Q&A: Kubota Canada president talks leadership transition, new headquarters

Kubota Canada president, Yannick Montagano.

Equipment Journal’s editor and Kubota Canada’s Yannick Montagano discuss Yannick’s transition into the role of president, his wide-ranging experience in the industry and plans for the company’s new Pickering, Ontario headquarters.

Max Carrington: Hello, Yannick. Great to speak with you. To start off, I’d like to ask about your succession of Bob Hickey, who was with Kubota for over 40 years. How beneficial has it been for you to have his experience and knowledge available to you during your transition into the role of president?

Yannick Montagano: It’s a pleasure to get to speak with you and thank you for the opportunity. It’s been a great experience for me to spend the last three and a half years with Bob. You know, I joined the organization at that time as the sales and marketing leader and he’s given me the opportunity to look after not just that area of the business, but several other areas of the business and that’s really helped me tremendously in preparing me for this new role and taking over for him.

MC: The transition is coming at a time when Kubota Canada has investments that are really coming to fruition. For example, the new corporate offices and 500,000 square-foot warehouse space in Pickering, Ontario will soon have their grand opening. How is Kubota Canada planning to use this space to facilitate growth in the company?

YM: This is an exciting time for us, not just with me taking over the leadership of the business, but also in terms of us moving into this brand new head office and warehouse. We will be officially opening our new facility in October and we are currently operating out of it.

It’s a big change from our former Markham campus, where we were operating out of four different buildings. So, bringing the operations under one roof in that 500,000 square-foot warehouse is going to lead to some significant efficiencies.

Also, our property in Pickering will allow us to grow well beyond this current facility, considering that we are on 50 acres, which will allow us to expand from 500,000 to up to a million square feet.

MC: Are there any specific plans for using that space, or is the idea more along the lines of developing and expanding as needed?

YM: The great part about the property that we’re on is that we will be able to make that expansion when the appropriate time comes.

Obviously, right now we’ve got the ability to operate all of our operations under one roof, which allows for significant efficiencies. But when the time comes, we’ll be able to quite easily expand.

MC: There’s space for training and testing in the new facility, and I’m wondering, with significant movement toward sustainability, if Kubota Canada is looking use that space to test equipment and that falls under the green technologies and sustainable equipment umbrella?

YM: I’ll maybe unpack that question by first talking about the head office and then I’ll address the technology side of things.

Definitely. We’ve now given ourselves the ability to build on our current capabilities in terms of training, engineering and marketing. We have the space and a state-of-the-art facility that allows us to build upon what we’re currently doing in regards to supporting and developing our dealers.

For example, we have state-of-the-art training facilities that will allow us to train our dealer staff, on both the sales and service sides of the business.

We will be completing a cyclorama—a studio we will be able to leverage for photo and video shoots of our equipment. And, as you alluded to, our engineering staff will have expanded facility to be able to do testing of new products.

You also alluded to new technologies, and that’s going to be an area of focus for us moving forward.

Kubota wants to deliver some great technology so that we solve any problems our customers have.

I think you’ve reported on this quite well in Equipment Journal, and what we’re going to be trying to do with these new technologies is address some of the challenges with qualified labour shortages, improving the productivity of the equipment, providing a great operator experience as well as bringing on some some products that will help drive us to a more sustainable future and, ultimately, to carbon neutrality.

MC: Just one last question. You’ve worked in Canada’s industrial sector for over 25 years, in sales, engineering, marketing and development. Have you been able to draw from all of your experiences in the various branches of the industry to create a vision as the president of Kubota Canada?

YM: I think the experience certainly prepared me well for this role, but one of the things that I think is important to highlight is the fact that I’ve spent a fair bit of my career working for dealers. I think that gives me a unique perspective in my new role of leading Kubota Canada.

One of the things that we pride ourselves on is our relationships with our dealers, and that’s based on us being able to listen to them and put forward some great programs that can help them meet their needs, as well as our customers’ needs. I think having this experience of working within a dealership will help us to continue to do that well into the future, always keeping in mind that our purpose is to support and develop our dealers.

MC: I want to congratulate you on your new role and I hope we can talk again soon.

YM: Max, it was a pleasure. Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you.

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