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Solotech employees setting up equipment for one of its career events.Supplied

Marie-Claire Laplaine is fascinated by the details behind the scenes that power the thousands of projects Solotech produces every year.

“When you go to an event you see the spectacle, you don’t see the pieces that make the show. I think that’s what drew me in,” says Laplaine, operations co-ordinator in Solotech’s Toronto office.

Solotech produces live shows for festivals, events and many of the biggest artists in the world – including Taylor Swift, Adele, The Weeknd, Justin Timberlake and Luke Bryan. It also does AV systems integration in the corporate sphere for projects like the Bell Centre in Montréal, Outernet London and Resorts World Las Vegas.

“One of the main reasons people explore joining Solotech is the opportunity to be part of some of the biggest and greatest audiovisual projects in the world,” says Claudine Ricard, chief human resources officer, based in the company’s head office in Montréal. “You cannot beat the coolness of this industry.”

Solotech has 20 locations in offices in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Asia, with opportunities for technicians, engineers, marketing, finance and more, says Ricard.

“What appeals to me the most is the collaborative effort and meeting all these intelligent people, and that we’re all working toward a common goal,” says Laplaine.

Her current position, making sure the teams and equipment processes are working as efficiently as possible, is a relatively new role.

Laplaine was working as a barista when she joined Solotech in 2016. “I started in the soft-goods department as a temporary worker and a permanent spot opened up. I became a lead there.”

Laplaine left to do some freelance work but returned to Solotech as a tech co-ordinator and, after a maternity leave, took on the operations job just over a year ago. She says Solotech offers many employment growth opportunities.

“I can totally testify to that. I’m a product of it.”

Ricard says she believes in developing people from within the company. “We’re creating an environment where you can try something new, take a chance. There are different paths if you want to grow.”

There’s a lot of training available, in person and online, through the Solotech Academy. And the company runs a robust recruitment program each summer.

“It’s part of our DNA,” says Ricard. “A lot of senior people now started like that.”

Laplaine appreciates the emphasis the company places on the wellness of its employees. She’s especially happy as a new mom to be able to have the option of hybrid work.

“They are making our well-being a priority – it’s something they are taking massive steps toward. There’s actually a well-being tour going on now.”

There are sessions on mental, physical and financial health. One of Laplaine’s favourite workshops was a stress-management program. She says they do field trips and other activities, too, such as warehouse staff joining the production crew last summer at Toronto’s Veld Music Festival.

“We had all our junior techs travel to the site and see what it was like, to see the reality of it, the grandeur. It’s massive.”

One of the unique aspects of the Solotech workplace is that it attracts a large number of musicians. Laplaine is also a singer-songwriter.

“You can go down to any level and there will be a working musician in the room. That ties people together.”

In Montréal, there’s a jam room with amps, speakers and guitars that people use on their breaks. There are karaoke nights during the year, but Solotech karaoke nights come with buildings full of top-quality AV equipment.

In the end, it’s a passionate, dedicated team of people who make Solotech work, says Laplaine.

“The people are phenomenal. Every level of tech or adviser or whatever part you have to play is vital in getting these events and productions out the door.”

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