Learning the ropes

An entrepreneur at heart, Matt Gagnon, CPA, is the president and owner of two rope manufacturing companies.

By the time he was 14, Matt Gagnon knew he wanted to be a CPA. What he didn’t know was that by the age of 33, he would be the president and owner of two rope manufacturing companies with a combined worth of $20 million to $30 million.

In 2012, he was recruited to join Canada Cordage Inc. and its American partner company, Orion Ropeworks Inc., as controller and treasurer. Three years later, after Gagnon was promoted to vice-president of finance, the companies’ owners announced their plans to sell the businesses. Gagnon saw an opportunity to take over, and approached the owners to work out an agreement. “I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I take a lot of pride in the history of this company,” he says of Canada Cordage, which was incorporated in 1856 and is now located in Deseronto, Ont. “Manufacturing is a challenging business, but not if you stay ahead of the curve and manage the risks.”

That’s where his training as an accountant comes in handy. Plus, he says, rope is a sustainable business — it’s not going anywhere. Neither is he. Gagnon has no plans to ever sell the business and hopes to keep it in his family. “I feel like I’ve finally found my calling.”

An entrepreneur at heart, Matt Gagnon, CPA, is the president and owner of two rope manufacturing companies.