Manitoba Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Chuck Davidson was one of 20 senior leaders from government and private business industries in the Manitoba community who attended Exercise BISON WARRIOR, a large military Reserve training exercise on Sunday April 27th at Canadian Forces Base Shilo, MB. The guests were part of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC) ExecuTrek Program, which gives employers, supervisors and human resources professionals a first-hand view of the quality of military training Reservist soldiers go through, and the benefits that employers can gain from that training.

With units from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and parts of Ontario, Executives witnessed soldiers from across 38 Canadian Brigade Group plan and execute combat missions against a (simulated), determined enemy. The exercise showed off an array of soldier skills and training, and also allowed guests the opportunity to meet with Reservist soldiers, including the Task Force Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Geoff Abthorpe of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment who addressed the group.

Challenging their perceptions of the Canadian Armed Forces Reservist soldier, 27-year veteran acknowledged the many Reservist employees attending the exercise, “It’s a learning environment for your employees. Many of them are placed in command and management positions that test their ability to make critical decisions during war fighting. These same decisions have to be made in business as well- making timely, correct decisions.”

At temperatures just above freezing, guests visited the armoured reconnaissance, infantry and artillery units, and observed the supply and communications units conduct their duties in a challenging environment.

Highly respected within the Winnipeg community and the garment industry, Albert El Tassi, President and CEO of Peerless Garments, supplier of clothing items to the Canadian Armed Forces, was the very first to cheer on our soldiers in the field. “What we saw the soldiers going through was amazing.” He was quick to respect the training of the Reserves, “to us it’s the same- reserve or regular- whether flood fighting in Manitoba or Overseas- they bring such strong commitment here.”

Another excited guest, Stefan Kristjanson, Executive Vice President, Group, Great West Life, one of Canada’s leading insurance companies, had a great opportunity to do something that not too many civilians ever do- pull the firing cord on a C3 105-Howitzer. “I got to fire artillery today. It was awesome!”

You can click here to see a gallery of pictures from the day-long exercise.