We want to give a big shout out to Riggit, who donated 400 pairs of boots to our 100 Boots Campaign, the largest in the history of EMBERS! For hundreds of new workers, these boots mean the difference between getting or not getting a job. Over the past several months, Riggit has donated a total of 400 boots to our Lending Libraries, making a difference in the lives of hundreds of workers. EMBERS’ Lending Libraries provide free boot and equipment rentals to those starting out. Steel-toe boots are expensive and represent a significant barrier for people to start working; without boots you can’t get on site. Riggit’s donation ensures our workers are able to start off on the right foot! 

Riggit is a full-service supplier of rigging, lighting and labour services and has been an EMBERS partner for over 10 years. If you’ve been to a concert at Rogers Arena or event with lighting and performers, chances are you’ve seen Riggit’s work! We had the opportunity to tour Riggit’s facilities and chat with Riggit’s General Manager, Matt Lees, to learn more about Riggit’s partnership with EMBERS and their commitment to social impact. Read our Q&A with Matt below! 

What sparked Riggit’s partnership with EMBERS?

To be quite honest, I was looking for a solution to our labour challenges. We kept running out of people. That’s simply because of the cyclical nature of the industry and at the same time each show has different needs as well. One event may need three people and another may need 300 people and the next, only 30. It’s hard to keep a consistent team of people that are readily available.

I thought if other companies and other industries can use temporary labour, which is essentially what I’m supplying, why can’t Riggit? Then it was a matter of searching out what labour companies are readily available and what are their reputations. In the research I came across the EMBERS website and fell in love with the story. That was the big one. The fact that you are EMBERS, you are the glowing beginning of the phoenix that is about to rise. That’s the thing that caught me; the community, the people. The people who want to be part of our community, those are the people I want to have working within my community. Those are the people that keep me excited because those are the people that are engaged and those are the people that have a need to be part of something.

I think we all as private entities have a responsibility to our local community and that’s what Riggit is. We are local. We are Metro Vancouver. That’s it. 

What is the importance of social impact for Riggit? 

You know, very self-serving, it makes me feel good. It’s absolutely delightful. It’s that giving to the community and being part of the community that gives me the ‘feels’. When I said to Rick, the owner of Riggit, that ‘this is the company I want to work with, this is in general EMBERS’ vibe, and this is what they do’, he was all over it. When we do need some extra bodies, EMBERS is the first phone call we make. That’s been almost since the very beginning. Ultimately, it’s all about community and giving back to the community. That just hits me in the heart. I feel that everybody needs to actively be participating in creating a better world. I can’t solve all problems, but I can certainly make my little sphere of influence that much better. 

What inspired Riggit’s donation to the 100 Boots Campaign?

The 100 Boots Campaign was something that really spoke to us. The first time we participated was pre-Covid with a monetary donation. Then, when we got connected with a local supplier of safety equipment, and we became a distributor, we thought, ‘hang on a second, we have the ability to buy more for less as a result of this.’ Then the second time around we donated 100 boots. The whole concept of the steel toes speaks to us because all of our people are in steel toes. Safety is the number one value at Riggit, so we get behind a safety protocol. We love EMBERS’ story and what you guys are all about. We just collectively got through a difficult time through Covid and now is the time that we need to step up and help each other. I can’t imagine what that whole time period was like for people who were living on the margins and were already struggling going into it. We all struggled mentally, emotionally and many struggled financially on top of that and we lost people and we got sick. So this was one of those, this-is-really-going-to-make-my-heart-grow-three-sizes, and we need to step up.

I had initially suggested donating the full one hundred pairs. Then after talking with our Financial Officer and Rick, Rick said ‘how many offices does EMBERS have?’ I said ‘I think there are four right now’ and he suggested looking at doing something a little bit bigger. It’s the right thing to do. And if a simple pair of steel toes is the barrier to you getting into the workforce, then let’s remove that barrier. This is right on brand, it speaks to what we are about. (NOTE: Riggit donated 400 pairs of steel toes!)

What is your advice for somebody starting out? 

The best question you can ask on any work site is ‘what’s next boss?’ That sends a clear message to your supervisor or whoever is leading you that you are engaged and that you want to do this. What a message to send. Those are the soft skills that you can’t teach people. That attitude. Showing up on time and showing up ready to go. Bring what you know to the table and be proud of that. We all have lots and lots of things that we haven’t had the opportunity to do or have never done so don’t apologize for not knowing how, but recognize that you don’t know. Be honest about that and say ‘if you show me, you won’t ever have to show me again.’ 


A huge thank you to Matt for participating in this interview and to Riggit for their generous donation to our 100 Boots Campaign! 

We are so grateful to Riggit for being a long-time partner and supporter of EMBERS. Riggit’s support allows us to create more work opportunities for people; ultimately changing lives through the power of work.