Moving forward on the right track
What began as a quest to find excitement in the unexpected — and a fulfilling job in mechanical engineering — eventually led Yves St-Pierre to Soucy Caoutchouc, a rubber manufacturer in Drummondville, Quebec.
After finishing school, Yves thought he’d head toward product development, designing and developing new components for vehicles.
“I wanted to work in anything that related to vehicles,” he explains. “I was interested in the automotive industry or working with snowmobiles. Anything with that fun factor.”
Yves began building seats for snowmobiles and jet skis. But he wanted to find something unique.
It’s exciting for me to be involved in improving the health of our soldiers
Soucy Caoutchouc offered that in spades, he says, plus a chance to get up close and personal with the kind of big vehicles kids dream of. Yves now develops rubber tracks for vehicles weighting up to 45-tons, used by more than 25 different armies around the world.
“A rubber track is lighter than a steel track,” he says. “It enables defence vehicles to add on more protective features without adding weight. The performance of the vehicle also improves; it can move faster, reach ‘no go’ terrain for steel tracks, and it makes less noise.”
Fine-tuning rubber tracks also improves the lives of the drivers of the Canadian military’s 30 and 40-ton vehicles, he adds, who can be affected by the constant sound and vibrations caused by traditional steel tracks.
A smoother ride means happier and healthier soldiers and infantry personnel.
“It’s exciting for me to be involved in improving the health of our soldiers,” Yves says. “I hope these requirements will become mandatory. And we’re always thinking ahead. How can we be ready for the development of materials and technologies that aren’t yet on the market, so we can supply our customers with a better product down the road?”
Outside of work, Yves likes to keep things just as fast-paced and exciting. An avid road cyclist, he is part of a group that embarks on long, high-speed expeditions with a goal of pedaling upwards of a thousand kilometers per year. His children are also speed skaters at a club where his wife is a trainer and he himself serves as president. All that to say, Yves has no intentions of slowing down.