Fall 2006 - Vision V17 N6 2006 by gjjur4356


									                              FALL 2006                                         contents
                4    OCEAN INNOVATION                                                     20      PROFILE
                     Reducing Risk                                                                Passion and
                     and Saving Lives                                                             Persistence Paying Off
                     Marine expertise is helping to save lives                                    Centre of Environmental Excellence is
                     in harsh weather environments.                                               taking shape in western Newfoundland.

                7    COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY                                            23      ENVIRONMENT
                     Keeping an Eye                                                               Labrador EnviroTech:
                     on Polar Regions                                                             Seeing is Believing
                     C-CORE leads an international earth                                          A Labrador company uses a unique
                     observation project for the European                                         technology to protect the environment.
                     Space Agency.

                10   COVER STORY                                                          25      INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
                     Dare to be Different                                                         Q5 Systems Takes Flight in
                     Unconventional wisdom helps young                                            Airline Industry
                     entrepreneurs find their niche in global                                     Sophisticated software helps companies
                     markets.                                                                     comply with safety standards and

                14   IMMIGRATION                                                          27      INVESTMENT
                     New Residents Creating                                                       Dynamic Air Shelters:
                     New Opportunities                                                            Walking on Air
                     Immigrant entrepreneurs are helping to                                       How innovation and commitment are
                     diversify the provincial economy.                                            attracting companies to set up shop in
                                                                                                  Newfoundland and Labrador.

                17   LIFE SCIENCES                                                        29      SUCCESS STORY
                     Population Ideal                                                             Not Just a Bean Counter
                                                                                                  Coffee connoisseur stirs up business
                     for Genetic Research                                                         success in the perfect cup of coffee.
                     Province’s life sciences sector gaining
                     momentum and recognition in marine
                     biotechnology and human genomics.

                                                                                    is a publication of the Government of Newfoundland
                     and Labrador. To request a copy, please contact the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development,
                     P.O. Box 8700, St. John's, NL A1B 4J6. Telephone: (709) 729-7000, Toll-free: 1-800-563-2299, Facsimile: (709) 729-3208,
                     or e-mail: vision@gov.nl.ca. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 3

                                                                                             Randy Billard, CEO of Virtual Marine Technologies,
                                                                                             at the helm of a lifeboat simulator.

Reducing Risk and Saving Lives
       andy Billard, CEO of Virtual           “Lifeboat trainees don’t ever get a         company such as VMT is not just its

R      Marine Technologies (VMT),
       grew up in Isle aux Morts on the
south coast of Newfoundland. A place
                                            chance to train in weather conditions
                                            that are common to an offshore
                                            environment. They learn how to
                                                                                          physical proximity to the ocean, but its
                                                                                          location at the centre of a thriving
                                                                                          ocean technology cluster that has a
with a history of scuttling ships, where    launch in very benign conditions,”            worldwide reputation for excellence.
the waters can be treacherous and the       says Billard. “If you are in an                 St. John’s is home to world-
rocks craggy, it has a serious name. Isle   emergency situation 500 kilometres off        class research and development
aux Morts is French for “Island of the      the coast of Newfoundland and it’s a          infrastructure. Memorial University of
Dead.” An interesting name because          six or seven metre sea state, there are       Newfoundland’s Oceans Sciences
Billard’s company is all about saving       certain actions you must take.”               Centre is a leading Canadian cold
   VMT develops simulation training         It’s like driving a car, he says, you’ve got to practice ’til it’s second
for lifeboat operators with a particular
focus on modeling rough weather and         nature. And the only safe way to practice in dangerous conditions
harsh environments.
   Saving lives might just be in his
                                            is through simulation.
blood! Billard is a seventh generation
descendant of George Harvey who,               It’s like driving a car, he says, you’ve   oceans research facility. The Marine
with 17-year-old daughter Ann, 12-          got to practice ’til it’s second nature.      Institute’s flume tank looks at how
year-old     son    Tom     and     their   And the only safe way to practice in          water currents affect nets and fishing
Newfoundland dog, rescued 168               dangerous conditions is through               gear.
survivors from The Despatch, a British      simulation.                                     The National Research Council’s
brig that shipwrecked off Isle aux             Billard’s company is based in the          Institute for Ocean Technology (NRC-
Morts in 1828.                              province’s capital city of St. John’s, a      IOT) evaluates the design of vessels
   With Ann on the oars of their skiff,     city perched on the edge of the bold          and offshore structures in its ice tank,
they rowed back and forth picking up        North Atlantic. What makes this the           towing tank and offshore engineering
survivors and ferrying them to shore.       right environment for a young                 basin. The IOT’s wave tank is used

