Ver-Mac is a family adventure inspired by Vernal McBain more than six decades ago. His son Raymond pursued the journey, and later, granddaughter Sandra-Lee, with her partner Whitney Richardson, propelled it to what it is today.
Ver-Mac owes its longevity to our team’s drive, our innovative spirit, our products’ reliability, and our outstanding customer service.
From production to sales, research to administrative support, more than 350 people work together to make the roads we travel or work on as safe as possible.
Raymond McBain merged his father Vernal’s forge workshop with the company he had created and called Ray-Mac. He kept the Ver and Mac from each name, forming Ver-Mac. At that time, Ver-Mac Inc. specialized in renting out drilling equipment and steel barriers.
As the road network was in full expansion at the time, there was a need to ensure the safety of work zones. Ray added “mannequins with an articulated arm” mounted on small trolleys, which indicated the path motorists were to follow, to his safety barrier rental service. Traffic cones and aluminum signs completed the offer. Ver-Mac built and occupied the first building in Colbert Industrial Park, at 2520 Watt Avenue in Quebec City, Canada.
The company began a major shift toward manufacturing and was Canada’s first manufacturer of illuminated arrow boards. All proudly produced in our manufacturing plant, our distinctive arrows were installed on supports mounted on vehicles or trailers, and were run with diesel engines.
Fresh out of university, Vernal’s granddaughter, Sandra-Lee, and her partner, Whitney Richardson, joined the team and learned the industry’s inner workings while nurturing big ideas for the company. A few years later, Sandra-Lee and Whitney took over the business.
Inspired by advances in optical technology, they launched the first towable arrow boards equipped with halogen lights and powered by solar energy. The design and manufacture of changeable message signs with light-emitting diode (LED) lights followed shortly after.
Ver-Mac started to acquire cutting-edge expertise in managing the energy consumption of portable traffic control equipment, resulting in reliable and innovative products.
When our portable changeable message signs (PCMS) and complementary products were launched on the market, sales shot up. Ver-Mac’s excellent reputation spread throughout North America’s road construction industry. Over the years, our equipment made its way to roads in Australia, the United Kingdom, South America, New Zealand and other corners of the world.
Adding modems to our portable changeable message signs allowed the messages to be changed remotely, thus increasing safety and the immediate relevance of the posted information. Eager to explore this world of possibilities, Ver-Mac acquired and optimized a software, the first version of what is now JamLogic. In addition to making it easy and efficient to manage traffic control equipment fleets, the algorithm enabled the setup of Smart Work Zones.
Sandra-Lee and Whitney ran into a problem, but a good one to have. To meet growing demand, they had to increase the company’s production capacity, but the original facilities could not be expanded further. They bought a second manufacturing plant, but quickly ran out of space again.
In 2003, they bought the current 80,000-square-foot building, bringing all operations under one roof and equipping it with state-of-the-art equipment and workstations. The adjacent land allowed the company to keep a large inventory of products ready for delivery. The team kept growing and was always on the lookout for ways to improve the work processes and methods.
To better meet our customers’ needs, we opened (in record time!) our first manufacturing plant in Houston, Texas. But history repeated itself, and soon the plant was too small. In December 2022, Ver-Mac moved its production to Conroe, Texas, to a 75,000-square-foot plant with huge storage space, perfect for keeping a large inventory of finished products.
Ver-Mac adopted Industry 4.0, adding robotic cells to its production line and installing a high-level ERP system to better integrate its activities. This will make it easier to manage operations at the two plants and obtain the data and management tools to help with decision-making. It will also make life easier for our employees and loyal customers.
The fourth generation, who also joined the adventure, is now preparing to write the next chapter of this success story. The big Ver-Mac family, made up of our dedicated employees, valued customers and partners, and close collaborators, is continuing down the road it embarked on over 60 years ago.
An early model of a Ver-Mac traffic signal. We had a different logo and a large control box!
A modern trolley-mounted traffic signal, solar-powered and compact.
One of our first trade shows!
Decades later, we’re at ATSSA to showcase our connected equipment.
Our illuminated arrows point the way to the right lane.
One of our arrow boards – circa 1980!