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Optimism may be both the best and worst trait you have as an entrepreneur. The same attitude that allows you to persevere cheerfully through adversity and look ahead with enthusiasm can prevent you from considering what will happen when you’re no longer at the helm of your business. That’s one of the main reasons so few companies have formally developed succession plans for themselves and their management teams.

Not so Logistec. Madeleine Paquin, who took over the cargo-handling and marine transportation company from her father in 1996, has always known the importance of lining up top talent to take over one day. But recently, a growing list of big-ticket customer projects on the books (including services for clients in the mining industry in Eastern Canada and the biomass market in Georgia) and a slate of manager retirements on the horizon told Paquin that it was time for Logistec to get serious about succession.

Hence the firm’s succession development program, in which Logistec recruited six high-achieving graduates straight out of university. These hires will spend the next three years cycling among six company facilities for six months each. At each location, they’re being coached and mentored by seasoned managers.

“These young, talented employees will be in a position to take on management roles in three years,” explains Paquin. “They, along with our existing pool of great employees, will ensure the future of our company and our ability to build it going forward.”

Logistec is No. 19 on the 2013 PROFIT/Chatelaine W100. View the full list or read other success profiles.

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