4 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                            www.gov.nl.ca
regularly to test yacht designs for               What more can you ask for?”                                   idea in the making.
America’s Cup syndicates.                            As a master’s student in                                      Statistics from the United Kingdom
   Consider that Newfoundland and                 engineering at Memorial University of                         confirm that more people actually die
Labrador has 500 years of experience              Newfoundland in 2003, Billard was                             in lifeboats than are saved and,
in the fishery, a growing offshore                recruited to work on an offshore safety                       remarkably, most of these fatalities
petroleum industry, more than 17,000              project headed up by Memorial                                 happen during safety drills.
kilometres of coastline, a yearly crop            engineering professor Brian Veitch.                              The challenge Madrock set for itself
of icebergs migrating south from                     The project’s mission at that time                         was to design and create a superior
Greenland and some of the wildest                 was to look at evacuation systems,                            lifeboat release mechanism – a hook –
weather anywhere. You’ve got a recipe             from their performance in extreme                             that’s what companies told him they
for innovation – whether in the area              conditions, to the training of lifeboat                       needed. Hooks were inadequate. They
of     iceberg    tracking   and       ice        operators who must launch in rough                            popped open, they weren’t able to
management, electronic navigation                 offshore conditions.                                          withstand harsh ocean environments,
and communications, or lifeboat                      With a talent for math and physics,                        and they weren’t user-friendly or low
simulation and design.                            Billard was given the job of figuring out                     maintenance or designed so operators
   Newfoundland and Labrador is                   the equations of motion for developing                        could carry out frequent safety drills.
home base for Rutter Inc., the                                                                                                  “We spend more time
company       that    pioneered                                                                                              at the front-end doing
development of voyage data                                                                                                   development work,
recorders for ships; ICAN sells                                                                                              designing       from       an
its marine navigation and                                                                                                    engineering point of view,”
communications software and                                                                                                  says Pelley. “When we
electronic charting systems                                                                                                  designed      the    lifeboat
worldwide; C-CORE manages                                                                                                    release mechanism, we
the Polar View project that                                                                                                  looked at what it had to do,
monitors Arctic and Antarctic                                                                                                how people had to interact
conditions for the European                                                                                                  with it, instead of what it
Space Agency; and, the                                                                                                       had to do to meet the
Canadian Centre for Marine                                                                                                   regulations.
Communications          recently                                                                                                “Regulations are there to
worked with Ireland’s Marine                                                                                                 make sure equipment has
Institute and the Geological                                                                                                 to meet some standards,
Survey of Ireland to help                                                                                                    but it has to perform better
complete the Irish National                                                                                                  than     just   the     basic
Seabed Survey.                                                                                                               standards.”
   Elizabeth Lawrence, City of                                                                                                  Pelley’s best day on the
St. John’s director of economic                                                                                              job so far came when he
development, tourism and                                                                                                     signed      a   deal     with
culture,     says    technology                                                                                              Barber Ship Management
clusters are common, but “the                                                                                                of Norway to refit several
wow factor here is that we’ve                                                                                                vessels with Madrock’s
got this community working                                                                                                   lifeboat release hook.
together, and momentum is Madrock has developed a new lifeboat release mechanism with warning characteristics which          Of course, it’s good
                                    ensure the lifeboat will not be released prematurely. Photo courtesy of: Madrock Marine
building.”                          Solutions                                                                                public relations when a
   Billard draws on this                                                                                                     leading marine equipment
expertise – the engineers, simulation             realistic simulation models and, very                         specialist, who also happens to be
experts, the ice and harsh weather                quickly he recognized the practical                           Norwegian, calls your product the
gurus – to create a product that aims             applications of this work.                                    safest in the world!
to remove the boundary between the                   As did another master’s student,                              Business partner Jason Dawe helped
real and virtual worlds.                          Dean Pelley, whose role was to                                supervise the refit in Europe and called
   “It’s like computer games with a               research the way lifeboats performed                          Pelley with good news: there’s great
purpose and a whole lot more realism,”            in extreme weather.                                           potential for future sales.
says Billard, who’s designing a lifeboat              “So, for example, I Iooked at what                           The past year has been a good one
simulator for the Marine Simulation               happens to a lifeboat in heavy sea                            for this young Newfoundland and
Centre in St. John’s, and a fast rescue           states and I saw that they didn’t                             Labrador company starting when
craft simulator for the Canadian                  perform very well,” recalls Pelley, who                       Madrock landed its first consulting
Coastguard Auxiliary in Victoria,                 later founded Madrock Marine                                  contract with Petro Canada, a partner
British Columbia.                                 Solutions with fellow engineer Jason                          in the province’s Terra Nova offshore
   “It is motivating knowing that you             Dawe.                                                         oil project.
are creating something that, when                    Pelley had the chance to present                              “That really got us out there, got us
used, will have an impact. A lifeboat             some of this research worldwide and,                          known,” says Pelley. Madrock sees
simulator can potentially save lives.             like Billard, saw a potential business                        itself finding its niche in the area of

