What’s the common denominator for Calian's success?

Kevin Ford - CEO of Calian Group Ltd.

UNIQUE EXPERTISE, PROVEN SERVICE DELIVERY

Ottawa’s Calian Group operates with five diverse and distinct service lines: Health Services, IT and Professional Services, Training Services, Systems Engineering and Contract Manufacturing.

What’s the common denominator? The ability of Calian’s team to respond to its customers’ needs, building long-lasting relationships based on a proven model for program and service delivery. 

The result is success through diversification and a host of well-served customers across the public and private sectors who speak to the strength of this approach.

But who are the individuals, the actual subject matter experts who drive Calian’s success? In this feature, we sit down with three (3) of Calian’s thought leaders who represent the Training, IT & Professional Services, and Health Services service lines.

Douglas Grant, Calian
Douglas Grant, Senior Emergency Management Analyst - Training Services

PROTECTING ‘LIFE, PROPERTY, ENVIRONMENT’

Calian delivers training solutions, teaching individuals or large groups. Engagements range from DND personnel about to deploy overseas for high-intensity combat operations, to emergency preparedness and response. Contract wins in the latter category include Emergency Management British Columbia, the Vancouver Airport, the City of Kingston, the City of Ottawa and Bruce Power.

Douglas Grant, a former member of the CAF and a Certified Emergency Manager, worked with Atomic Energy Canada Ltd as the Manager of Emergency Preparedness before coming to Calian in 2016. 

“People talk about protecting assets, people, technology, or ‘life, property, environment,’” he said. “This is my background and the order of priority for any organization.”

Grant and his team assist clients with every conceivable scenario: from cyber threats and natural disasters, to fire, theft and even terrorism. Their work can extend beyond the initial event into the after action review aspects of recovery and the associated updates to business continuity planning. Calian is unique in the market in that it can lever the resources of its other service lines to secure the IT/technology side of the equation as well.

Grant is quick to make the distinction between a policy document that sits on a shelf gathering dust and a truly actionable response plan that articulates clear roles and responsibilities at every level of an organization.

He works with clients to help them understand and develop a response plan tailored to their organization, and implement appropriate policies, procedures and staff training. His role is to facilitate, not dictate.

The pitfall he finds many organizations fall into is focusing too much on the tactical, front-line response to an event. There is often too little emphasis on what action must be taken and by whom at an executive or senior level. For example, who will deal with regulatory or environmental authorities in the event of a chemical spill, or serve as the official media spokesperson?

“The first step is to determine your needs in a broad, regulatory sense,” Grant said. “Then start small, with the lowest level of responsibility. Decide who should be tasked to do what and work up. The goal is to avoid duplication of tasks or assigning the wrong responsibility to the wrong person.”

A comprehensive and effective response plan isn’t something that can be cobbled together quickly, nor should it be a “side of desk” project assigned to an individual who may or may not have emergency management training or experience.

“It must be gradually built up over time, practiced and refined,” Grant said. “Appropriate training must be provided to those individuals with specialized roles to play. Organizations are beginning to understand that this is a strategic project like any other. It requires planning, timelines and resources to be successful, along with the counsel of an objective and qualified consultant.”

Bill Dunnion, Calian
Bill Dunnion, Director Cyber Security, Solutions IT & Professional Services (ITPS) 

'YOU’RE ONLY AS STRONG AS YOUR WEAKEST LINK’

Calian has a 30+ year heritage in delivering a diverse range of IT Solutions to enterprises of all sizes. Services include deployment of Enterprise IT Solutions, and management and operations of those systems, including IT Security Solutions. Calian’s diverse team of IT professionals has the experience and expertise to support complex initiatives and manage discrete IT functions in support of customers’ business and technology needs. 

One of these areas is cyber security. Calian can deliver a holistic security practice with solutions tailored to the needs of each client. This runs the full gamut from strategic consulting to tactical cyber security solutions for threat detection, business continuity and recovery. Calian has experienced recent success with clients from many sectors including utilities, law enforcement, municipalities and gaming.

Bill Dunnion heads up this practice area. A Queen’s engineer graduate with a varied career in telecommunications, he has spent the last 13 years in IT security consulting, integration and delivery. 

