Where are they now? 2014 Top 50 CEO Hall of Famer Barry Kyle

Posted on June 30, 2024 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments


Barry Kyle, former CEO of Industrial Rubber Company, was inducted into Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame in 2014. (Submitted photo)

For New Brunswick’s Barry Kyle, retirement is just an excuse to get back to work. So, if you’re in the market for anything… well, almost anything… the recently retired industrial coatings manufacturer is the man to see.

Somewhere in the northern New Brunswick town of Bathurst—which a provincial tourism website describes as a “small city” that’s “big on natural discoveries”—19 modified, German-designed, Leopard 2 battle tanks sit waiting for Barry Kyle to fill out their purchase orders.

“They’re basically specialized armored vehicles that we manufacture for [the Canadian Armed Forces],” says the 50 per cent owner of FFG Canada—a joint venture with German military systems manufacturer and defense contractor Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft. “We take off their gun turrets and then make them into what I like to call tow trucks. Really, they’re mine plows with big graters in front of them to take old equipment off the battlefield.”

For Kyle—a man in his late 60s who was born in Noranda, Quebec, grew up here, and two years ago sold his Industrial Rubber Company (also Bathurst-based) to his two sons, Colin and Blaine, and nephew Nick—that’s not even the coolest part. He loves the idea that he and FFG are doing all of this from a community, he says, many people still think you go to only if “you’re lost.” He laughs, “We’ve got these top-of-the-line vehicles for NATO right here, and nobody knows about it.”

Well, some people do; it’s even fair to say that most people around here do. After all, Kyle has made a career out of exceeding expectations and loving every minute of it. Now that he’s “retired”, he’d love it even more if others in this part of the world he calls—without a trace of sarcasm or irony—“pure heaven” would join him.

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