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                              VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 5
The full mission ship bridge simulator at the Centre for Marine Simulation, an operational unit of the School of Maritime Studies at the Marine Institute in St. John’s. Photo credit: Dave Hebbard

marine evacuation technology where,                                  environments.                                                        simulation facilities.
Pelley says, there’s little money spent                                “Our particular expertise is in                                      “We don’t want people learning
in the area of research and                                          modeling      harsh      environments,                               something in the simulator and then
development.                                                         navigating in ice, operating in high sea                             going into the real world and that’s not
   Madrock takes it name from a point                                states, and iceberg management,” says                                how the real world worked,” says
of rock off Newfoundland’s rugged east                               Captain Anthony Patterson, director of                               Patterson, who knows about real world
coast where, in stormy seas, water hits                              the Marine Simulation Centre. “We are                                conditions on the high seas from his
rock in a mass of spray and foam. It’s in                            fortunate because we have people                                     days as an officer in the Canadian
this area, which is also the site of the
first transatlantic cable transmission,                              “We wanted something that connected us to our roots, we
that Jason Dawe learned how to build
boats in his grandfather’s shed.                                     wanted something that connected us to the harsh environment in
   “We    wanted     something      that                             which we live.”
connected us to our roots, we wanted
something that connected us to the
harsh environment in which we live,”                                 here who are experienced in ice                                      Coast Guard. “We have a very good
says Pelley. “We’re designing for the                                navigation, and we have a community                                  program and the word is out.”
hash environment, to be rugged and                                   that can model the problem.                                            The centre’s facilities and expertise
strong.”                                                                “It’s a natural thing for people who                              attract people from across North
   Along     with    rough     weather,                              sail out of Newfoundland and Labrador                                America, and more Europeans are also
Newfoundland and Labrador even has                                   to be exposed to bad conditions on a                                 signing up to learn about operating in
its own iceberg alley. Now that can                                  regular basis. Our role is to get people                             the kinds of conditions that exist in the
make things a bit unpredictable.                                     prepared to operate in these kinds of                                North Atlantic.
   Icebergs are a specialty at the                                   conditions.”                                                           “We’re pushing the envelope quite a
Marine Institute’s Marine Simulation                                    The centre works closely with                                     bit when it comes to high seas states
Centre where vessel operators,                                       Memorial’s engineering faculty and the                               and ice navigation,” says Patterson.
shipping companies and offshore oil                                  Institute for Ocean Technology, raising                              “We see simulation as a way of
and gas companies learn about                                        the bar of excellence and putting the                                reducing risk.”                         •
working        in    hostile      ocean                              latest scientific research to work in its

6 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                                                                www.gov.nl.ca
                                                                COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY

                                                                                        Looking out from a helicopter, the frozen Lena River in
                                                                                        Siberia is monitored by C-CORE and the Polar View team
                                                                                        for ice breakup. Photo courtesy of: C-CORE

