Jeevan Saldanha, President of SHAP Industrial Ltd., may live in Halifax but he works globally. The native of Bombay came here via Kuwait where he worked for 17 years in engineering, on-site fabrication and service provision in the oil and gas industry. Jeevan, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, once employed about 25 people.
While in Kuwait he often visited Toronto but found it similar to other cities. “I was looking for something different, I don’t know what.” During a 2002 visit to Halifax he phoned a hydraulic company out of curiosity and was invited to a job interview. “I met six bosses around the table. They said we’re interested, why don’t you start?” He returned home and soon moved here with his wife Flavia and two sons. “Coming to Canada with a job was great. It helped me to understand the market too.”
A year later Jeevan left the company to go on his own. “I didn’t waste too much time,” he laughs. He currently manages joint projects with other companies in the power, marine, and oil and gas industries, as well as the Department of National Defense. His Middle East customer base makes up about two thirds of his business. Jeevan employs two people in his office plus a part-time workshop supervisor.
My focus is giving back to the community.
Jeevan heard of ISANS through friends, and also from bus ads.“You’d see the organization’s name everywhere!” He didn’t need language services as English is his first language. But the English in the Workplace program proved useful for his office staff whose first language is Farsi. The innovative and popular program is based on a needs assessment and a customized learning plan where the instructor comes to the workplace. “It helped them to feel comfortable interacting with customers,” recalls Jeevan. “They learned how to pick up the phone and make a general conversation. It was a great program.”
Jeevan also attended sessions in accounting as part of ISANS Business Development Services that provide training for immigrant entrepreneurs. “You come to Canada as an immigrant and you think the ways are the same, but they’re not.”
The family settled well here. “We didn’t have culture shock because in Kuwait we experienced people from all over the world.” They are active church volunteers and he and Flavia run an Alpha program for prisoners. Jeevan also formed Motivation Tuesday, a group of businessmen who meet monthly to discuss meaningful ways to make a difference. “My focus is giving back to the community.” He also assists other immigrants through Halifax’s Local Immigrant Partnership. Jeevan is committed to Nova Scotia. “My younger son says I’ll go anywhere in the world but I’ll always come back to the lakes of Nova Scotia to go fishing.” Son Mark is soon to enroll at Dalhousie where older brother Jason studies engineering. Flavia works at the Department of Natural Resources.
Jeevan stays in touch with ISANS and attends events. He has only good things to say about the organization. “The staff at ISANS is interested in me and in helping me out. They know a lot and know the people in play. They always are friendly, always have a smile and always have answers.”