Glen McKay


It’s not what you expect that will happen, it’s what you inspect!


Glen McKay is a Newfoundland & Labrador and Alberta based entrepreneur and businessman who serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Newfoundland Hard-Rok Inc., a business he founded in 1985 which operates in the explosives industry. Glen has spent the past forty years leading businesses in industries that include the resources sector and the explosives industry, among others.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

In 1985, Dupont approached me and offered to appoint my company, MRO Supplies Ltd., as the Newfoundland & Labrador distributor for their mining and quarry explosives. My background in mining and quarry supply and service helped me to see the potential, although several of my advisors and associates at the time did not think it was a good idea. I was selling product to those industries at the time through the Newfoundland Hard-Rok division. In 1987, I incorporated Newfoundland Hard-Rok Inc. as a separate entity specifically for the explosives business.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Communication in any business is key. First, I review all my email, text and voice messages and reply as necessary. Then I look at industry news feeds to be aware of things that can impact my business. During the day I often participate in conference calls dealing with various business matters.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As a group. Ideas of merit that come from anyone in the companies are considered by the senior management team. Any ideas that are collectively viewed as worthwhile will be evaluated and, if adopted, will include the idea generator as part of the team tasked with implementation.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’ve seen so many trends come and go that none of them excites me. However, I watch them to see if there are aspects that we can incorporate beneficially into our operations.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Planning. I’ve always said that a job well planned is already 50% of the way to successful completion. It saves time and resources when time is invested in upfront, thorough planning.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop and smell the roses. I didn’t do that enough. Although my family was my priority, I didn’t give myself the breaks I needed at times.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I’m an optimist and have always worked on the premise that you can “make it happen”. I find that most people do not naturally walk that path.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

It’s not what you expect that will happen, it’s what you inspect! I never take things for granted, so I’m regularly thinking about how the businesses are conforming with sound business practices in every aspect of our operations.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Never put the cart before the horse. Build a sound foundation before enlarging the house.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I’ve had many, but each was its own learning experience. The worst was I once sold a business to a group that I should have investigated more thoroughly. The business went bankrupt within a year of the sale. Apart from an initial payment, I had agreed to a five-year payout, none of which I received. That had a significant impact on my projected cash flow, but through some belt tightening and other adjustments, we got through it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

At this point in my life I’m not so much interested in pursuing new business ideas. If I was 20 years younger, I’d be looking to capitalize on green technology.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A gift for my wife. Happy wife, happy life!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

My iPad calendars. I’d be lost without them. I seldom run into scheduling conflicts because I immediately log all appointments, meetings, conference calls and travel.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Bible. Its wisdom is profound!

What is your favorite quote?

This is not a quote but rather a viewpoint I’ve found to be so true!

“Being intelligent does not mean a person is smart. Knowledge and wisdom do not always go hand in hand. Look for smart wise people.”

Key learnings:

  • Never forget the value that comes from detailed planning. You’re already halfway there if you’re able to plan out a project in a thorough, comprehensive manner.
  • To add on to the above, always plan and build a solid foundation before moving forward in a significant expansion of a business.
  • In life and in business, never forget to stop and smell the roses. Take time to appreciate what you have accomplished and the gifts that life presents. It’s one sure way to gain a better, more complete perspective on life.