Friday , January 15 2021

Mountain biking | Francis Morin: from cyclist to high level manager

In a cross-country mountain bike event, you don’t just face your opponents. We also have to measure ourselves against the course strewn with obstacles: steep sections, mud, unstable stones, weather conditions. When he was a high-level cyclist, Francis Morin already knew that this experience would be useful to him one day. The one who became general manager of the Quebec bicycle manufacturer Devinci a few months ago can see it even more today.

“For me, sport was a stepping stone to the business world. I’m still a relatively ambitious person and wanted to hit the World Cup circuit to see what it tasted like. In my last year with the Espoirs (under 23), I felt at the end of the season that I had done the trick, ”explains the one who raced for the French team BH SR Suntour.

“It’s excessively hard to take the extra step to make it a career (among the Elite) where everything happens in Europe. […] I was ripe to enter the business world and sport has been a very good school. Honestly, I have no regrets. ”

While training full time, the student-athlete did not slow down the pace on the academic side and he only needed an additional year to obtain his bachelor’s degree in administration at the University of Sherbrooke.

“My goal was to be a top athlete with an education and a vision for my post-career. I wanted my transition to be quick and the idea has always been to take back my cycling skills and my knowledge of the environment. I found that the cycling industry had good values: people are passionate, it’s eco-responsible and we work for health and well-being. It was natural for me to head there. I had the dream of being an entrepreneur. ”

But before arriving in the cycling industry, the young man decided to work in another field. It was in his hometown of Magog that he joined the marketing department at Camso, a company that manufactures tires and tracks for off-road and agricultural vehicles.

“I wanted to start in a big company to see the best business practices and to cut my teeth to understand what a big company is. It’s been a fast-paced business education and a good school for me. “

It was then that he joined the Devinci company, based in Saguenay, a little over five years ago. Present in several niches of the industry, Quebec riders are particularly visible in international mountain bike circuits, mainly downhill and enduro. The brand has also long been associated with Léandre Bouchard, who notably participated in the Rio Olympics on a Devinci bike.

Francis Morin began his career at Devinci in the sales department and then held the position of director of business development for two years, in addition to starting his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) training at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi. This project was put on hold when he was promoted to chief executive officer last spring when the pandemic was in full swing.

As when a thunderstorm hit in the middle of a mountain bike race to turn the course into a pool of mud, the 31-year-old businessman felt well equipped to face these new difficult conditions.

“It was quick and there is no course to become a general manager. This is where the years spent in sport have given me access to a position like this, whether it is for stress resistance capacity, resilience and discipline. My cycling career has also allowed me to know this industry and this is not to be overlooked. All of this together makes sure that I’m here today and so far it’s been working well. ”

Saguenay aluminum is a material of choice for the company, which notably manufactures the Montreal BIXI and its other cousins which run in various metropolises around the world. Building on this success, the leader continues to see far ahead, as when he was an athlete.

“When there are cities that announce that they want to release cars by 2035, it will make room for bicycles. ”

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