Dustin Bowers, Founder and CEO of PLAEX Building Systems™, met Nagila at the Construction and Trade meet and greet organized by the Newcomer Connections Employment team at UNB Annex A/B in 2022.
“I knew right away when she came up that she was a great fit,” says Dustin. “She had already done all of her research and knew all about PLAEX and brought to the table all the amazing skills we were looking for.”
Nagila Almeida participated in the Skills Launch Adult Program at YMCA Newcomer Connections to prepare for the transition into the labour force, improve her English and learn about working in Canada.
“The opportunity was incredible. I could improve my English and receive government support while studying,” says Nagila. “Because of my education and experience, the Skills Launch Program prepared me for the interview with PLAEX.”
Nagila completed a university program in architecture and interior designing program in her home country before moving to Saint John with her partner.
“I really wanted to be a part of a company that values the environment, and at PLAEX, I found a team of co-workers that share these values,” says Nagila. “My routine at PLAEX ranges from assisting in development to creating products using designing software.”
PLAEX products are created through a composite material called PLAEXcrete™, made from more than 90% recycled waste. The company then uses this material to manufacture modular construction blocks that don’t require cutting or mortar; this saves builders time and labour costs.
Nagila has been pivotal in designing the first set of PLAEX projects. She is behind all the design work for custom PLAEX orders and is also assisting in creating PLAEX instructional booklets.
“Nagila’s willingness to learn and positive attitude have made her an excellent addition to our team. Her design skills have proven invaluable in bringing PLAEX project ideas to life, and we are grateful for her contributions,” says Dustin. “Her talent has allowed us to create designs that meet the needs of our clients. Specifically, Nagila has provided new ideas on products and processes, as well as producing realistic, easy-to-visualize models for PLAEX products that are currently in development.”
PLAEX has also been participating in the Newcomer Employment Champions [NEC] program, which supports employers in the Greater Saint John area in addressing challenges around the hiring, onboarding, and retention of newcomer employees.
“The collaboration between PLAEX and the YMCA’s NEC program has been instrumental in helping our company find and hire our talented architectural designer, Nagila De Almeida, as well as helped to connect us with other government departments which assist with additional human resources tasks such as employee wages,” says Dustin.
For their commitment to being ready to provide referrals for Settlement Resources for newcomers, supporting Language Learning, Employee Training and fostering effective communication in the workplace, PLAEX Building Systems™ also received the [NEC] Engagement Award in 2023.
“PLAEX is committed to building a better world for future generations,” said Dustin. “We believe that providing opportunities to newcomers through initiatives like these will make it easier for them to integrate into our society. We extend our heartfelt thank you and gratitude to everyone at the YMCA and the [NEC] program for all their efforts in making our community a better place to live.”