Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Barton Taylor, Founder and CEO of HAZ-MATTERS Emergency Management Inc., located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

When you require training or consulting services for dealing with hazardous material environments, look no further than HAZ-MATTERS Emergency Management Inc., Canada's leader in specialized training for Hazardous Materials Technicians, HAZWOPER, Hazardous Waste Chemical handling, and Dangerous Goods.

At HAZ-MATTERS, our number one commitment is to ensure that every person who attends our courses go home with an in-depth understanding of the material, regardless of their experience. We provide world-class service to our clients by diligently being accountable to you within our four core principles of Leadership, Quality, Experience, and Values.

Our Clientele is extremely diverse and includes:

  • Hazardous Waste Managers
  • HazMat Technicians and Specialists
  • Fire Services Personnel, Police Services, and First Responders
  • Emergency Managers
  • Military Personnel (CBRN)
  • Environmental Consultants
  • First Nation Communities and First Responders
  • Health & Safety Teams
  • Remediation Consultants
  • Radiation Safety Officers
  • Laboratory and Biological Services Technicians
  • Post Secondary Schools
  • Process Plant Operators

Tell us about yourself

I am a dynamic and dedicated environmental consultant who has a 31-year history in all aspects of emergency response and hazardous materials. I've spent the last 20+ years as a recognized subject matter expert and HazMat Specialist throughout Canada and the United States, and I have a successful and diverse background spanning extensive fieldwork, technical, operational management, service delivery, project management, and business development disciplines. I hold a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Saskatchewan.

My experience has specifically involved the hands-on management of over 15,000 waste characterizations, identifications, and associated responses internationally on both high and low-visibility sites. Over the years, I focused on providing highly specialized services and educational seminars to an extremely diverse international group of people to assist them in gaining a higher understanding of the field of hazardous materials handling while creating dependable work procedures for their departments.

I provide specialized Hazardous Waste and Materials training and certification courses in both the Canadian and International marketplace, as well as in-depth safety training, including HazMat Awareness, Operations and Technician, HAZWOPER, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, WHMIS/GHS, Confined Space Entry, H2S, Clandestine Drug Lab Decommissioning, and Hazardous Materials Chemistry (HazChem). To date, I've successfully trained these courses to over 6,000 professionals internationally for participants from a very diverse sector.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The biggest accomplishment I have with HAZ-MATTERS, is being able to provide an opportunity for industry and first response services to work collaboratively in approaching hazardous materials events. By reinforcing and dovetailing the value and knowledge each group brings to a situation, it allows for a much more comprehensive and prescriptive approach to emergency situations and spill response actions.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Being an entrepreneur and business owner is not for the faint of heart. The daily routines and pressures associated with running a business are always the obvious challenges that each business owner faces. For me, however, the most difficult thing I face is the pressures that come from ensuring that the calibre of training is never diluted to my audience.

It is much too easy in any industry to sacrifice Quality for Quantity by making everything the same for the sake of growth. I have not, and will not, allow that to be the legacy of HAZ-MATTERS, and will maintain and ensure the highest standard of information for each and every attendee every single time. I don't provide training so that people have a certificate in their wallet as part of a safety mandate - I provide training so that everyone goes home at the end of the day understanding the details.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. KNOW YOUR MATERIAL. Don't be afraid to be the best at what you do but be wise enough to know equally what you can't do. Bring in other people who complement what you offer so that you provide your clients with an honest and reputable result. Don't try and provide what your client thinks they need - provide them with what they do.
  2. YOUR REPUTATION AND YOUR WORD DEFINES YOUR COMPANY. If you can't back up what you say, don't say it. If you are committed to helping, don't dilute anything. Most people don't like to be taught, but everyone loves to learn, so speak from hands-on experience.
  3. DON'T GAUGE SUCCESS ONLY ON THE P&L. Success is, more often than not, unfortunately, tied to the bottom line. Decide what success means to you before you start, write it down, and look at it every so often when the going gets tough. The feeling a person gets to be their own boss is second to none, but it takes effort, honesty, and time. If it is only about the money, go work for someone.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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