Keeping an Eye on Polar Regions
     rom his office in Newfoundland           The scientist, an Italian, works with      “What is so intriguing about

F    and Labrador’s capital, St. John’s,
     C-CORE president and CEO
Charles Randell brings up a favourite
                                           the Polar View program managed by C-
                                           CORE for the European Space Agency.
                                           He helps produce the satellite
                                                                                      this is that we’re using satellite
                                                                                      monitoring, and extremely specialized
                                                                                      interpretations, and making that
image on his computer screen. It’s a       information that the Inuit hunter uses     information applicable and meaningful
photo of an Inuit hunter from Pond         to make sure the area where he hunts       to Inuit on the ice, to people at risk of
Inlet, in the Canadian Arctic, standing    is safe.                                   floods, to people running yachts
with a scientist from the European            Because     of    climate    change,    around the Antarctic and, of course,
Space Agency.                              indigenous people are finding it           to people in Newfoundland and
   Randell enjoys this photograph for      increasingly difficult to predict ice      Labrador,” says Randell.
its uniqueness – how often do you get      conditions. And that puts them in             “Earth observation can be such an
to see an Inuit hunter and a European      danger.                                    esoteric thing. To use the information
scientist in the same picture? He             The program is attracting lots of       you practically need a PhD. C-CORE
marvels at how it sums up the very         media interest and Randell says it’s       and the Polar View team have people
intent of the Polar View project, a $14    because Polar View is demonstrating        who are experts at putting this
million initiative that aims to make       how satellite technology can make a        information in a form that even people
satellite monitoring, also known as        difference in people’s lives. This kind    who don’t speak the same language
earth observation, more accessible to      of technology delivers information in      can use.”
people who live or have an interest in     real time, regardless of weather              Indigenous     hunters,    trappers,
the world’s Polar Regions.                 conditions such as fog and cloud.          people     who      deal   with     civil

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                          VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 7
RIGHT: An Inuit hunter from Pond Inlet in the Canadian Arctic standing with a scientist from the European Space Agency.
Photo courtesy of: C-CORE

emergencies, monitor river ice                                     spring, causing rapid flooding,” says
breakup for potential floods, or need                              Randell. “This year, because we were
information about glacier melts or                                 able to identify breakup, they
snow extent – these are just some of                               (emergency response officials) were
Polar View’s clients.                                              able to get in and evacuate people.”
   Randell brings up a second image on                               The $14 million Polar View program                   pay for the information they receive.
his computer screen that was taken                                 is a consortium of international                       GMES is expected to continue
from a helicopter looking out at the                               companies, research institutions, and                  operating under this arrangement until
frozen Lena River in Siberia. Looking                              universities from Canada, Denmark,                     at least 2008.
down you can see trucks and strange                                Finland, France, Germany, Italy,                          The idea behind GMES is to get
looking buggies with massive tires. In                             Norway and the United Kingdom.                         satellite earth observation information
spring the situation is quite unstable.                              Developed and managed by C-CORE,                     into the public domain for the public
Ice breakup causes flash floods that                               the program is part of a larger program                good. The security in GMES is typically
                                                                                                                          of the non-military kind.
                                                                                                                                “It’s information to help us
                                                                                                                          understand climate change, to combat
The $14 million Polar View program is a consortium of                                                                     ocean pollution, to help improve food
international companies, research institutions, and universities                                                          security in Africa,” says Randell.
                                                                                                                          “Ultimately, the holy grail would be
from Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway                                                             that people use earth observation the
and the United Kingdom.                                                                                                   way they use the weather service.”
                                                                                                                             Polar View focuses on the Arctic and
                                                                                                                          Antarctic. It’s one of three GMES
can kill people and destroy homes.                                 known as GMES (Global Monitoring for                   programs sponsored by the European
Thanks to Polar View’s ice-monitoring                              Environment and Security). It’s                        Space Agency. There is no disputing
services, officials are now able to                                completely funded by the European                      the importance of monitoring these
evacuate communities in precarious                                 Space Agency which means that                          regions where issues around safety of
situations.                                                        Canadian Inuit hunters, Siberian                       life, economic sustainability, climate
   “Two years ago, 28 people were                                  government officials and others who                    change and pollution are having an
killed when the river broke up in the                              use Polar View’s services don’t have to                impact on Europe and Canada.

