Martin Soucy is no stranger to SEPAQ. At the age of 16, he took a student job in Oka National Park. “I really started out as a front-line employee,” declares the man who will become the new president and CEO of the Québec plein air association on February 5th.

Over the years, he rose through the ranks, most notably as Director of Oka Park, then Director of Mont-Tremblant National Park and Rouge Matawan Wildlife Reserve, and then Vice President of National Park and Camp Operations. Ta.

In 2016, he left SEPAQ to become director of the Quebec Federation of Industry and Tourism.

“The benefit of leaving SEPAQ and coming back to SEPAQ is that you get a different perspective, a step back,” he says. The great thing about retirement is that you can become a customer and evaluate the service without having to be involved in day-to-day management. »

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After seven years of dropping out in this way, Martin Soucy will have to take a few weeks to regain his footing and dig into more specialized files. But he already has some priorities, especially listening.

When we made changes, we discussed them with our customers. It will become part of my style.

Martin Soucy, new CEO of SEPAQ

We will especially listen to what our employees have to say. “Luckily, we have 3,500 employees who are in direct contact[with customers]. I think by listening, we always come up with something better.»

It also targets outdoor federations.

“I will obviously talk to the walking federation, but I will also talk to Belo Québec, who I worked with. I had the opportunity to have my first health check at SEPAQ. What I am going to do in my first 100 days is to get in touch and see what is being said.»

Martin Soucy is sensitive to users who think SEPAQ’s prices are too high, but points out that maintaining services and infrastructure is costly and state-owned companies also have maintenance obligations.

We want to keep parks and facilities accessible, so we pay attention to prices. This is important. If it becomes too expensive, it will only serve an elite group of people. But I think right now it’s very accessible and there’s something for every budget.

Martin Soucy, new CEO of SEPAQ

Some outdoor enthusiasts lament the inherent rigor of the SEPAQ process. A good example is the canoe camping circuit. You will often need to plan ahead which campsite you will use. However, difficult weather conditions such as strong winds can make it dangerous to venture out onto the waterway to proceed to the next location.

I’m not going to promise anything, but Martin Soucy is more flexible.

“I know because I’ve been canoe camping myself,” he says. I am very familiar with his SEPAQ system and customer service policy. »

He says he created many of these policies himself in the late 1990s and that they evolved over time.

“We need to simplify people’s lives and consider the type of customer we have. We need to consider how to achieve this objective, listening to outdoor enthusiasts. , when creating rules, we must remember that it is to protect the natural environment.»

For him, preserving the natural aspects of parks and reserves is important. In recent years, he has had the opportunity to visit American parks and take notes.

“I’ve seen in the US it’s very organized at times. Here I don’t think we’re at the stage where we’re pouring concrete on the roads. This is an important factor for me.”

One of Martin Soucy’s personal goals is to collaborate with local parks.

Regional parks are developing well and have a good network. They don’t have the same means or the same kind of infrastructure, but I think they would benefit from supporting everyone together to increase outdoor activity practices.

Martin Soucy, new CEO of SEPAQ

He also wants to encourage more cultural communities to visit Quebec’s parks.

“I am at the root of the EXP Chalet project, the family strategy and the partnership for the conservation of the park fringe zone. It’s about having a desire to improve the way you do things.»


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