Meet CPO2 Grimard – Senior Human Resource Manager


2Lt Jamie Boparai
Base Administration

A career road is rarely a straight line.

For Chief Petty Officer Second Class Mark Grimard, his journey to become the Base Administration’s Senior Human Resource Manager began in the army as a Primary Reserve armored solider with the Sherbrooke Hussars.

A few his friends joined the regiment right after high school while CPO2 Grimard took the college route, studying computer sciences before signing up.

“My original intention for joining was to pay for school, but it eventually turned into a long and rewarding career.”

When college concluded he went to work at CF Recruiting Centre Detachment Sherbrooke.

Two distinct realizations came out of this posting that led him down his current path. First, his education was better suited for employment as a Human Resource Administrator. At the time the trade was a combination of Finance and Human Resources (RMS Clerk) before being separated in 2016 into two distinct trades (Fin and HRA).

Second, he wanted to wear the navy uniform and deploy on a warship.

He moved into the RMS Clerk Trade while still in the army and began his three months of training in 2001.

Much of what he learned is still relevant today, he says, although it is done in quite a different fashion with the emergence of technology in the workplace.

“Back then we used hard copy binders to find policies and benefits. We also had to ensure the information was not dated or superseded by visiting various websites. We still do the same job today, but it’s much simpler. Everything is online and in one location. It makes life easier, quickly finding information while ensuring accuracy.”

In 2005, he choose the navy uniform when he transferred to the Regular Force. RMS Clerks are considered a “purple trade,” meaning they can conduct the same work within the air, land, and sea elements.

He honed his educational background and administrative skillsets through two army postings, one of which led to a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. Attached to a first line artillery unit, he says, “Being an HRA [RMS Clerk] gave me a feeling of still belonging to the army, although supporting in a different capacity” then his previous trade.

In 2015, 10 years after donning the naval uniform for the first time, CPO2 Grimard finally received a posting to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

In 2017, he was able to achieve his longstanding goal with a posting to HMCS Winnipeg and a deployment on Operation Projection.

Although a great experience, naval deployments are quite different than the army from an HRA perspective.

“In the army you deploy to a single location and that’s where you stay. Ships travel to different locations and we need to follow the rules and regulations of each country.”

This complicates matters as members are required to enter and leave various countries throughout a deployment.

“There are so many moving parts required to sail; being on board a ship provides a depth of knowledge and awareness that enables you to have a better perspective on how the navy operates.”

An HRA’s main role preparing for a naval deployment is ensuring members DAG (departure assistance group) and are fit from an administrative standpoint.

All of his experiences have prepared CPO2 Grimard for his current position as the Senior Human Resource Manager of Base Administration.

“Being on a naval base, having experience working in the fleet aboard ship gives you a better prospective on the operational requirements to support, not only base operations, but also the fleet.”

He now has a wide range of responsibilities that include pay and records, releases, foreign duty, and relocations services. To handle this enormous responsibility, he has a team of 40 military and civilian employees.

“It takes a bit of adjustment in managing so many personnel. You have to be personable, approachable, and a good listener.”

Mentorship and guidance are other important functions when working in a large department. “Personnel are constantly being posted in and out and we need to develop newcomers while preparing outgoers for their new roles.” 

The position has afforded the opportunity to display his traits of open-mindedness, adaptability, and flexibility to change, especially since the arrival of COVID.

“We now need to be flexible and push innovation that caters to the reality of our new environment in order to support our clients and the mission at hand.” 

For example, CPO2 Grimard and his staff are working constantly to lessen the requirements of customers physically coming in to the Base Orderly Room.

“We try to communicate by phone and email; physical documents are moving to e-docs at a rapid pace, which inherently speeds up processes. Even out-routines are all online now.”


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