He works with forward-thinking clients that understand traditional perimeter protection – the firewall – is no longer enough to ensure their security from relentless hackers and innovative malware. Instead, their strategy must have a proactive emphasis on detection and response.

Today’s cyber security tools feature artificial intelligence and machine learning. But at the end of the day, technology will only ever be half of the answer.

“The greatest exposure for any organization is their end users,” Dunnion said. “You’re only as strong as your weakest link and that is usually your people. This is the most prevalent and hardest issue to solve when implementing an effective security posture. 

“We provide solutions that, in effect, bubble wrap or help protect the end user from doing harm to themselves or their organization,” he said.

In addition to technology solutions, the most effective tool is educating end users, to understand the various forms that threats can take and how to avoid falling into the traps set by cyber attackers.

In his practice, Dunnion is closely aligned with Calian’s Emergency Management team. Like any emergency, the key to protecting from cyber threats is by having a clearly defined and rehearsed incident response plan. 

“Given the reliance on technology in today’s business environment, every organization must invest the time and due diligence in a plan that includes broader business continuity planning,” Dunnion said. “The time you realize you’ve been breached is not the time to decide what steps to take. You need to understand how you must triage a given situation and what corrective action it demands.”

If you don’t have an incident response plan, he adds, there are many models to draw from as a starting point.

“By not being prepared, your brand risks public embarrassment, loss of credibility in the marketplace and even lawsuits,” he said.

Scott Murray, Calian
Scott Murray, Vice President - Health Services

CONSISTENTLY RATED AS ‘SUPERIOR’

Calian Health manages large-scale networks of medical clinics and facilities across Canada, and delivers a complete range of healthcare professionals to customer sites. With a network of over 1,500 healthcare professionals, Calian is one of the largest national healthcare services providers in Canada. 

Calian’s Health Services is led by Scott Murray. With over 25 years of experience across multiple disciplines, including operations, corporate strategy, business development, legal, finance and communications, he has worked with healthcare companies at all stages of development, from start-up to large public enterprises. 

In 2004, Calian secured a pivotal contract to provide health services support for DND installations across the country. 

Thirty-five years in business, more than 60 consecutive profitable quarters and counting. No company achieves this track record without a sound strategy and a clear understanding of its strengths.

“Calian had built a successful track record in delivering large national programs,” Murray said. “This expertise and experience, including a history of high customer and workforce satisfaction, translated perfectly to DND’s health requirements. Since 2004, Calian’s performance on the DND health contract has been consistently rated as ‘superior’ and Calian has become the employer of choice for the many health professionals who have worked with us.” 

Calian has since parlayed this expertise and emphasis on employee and customer satisfaction to other markets, including corrections (federal, provincial and municipal) and oil and gas. 

“In a period of constrained government spending during the late 2000s, we recognized the need to diversify,” Murray said. “We wanted to differentiate ourselves, to be a truly national player in an industry that is often broken up province by province. Being able to address health on a national scale was unique.”

Today, Calian Health manages a national network of healthcare professionals in over 60 different categories, from dental and medical to occupational and mental health. Within the Defence community, Calian is also recognized for hiring veterans and supporting military families through programs like the Calian’s Military Family Doctor Network (MFDN) and Canada Company’s Military Employment Transition (MET and MET Spouse). For the past two years, Calian has been recognized as the MET Employer of the Year. 

Calian Health clients now range from Shell Canada to Canada Border Services Agency, RCMP and Correctional Services Canada. Calian also owns and operates Primacy Management Inc., which manages the medical clinic program for Loblaw with over 140 clinics located in Loblaw banner stores (including Real Canadian Superstore®, Zehrs®, Loblaws® and No Frills®) across Canada. 

“With our national perspective, we are constantly exploring new opportunities to grow and leverage our health networks and program delivery expertise,” Murray said.

PRIMED FOR THE FUTURE

Calian has grown into a $275-million Ottawa success story by making wise and strategic investments that lever its strengths into new markets and new opportunities. The Calian team has defined a clear vision and a winning culture that’s characterized by outstanding customer service and a “can do” attitude. This is the secret to Calian’s success. 

To learn more about Calian Group, please visit www.calian.com