Daniel Drapeau, President and CEO of Miralis, is known for doing the unexpected: acquiring a company in the midst of a global recession, completely transforming its business model in 10 years, then expanding its size and scope right after the pandemic. .
When Drapeau and four partners bought Miralis in 2009 from the outgoing founder, the Quebec manufacturer’s business model consisted of 70% components and 30% cabinetmaking. Today it’s 100% cabinetmaking, a 180-degree transition completed over 10 years that Drapeau says is one of the smartest things the company has done. “We said at the time, ‘It’s a very bold move, but the future of the business is the cabinets.'” Cabinets, he added, offer greater possibilities for ‘innovation.
This leap of faith propelled Miralis among the largest cabinet manufacturers in North America, and the company now ranks 176th among all North American wood products producers on the FDMC 300 list.
Miralis will soon become even bigger, with planned expansions in size and scope. In addition to its current facilities of 125,000 square feet, two new factories are underway: a 15,000 square foot operation in Quebec to transform sintered stone into countertops and another of 70,000 square feet in Rimouski to produce cabinets on measure.
“Both will be highly automated; maybe 80% of the process will be 100% automated, without any human intervention,” said Drapeau. “The vision is clear; growth will come from automating and replicating this new model.
He added: “It’s not because I don’t like people. I like people, but it’s very hard to find [workers] and will be worse in the future.
Drapeau had no carpentry experience before joining Miralis, and the company continues to look outside the industry for employees. “I am proud to have been able to develop a culture of human development in a business environment. I like to see people grow and improve.
Communication is also essential at Miralis. Daily scrums, as well as weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual meetings are held to share good news, obstacles and priorities.
A priority is community service. In addition to donations and tree planting, Miralis recently funded a state-of-the-art athletics facility in Rimouski, fulfilling a longtime Drapeau goal.
Outside of work, Drapeau enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports and fly fishing. “It helps me develop patience and also read the situation better,” he said. “I see a lot of similarities between these types of activities and businesses.”
- Education: Engineer in physics, Laval University (Quebec)
- Number of years in the company: 15
- Number of years in the industry: 15
- Phrase that best describes you: Go-getter who leads by example. I prefer to talk less and do more.
- Business mantra: don’t try to be someone else or copy someone else. Be yourself, but be inspired by others.
- Best Advice: Understand clearly what the strategy is because if you don’t know where you’re going and don’t know the vision, you’ll have worked like crazy and still won’t get anywhere.
- Who have you tried to emulate: I like to analyze what other entrepreneurs are doing. My father is also someone I respect and from whom I learned a lot. He is a doctor and has always remained very humble, took the time to talk with his patients and is very creative.
About the market leaders in the wood industry: This marks the 14th year that Woodworking Network has honored exceptional men and women who have made an impact, not only in their businesses, but within the various wood products industries. Since 2009, more than 90 industry professionals have shared their influencers, ideas and strategies. Learn more about the 2022 Market Leaders and past winners at WoodworkingNetwork.com/Market-Leaders.