photo: Michelle Doucette

Boomer Town

A growing company with roots at Saint Mary’s, Boomerworks gives seasoned workers a chance to stay employed longer

By Renée Hartleib | fall 2014

Making it work in the Maritimes is a recurring theme for Kyler Crawford. He’s been around. Originally from Moncton, he completed two undergraduate degrees at St. Francis Xavier before a spell playing professional football in Germany. But it was a five-year stint at a large professional services firm in Ottawa that led to some serious thinking about reshaping his career.  >
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The 30-year-old began asking himself how to balance the good of the company against the value of its people. “I wanted to be in the room making the decisions, not outside the room waiting to carry out those decisions,” he says. “So I decided to go back and do my MBA at Saint Mary’s.” 

SMU was the perfect fit. Kyler names some “amazing profs,” like Kevin Schwenker, Russell Fralich, and Thomas Storring, who were able to make meaningful connections between academic theory and their own professional practice. 

Studying at SMU also meant a chance to see if Kyler could make it at home in the Atlantic region. “I wondered if I could do what I wanted and have the kind of success I wanted while living
in the Maritimes.”

So far, so good. 

“We’re helping keep experienced professionals in the workforce longer.”

As the Director of Operations for, an employment agency with a difference, Kyler helps connect retired and late career professionals with employers looking for experience and maturity. A mature startup, Boomerswork was started two years ago by Rick Emberley and is based on the premise that “the next person you hire should be able to help you immediately.”

“I like working there because I get to do exactly what I want to do—solve unstructured problems and challenge myself,” says Kyler, who is inspired and motivated by discussions about how Nova Scotia can pull together to address the province’s economic challenges. “We’re helping keep experienced professionals in the workforce longer. It’s a creative way to address succession planning, skills shortages, and other challenges that we collectively face.” 

Not only is Boomerswork helping seasoned workers stay in the game longer, the company has also established a way for new entrepreneurs to learn the ropes from someone with lots of experience. Through these types of mentoring partnerships, Kyler hopes he is helping to build the capacity and economy of his adopted home province.

With offices in Halifax and Florida and plans for expansion, Kyler and his colleagues consider the east coast their living lab, a place to try things out and see if they work. “We’re experiencing demographic and economic pressures here that are going to hit other markets like Ontario and the rest of North America later.”

While a lot of work, his job truly is a labour of love. “As a growing company, we all have to roll up our sleeves and do what it takes to succeed,” says Kyler. “At the end of each day, I know I contributed something to the company, to our clients, and to Nova Scotia. It feels really good.”

Campus Notes: “I give because I believe in Saint Mary’s University.”

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