8 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                                 www.gov.nl.ca
   As ice retreats and the extent of
natural resources in the Polar Regions
becomes more apparent, there
are also potential issues around
sovereignty, resource development
and transportation.
   What makes Polar View an anomaly
is that a Canadian company is
managing the program for the benefit
of European citizens: a fact not lost on
many European organizations. In the
beginning some questioned C-CORE’s
role as Polar View lead.
   Because the Canadian Space
Agency saw value in GMES, it invested
money in the project which opened
the door to Canadian involvement. C-
CORE’s proposal for a project called
Northern View, the only successful
Canadian submission, focused on the                                                                                      Photo courtesy of: C-CORE
   Eventually Northern View was
chosen as one of 10 proposals on a
list that was eventually whittled to
                                           New Website Tracks Icebergs
three. That’s when Northern View was
expanded to include the Antarctic
and the project became Polar View.
   It was certainly a coup for this
                                           When              a German cruise ship,
                                                              the Hanseatic, sailed
                                           from Hamburg and circumnavigated
                                                                                              earth observation specialist. Dodge is
                                                                                              resident iceberg expert, and heads up
                                                                                              iceberg detection services for the Polar View
Newfoundland        and       Labrador
                                           Newfoundland in May 2006, passengers               program.
                                           were eager to see icebergs. And see them               “I really wanted to do something for the
   “We knew we were doing a good
                                           they did, thanks to a nifty new website called     tourism industry. Every summer friends call
job, so we were delighted and
                                           IcebergFinder.com.                                 me and ask where all the icebergs are,” says
somewhat astounded,” says Randell,
                                              Hanseatic Captain Ulf Wolter logged onto        Dodge, who usually tracks icebergs located
describing C-CORE’s reaction to
                                           IcebergFinder.com and was able to pinpoint         far off shore. “I always wanted to have a
winning the contract.
                                           the location of several bergs off the tip of the   service that looked at icebergs along the
   But for 30 years now, C-CORE has
                                           province’s Great Northern Peninsula – his          coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
built a solid reputation developing
                                           passengers were thrilled!                             With that in mind, Dodge submitted a
engineering solutions for harsh
                                              Captain Wolter is just one of many              proposal to the Canadian Space Agency
environments. They are recognized
                                           international visitors to use the site since its   (CSA) to create an iceberg website service
world leaders in many fields, and for
                                           launch in the spring of 2006.                      for tourists. The CSA has a program that aims
over a decade have used satellite
                                              Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador           to develop new ways of using satellite
imaging to track icebergs and carry
                                           reports that people from all over the world        technology and demonstrate its practical
out ice monitoring. C-CORE also has a
                                           are logging on and signing up to receive           applications in the public realm.
talent for taking applied research and
                                           updates on iceberg locations. “We’re seeing           C-CORE’s role in the website project is to
making it real.
                                           visitations from this province, the rest of        keep an eye on the icebergs and make sure
   C-CORE officials in charge of the
                                           Canada, the United States and from as far          IcebergFinder.com has a list of the most
program spend a lot of time in
                                           away as Australia,” says its executive             current crop. The website’s technical and
Europe cultivating relationships. The
                                           director Nancy Healey. “Numbers have               educational components are also handled by
international program is so successful
                                           exceeded our expectations.”                        C-CORE. You can track the icebergs and read
that Randell was asked to deliver a
                                              IcerbergFinder.com is a collaborative           about how satellites actually detect them.
keynote      address     on    building
                                           project involving Hospitality Newfoundland            The site is easy to use and easy to follow,
successful consortia at the Ocean
                                           and Labrador, C-CORE, well known for its           and that’s quite deliberate. “We’re taking
Innovation 2006 conference in St.
                                           iceberg expertise, the Canadian Space              advanced technology and presenting it to
John’s in October.
                                           Agency, the European Space Agency, the             people in a simple way,” says Dodge. “People
   “The best part of this program is
                                           Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and           don’t have to understand what satellite
that we have such a diversity of
                                           the provincial department of Tourism, Culture      technology is to use the site.”
participants. From private companies
                                           and Recreation. The intent is to increase             While the emphasis is on iceberg location
to universities, you’ve got Canadians
                                           tourism, particularly in the spring, which is      tools, visitors to IcebergFinder.com will also
and Europeans from nine different
                                           the prime iceberg-viewing season.                  find information on driving itineraries and
countries, languages and cultures.
                                              The website concept is the brainchild of        general travel features about Newfoundland
   “To get everyone pulling in the
                                           Kelly Dodge, a C-CORE project engineer and         and Labrador.                                •
same direction is great.”              •

