambia is a safe but poor country with a culture that’s very appreciative of what we do for them,” says Ritzmann. About seven years ago, he established Alltrade Community Connection to oversee his company’s work with various charities and volunteer organizations.
Closer to home, it provides financial support to non-profit organizations, including the Ontario Gleaners, Cystic Fibrosis Canada and Skatelife. It financially supports Habitat for Humanity and will soon begin volunteering on its jobsites. “We do it because we see a need out there,” Ritzmann says modestly, saying he prefers to be known simply as ‘Bob the electrician.’
Alltrade Industrial Contractors is a proud member of the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO), an organization that represents and champions the interests of the electrical contracting industry. It shares ECAO’s commitment to safety and giving back to the community, earning the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association’s COR Certification in Ontario on its first attempt.
The certification is awarded to companies that successfully implement a comprehensive health and safety management system and is often required for contracts with both public- and private-sector construction projects in Ontario. “Safety is our No. 1 priority and is fundamental to our values,” Ritzmann says. “Innovative solutions must always be safe ones. The commitment we make to our customers, employees and community requires our activities to be safe and we believe that a safe workplace is the first step to a successful project.”