Not a boss, but a coach – Profile of Pierre Savignac

Pierre Savignac, président d'Emergex Subventions RS&DE

Pierre Savignac, Founder & CEO of Emergex SR&ED Consultants

This article by journalist Emmanuelle Gril was originally published in French on Jobboom.com.

Pierre Savignac, having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Montreal in 1986, is running his third company.  For as long as he can remember, he always wanted to go into business.  “In my first job, I was told: ‘You, you’ll start your own business for sure!’  It was a strong and fundamental desire, and even when I became an employee again, I knew it was only temporary,” he recalls.

At the age of 28, he started his first company, then another that he formed a few years later.  In 1994, he finally launched Emergex.  Between two start-ups, he worked for Alis Technologies, MédiaSoft Télécom, Virtual Prototypes and Vidéotron.

Today, Emergex has fifteen employees and consultants, most of whom are computer scientists, engineers, or software architects. Their mission?  To help companies, mostly in the IT sector, claim their tax credits for research and development.  “These programs can subsidize up to 80% of the wages paid by a company.  In Quebec, where there are many software development firms, they are often the most important source of revenue,” explains Pierre Savignac.

He believes that hierarchy, as traditionally conceived, is an outdated concept.

“Today, the role of management consists of helping employees to do their jobs.  I see my role more as that of a coach.  I assist and support individuals in achieving their tasks,” he explains.  And for this, he is particularly well-equipped, because he has assumed all of the roles while his company grew, from managing finances to writing technological reports and from negotiating with Revenue Canada to managing a team spread all over the country. “My door is always open and I can always be consulted.  My management style oscillates between trust and control, depending on the employees.  Some take on their responsibilities very well, while others need more guidance.  You should know how to adapt,” he says.

Obviously, this is a role that he understands and implements perfectly, since in 2012, Emergex reached the rank of 24th in Quebec in the annual PROFIT 200 list, which honours the 200 Canadian companies which have experienced the most growth in revenue during the previous five years.

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