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                   VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 9

Jonathan Brett, president of MedicLINK Systems Ltd.

Dare to be Different
      verything about Verafin Inc. feels new          other young engineers named Brendan               loyal following, particularly in the credit

E     and a little unconventional. The walls
      are painted in bright, primary colours,
the space is wide open and there’s a
                                                      Brothers and Raymond Pretty. “We
                                                      educated ourselves early to find a place
                                                      where we could fit and, six months in, we
                                                                                                        union world.
                                                                                                           “They (NLCU) got us out of the gate,
                                                                                                        took a chance on us from day one and we
noticeable lack of cubicles. Even the desks           decided there was a fit with mid-size             haven’t looked back since then,” says King.
are unique – custom designed so this crew             institutions.”                                    “That led to quite a few credit union
of 20-something and a few 30-something                   While most of the competition fights it        customers in Atlantic Canada and out
engineers, IT and business specialists can            out for the big banks, Verafin stays focused      west, including the largest credit union in
work together.                                        on offering a technology applicable to            the country.”
   “We couldn’t find desks conducive to               both.                                                The company got its start as a research
collaboration, so we built our own,” says                The Verafin difference is in the way its       project in the faculty of engineering at
Verafin’s 32-year-old president Jamie King.           software detects suspicious transactions          Memorial University of Newfoundland.
“It’s a team environment. We have a lot of            using artificial intelligence technologies.       Funded by Dave Kelly, a BC-based
group decision making.”                               It’s tackling the growing problems of debit       businessman with Newfoundland and
   Verafin is a young Newfoundland and                card fraud and money laundering in an             Labrador roots and a passion for nurturing
Labrador company making a name for                    unconventional way which is what you              local business, the task was to come up
itself in the financial sector. With its suite        might expect from this rather                     with a way to detect money laundering.
of software that detects suspicious                   unconventional company.                              “Our background in artificial intelligence
financial transactions, such as debit card               “Prior to 9/11, there were all sorts of        and robotics allowed us to develop a
fraud and money laundering, its                       wire transfers going on and these sorts of        superior product,” says King, who expects
technology is being snapped up by small               technologies would have gone a long way           U.S. sales to increase substantially, along
and mid-size financial institutions across            to detect that,” says King, whose specialty       with opportunities in locations such as
Canada and the United States.                         is in the area of robotics.                       Australia and the Caribbean.
   “I think it’s very difficult for a young              Verafin sold its first software suite to the      What’s the reason for his optimism? A
company to focus and not chase the global             Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union            firm belief in the quality of Verafin’s
market,” says King, an engineer who                   (NLCU) back in 2004, and since then the           technology, the resolve and perseverance
started the company back in 2003 with two             company has built a solid reputation and a        to make things happen, and a major

