Employee Profile – Paul Markle

Paul Markle, Executive Director of the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, has enjoyed an extensive and colourful career. 

It began when he was 13 years old. Working as a dishwasher at a local eatery, Paul fell in love with the restaurant industry the moment he was introduced to it. When he was 17, he started working for a McDonalds in the Metro Toronto Zoo, thus beginning a long-lasting relationship with the popular fast food franchise. 

He took to the work naturally and, within 6 months of being hired, was promoted to the position of Swing Manager. 

In 1988, wanting to take his involvement in the restaurant industry a step further, Paul entered the Hospitality and Hotel & Restaurant Administration program at Centennial College. In his third year, he received a job from a company that designed, sold, and manufactured trade show exhibits and point-of-purchase displays. 

With this company, Paul was a sales and marketing coordinator. He got experience working with some big name companies, such as Ford, Suzuki, Coca Cola, and Molson. But his best moment working with this company came in 1989. 

The company won a contract to install various architectural components inside the brand-new SkyDome stadium in Toronto. Paul was in the building the day before its opening, and he just happened to run into his old boss from the Toronto Zoo McDonalds. He gave Paul a job and, within 3 days, he was working for McDonalds in the SkyDome. 

He worked there from 1989 to ‘98, along with a total staff of about 2,500 crew members and 250 salaried managers. He worked his way through the levels and became a store manager in 1993. 

It was his first management position and for quite the restaurant, too. It was the main restaurant on the first level of the SkyDome. It had about 500 seats, 36 registers, and 350 total crew members to keep it operating. In total, it brought in multiple millions of dollars a year. 

With this on his resume, Paul received an offer to work a management position for McDonalds in Barrie. Glenn McKee, the man who offered him the job, was the same man who put McDonalds into SkyDome. He owned 6 restaurants in Barrie and wanted Paul to move north to work for him. So in 2003, Paul moved his family up to Barrie and began a new chapter. 

“I would consider him one of my mentors,” said Paul. “I owe him a lot in terms of teaching me how to be a good manager, being tough, and having high standards. He’s certainly been a big influence on my life.” 

Paul worked for McDonalds for another 7 years before deciding to go off on his own. 

In 2010, Paul and his wife bought a private investigation company in Barrie. With this company, Paul’s tasks included long-term and short-term disability investigations, background checks, and skip tracing, and he did plenty of work for banks, law firms, and insurance companies.

After running the business for 8 years, however, it was time to move on, and Paul switched to a sales position at a local company, using his extensive people skills and network to succeed. 

Paul was familiar with the Chamber. He had been a member of the Barrie Chamber since 2010 and had also sat on the Chamber’s board for several years. So when he saw they were looking for an Interim Executive Director to step up in May 2020, he went for it. After several months of hard work proving his commitment and leadership, the Board made it official, and moved him from interim to permanent. 

Now, as the Barrie Chamber’s Director, Paul’s got big plans for growing the organization into a state of higher relevancy. With growing the membership base and working on the Chamber’s strategic plan at the top of his list, Paul has already fast-forwarded productivity despite being stuck in a pandemic. 

All in all, Paul is looking to improve efficiency and effectiveness with helping Barrie’s businesses through the chamber. Indeed, it’s a great time to be a Barrie Chamber of Commerce member. 

Written by Peter Wilson

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