Ian Murray Lawrence
Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Degree: General Machinist Apprentice
Year of graduation: 1982
Ian Lawrence has been around a machine shop since he was a young lad when he helped out at his father’s business after school. Fast forward several decades and Ian now operates his own company and has mentored many apprentices along the way.
To date, nine Sheridan students have apprenticed at his Brampton-based company, Murray Manufacturing, including one who has been with Ian for the past 17 years. “I know the quality of the program firsthand and I have kept in touch with my professor, Alan Reid (now an Associate Dean). Choosing Sheridan students is an easy decision to make,” says Ian.
He is a big fan of pre-apprenticeship programs which offer students a taste of different trades to help them decide which area they would like to study. “So apprentices come to us with the groundwork done and can jump in more readily,” adds Ian, who provides guidance to Sheridan as a member of the Local Industries Committee.
When his father retired in 1979, Ian was in his first year of an apprenticeship at George Brown College. He transferred to Sheridan to complete his training over the next few years. After graduating, Ian eventually advanced to Plant Manager positions at Brampton Engineering and B & R Machine. Along the way, he founded Murray Manufacturing in 1988, mainly as a consulting business. “I like to say I worked my way up and out the side door,” jokes Ian, who turned the experience of being downsized in 1993 into a plus by concentrating on growing the manufacturing side of his company. Today, Murray Manufacturing has a diverse customer base of local companies mainly in the textiles, plastics and machine-building industries.
Like any client-based business, the success of Murray Manufacturing is greatly influenced by the economic health of its customers. Many of the firm’s clients serve customers based in the United States, which has suffered a more severe recession than we have in Canada. However, Ian is positive about the future, as he has seen many business cycle fluctuations over time. “I believe that having a well established business was a key factor in surviving the latest recession,” he says.
“I am very fortunate to have been able to establish such deep roots in the community that I both live and work in. It has enabled me to have a more solid and lasting relationship with my customers,” adds Ian. It has also allowed him to "pay back" by donating to and volunteering for local organizations such as Scouting, YMCA, and youth sports teams.