10 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                 www.gov.nl.ca
                                                                                                                  complementary skills and a great on-the-
                                                                                                                  job dynamic - they found their niche in the
                                                                                                                  wireless RFID world.
                                                                                                                     “Primarily we’re into mobile RFID
                                                                                                                  applications. We focus on scenarios where
                                                                                                                  assets are in the field and the worker
                                                                                                                  needs to go to the assets,” explains Taylor,
                                                                                                                  displaying the patented and very portable
                                                                                                                  IDBlue™ wireless (Bluetooth®) RFID pen
                                                                                                                  reader that fits into a slick black case.
                                                                                                                     Early on in product development,
                                                                                                                  Cathexis connected with a company in
                                                                                                                  France that helped fast track IDBlue™ and
                                                                                                                  get it on the market in just one year. It was
                                                                                                                  a lucky break for the company.
                                                                                                                     Another lucky break for Cathexis is the
                                                                                                                  strong relationship they’ve cultivated with
                                                                                                                  software giant Microsoft.
                                                                                                                     “We’re one of only six companies
                                                                                                                  worldwide to have a RFID hardware
                                                                                                                  partnership with the company, and we’re
                                                                                                                  the only one that has a wireless RFID
                                                                                                                  reader,” says Taylor. “We are very proud of
                                                                                                                  that and it gives us a lot of visibility in the
                                                                                                                     But there’s no resting on laurels,
                                                                                                                  especially in the ever-changing tech sector.
                                                                                                                  Cathexis remains focused on the use of
                                                                                                                  RFID technology in maintenance and field
                                                                                                                  applications, but is also concentrating on a
From left to right: Raymond Pretty, Jamie King and Brendan Brothers of Verafin.
                                                                                                                  software product to use in tandem with the
                                                                                                                  IDBlue™ pen reader.
                                                                                                                     The Newfoundland and Labrador Forest
investment recently by St. John’s-based                            only 30-years-old.                             Fire Protection Centre, which falls under
Killick Capital, an equity investment firm.                            The company partners know their skill      the provincial department of Natural
   “We’re really excited about what they                           sets. Taylor handles the business side of      Resources, is a local client already seeing
can bring, not just the financial                                  the things with Mark Gillingham, vice-         the benefits of this new system.
component, but also their management                               president of sales. Colin Power and Mark          The centre, located in the central
expertise,” says King. “We’ve been moving                          Simms are focused exclusively on               Newfoundland town of Gander, is the main
forward ever since.”                                               technology development.                        depot for all forest fire fighting equipment
   Another young high tech company on                                 St. John’s-based Cathexis didn’t set out    in the province. With several regional
the move is Cathexis Innovations Inc., best                        to blaze new trails in the world of RFID       depots across the province, and many
known for its IDBlue™ RFID (radio                                  technologies. They were into robotics          assets to count, fire protection officials are
frequency identification) pen reader. It’s a                       engineering, and it was a fortuitous trip to   able to track their inventory through a
compact piece of technology with a                                 the electronics store that provided a          secure website using software developed
multitude of applications for everyone                             collective eureka moment for the group.        by Cathexis.
from retail shoppers to field workers to art                          “One of the guys came across RFID as           It’s a precursor for a full software
gallery patrons.                                                   part of their research we were doing in        product the company plans to launch in
   RFID is an asset tracking and visibility                        robotics,” says Taylor. “It instantly          2007.
technology - think of it as the next                               resonated with all four of us. We instantly       “When we launch the product you won’t
generation in bar codes. The small, rugged                         felt that passion for it and believed in its   need any software,” says Taylor. “It’ll be all
RFID tags can be attached to virtually any                         tremendous potential. Every one of us said     web-based asset tracking and it’ll be
object and read using a unique wireless                            yes, this is what we were going to focus       offered as a service, as opposed to
radio frequency signal from an RFID reader,                        on.”                                           spending hundreds of thousands of dollars
such as IDBlue™.                                                      Immediately they began experimenting        in software.
   Founded in 2001 by four Memorial                                as they had as engineering students               “There are tremendous applications for
University of Newfoundland engineering                             working      in    the    faculty’s   INCA     this, huge applications that we are going to
students who can trace their genesis as                            (Instrumentation,         Control       and    focus on. We’re at a point where we’re
entrepreneurs back to a fourth year                                Automation) lab. Taylor likens that            turning the corner from a lot of hardcore
robotics course, Cathexis is now in its fifth                      creative process to structured chaos.          research and development to stronger
year of operation. The elder statesman of                             With lots going for them – smarts,          sales and marketing.”
the group, company CEO Steve Taylor, is                            determination, personal chemistry,                Sales and marketing are becoming

