Amanda Cromhout, Founder & CEO of Truth, Top 10 Inspiring COOs of 2023

Sean James
Chief Operating Officer

Amanda Cromhout, Founder & CEO of Truth

Motivation to learn enhances leadership experience

ECBVerdyol (ECB), Canada's oldest erosion control blanket company, pioneering for 20+ years with Sean James as COO, makes erosion control products. It is a privately owned business with headquarters in the hometown of the owner, Riverton, Manitoba. The first sixteen-foot erosion control blanket machine was one of their innovations. This continued with procedures for processing and using natural fibers for erosion control solutions. EBCVerdyol will be a standard in erosion control for decades as they know the space well and greatly enjoy the opportunities to make construction sites green again and help jump-start the process of erosion control, vegetation growth, and natural systems.

Sean's life was defined by his decision to go to university at 21 instead of starting a business amid the US housing crisis. He knew he wouldn't focus at the university in Winnipeg, his hometown. He applied to various Eastern Canadian universities as a challenge.

The campuses were gorgeous! Given his GED and low high school grades, most institutions did not call back when he applied to their pre-med / science programs. Sean was contacted by the UNB Fredricton Registrar, which changed his life. It was when he answered the phone that a nice lady explained that no university would accept him into a premed or science program without a math, science, or physics background. He took it in stride and inquired whether he could take pre-med and scientific courses as an arts student, as she suggested that he could take any course once registered. He became an arts student at UNB Fredericton with a full pre-med academic load. His career would not be where it is today without this callback and push to find a new approach to attaining the desired result, in Sean’s view. He wishes he had remembered her name and could thank her for going the extra mile to help him on his journey. Later, he transferred from pre-med to engineering and graduated on the dean's list. He developed new clubs and managed existing clubs and started a think tank and appreciated UNB Fredericton's growth and experience. He has applied his persistent solution- and result-oriented inventiveness to his job, helping him advance in the organization and provide value.

Sean discusses the strategies used by Mark Myrowich, the CEO and owner of ECBVerdyol, to expand their business. Mark created a staffing agency called Myrowich Staffing Agency to help Ukrainian immigrants find jobs in Manitoba. He recognized their talent and hired them, which greatly benefited ECBVerdyol. This success led to the formation of a team of Ukrainian immigrants who focused on providing the same benefit to other Manitoba companies. Sean personally got involved to help manage and grow the organization, as it provided both a benefit to the New Canadians and value to the Canadian economy.

According to Sean, the ECB's vision is divided into two parts: the external service and value they provide to industry with their products and experience, and the internal vision of how the organization runs. They are a growth-focused company and plan to continue to develop their current product offerings for their customer base and to develop more innovations for the industry as their partners demand. For this, Sean builds a team that can give a concept or vision 110% of what is needed with clear vision of the teams end goal and how each seat on the team can contribute to this.

That internal and external value add is invaluable to a company and its consumers. They do this by "reading in" their team members on the company's long-term goals. He believes helping team members grasp the final objective helps them provide value and advance toward it when the chance arises. It empowers people to act confidently and immediately generate value. This has been achieved through regularly communicating goals and how leaders may directly contribute to and affect goal progress, says Sean. He also adds that managing through COVID was an exceptional time to learn how to be nimble and agile as a leader.

Sean believes in knowing his people and treating them the way he would want to be treated. Adding that it sounds simple, but when there are so many of them, it can become more complicated but worth the effort. However, Sean thanks his mother for the advice she always gave him as a child: "Treat others as you would like to be treated." So they manage and lead the company by treating their employees fairly and recognizing that they each have their own lives, personalities, and personal needs. They are an employee-forces organization that creates a culture and workplace where individuals can come and provide food and shelter for themselves and their families and "leave as good or better physically and mentally than they came". They have established a workplace that treats work like play, has fun, and supports each other in and out of work.

Adding an example to the above mentioned, Sean also says they follow the rule "Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't", by Robert Sutton, PhD. In times of conflict, he will sit down with someone and tell them they're acting inappropriately and ask if they want to disclose what's wrong and how the company can help. If they act inappropriately again, they have this dialogue and make a strategy to help them integrate into their positive culture. If they still continue to act bizarrely, they ask them to find somewhere else to act this way.

In relation to competitors, Sean supports open and fair markets. He loves to know where and how his customers and how they sell items and other smart business practices to remain ahead of their clients. He enjoys learning about the organizations and their culture. He believes that knowing your business partners' cultures helps you connect and grow with organizations with healthy and strong cultures in today's highly linked world. Culture and vision inward and outward are keys to Sean’s plans for growth and prosperity of the companies he manages.

Sean is proudest of creating the safe, open, and honest culture at ECBVerdyol and seeing how it has positively impacted their team, customers, partners, and bottom line!




Sean James
Chief Operating Officer


ECBVerdyol was started by Mark Myrowich, a contractor in the erosion and sediment control industry who realized from his experiences that there was an abundance of fibers within North America.

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