12 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                             www.gov.nl.ca
From left to right: Cathexis company partners Mark Gillingham, Steve Taylor, Colin Power and Mark Simms with the IDBlue™ pen reader. Reprinted with permission from: The Telegram

increasingly       important      tools    for                   with a custom-made product.                                       institutions – they found a lucrative niche.
MedicLINK, another young company                                    “I didn’t think of selling it to other                            Brett shares his office at the Genesis
exporting its product across Canada and                          optometrists until they started calling me                        Centre with Matt Simms, the company’s
into the U.S.                                                    and asking for it and it snowballed from                          business development manager and a
   Headed by 26-year-old Jonathan Brett,                         there,” says Brett, who began selling his                         recent business graduate of Memorial
MedicLINK develops software for the                              new product from the basement of his                              University of Newfoundland.
optical industry.                                                parents’ home.                                                       “We’ve been picked up so well because
   EYESISTANT is marketed as eye-care’s                             Now he’s based at the Genesis Centre, a                        we’ve worked really hard to get feedback
first virtual assistant.                                         support network for technology-based                              on what users liked and didn’t like to make
   Until recently, MedicLINK has marketed                        businesses located on the campus of                               the product much more intuitive,” says
and sold its product exclusively in Canada.                      Memorial University of Newfoundland. The                          Simms. “We’ve taken the opportunity to
But the company has just made its first                          Genesis Centre takes clients with                                 learn from people in the industry and
foray into the U.S. market with a sale of                        innovative technology and helps them                              integrate their ideas with our ideas. People
EYESISTANT to a chain of optical stores in                       access business and marketing expertise                           appreciate how we listen.”
Florida, and there is interest from a                            in order to commercialize their good ideas.                          The best compliment MedicLINK has
national chain based in Nevada.                                     Like Verafin, also a client of the Genesis                     received to date came during a 2006 trade
   The opportunity came following a Team                         Centre, MedicLINK’s technology offered                            show in Vancouver. A respected industry
Canada Atlantic trade mission to Florida in                      something fresh and different from what                           consultant had a look at the company’s
May of 2006, organized by the provincial                         the competitors were selling.                                     latest version of EYESISTANT, which has
department of Innovation, Trade and Rural                           “A lot of the software out there right now                     just been released, and declared it the best
Development          and      the      federal                   can help save the receptionist’s time, but                        piece of industry software she’s ever seen.
government’s           Atlantic       Canada                     ours actually helps grow the business,”                           Better even than software that retails for
Opportunities Agency.                                            says Brett. “We’ve coined the term,                               over $40,000 - significantly higher in price
   Brett’s introduction to the world of                          ‘workflow management system,’ taking                              than MedicLINK’s EYESISTANT.
business began only a couple of years ago                        everything that happens within the                                   The company says its drive to succeed,
as a young computer programmer just out                          business and integrating that into our                            its new ideas and fresh approach gives it
of school and doing contract work for a                          software. That’s our advantage.”                                  an edge in the marketplace.
number of local organizations. An                                   MedicLINK is focused on the optical                               These young entrepreneurs say the best
optometrist friend needed new computer                           industry for the same reason Verafin                              way to build a business is to be inventive,
software for his business, so Brett came up                      zeroed in early on the smaller financial                          find your niche and stay focused.          •

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                                                     VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 13

New Residents Creating New Opportunities
     he community of Trinity, located on    preservation award.                          Canadian immigrants – Ontario. After

T    the province’s Bonavista Peninsula,
     has long held a deep connection
with immigrant entrepreneurs from
                                               What compels a young woman from
                                            the Netherlands to make her way to the
                                            sleepy community of Trinity to purchase
                                                                                         some time there, she made the move to
                                                                                         Newfoundland and Labrador with her
                                                                                         husband who had been offered a
Europe. Historians can point to             a 150-year-old dilapidated building and      position at Memorial University of
evidence that European fisherman            turn it into a successful B & B?             Newfoundland.
utilized the well-protected harbour            Tineke’s interest in Canada was             Within a week of moving to the new
seasonally in the early 1500s and, by the
end of the 17th century, were beginning
to settle in increasing numbers due to a
strong fishery.
                                            Since June of 2005, the provincial government has been
   Looking at Trinity today, more than      engaged in developing an immigration strategy that will aid in
200 years later, it’s easy to see that
immigrant entrepreneurs continue to         increasing awareness of the benefits of immigration.
make a valuable contribution to the
area’s economy. We look no further than
Trinity’s own Tineke Gow, owner and         piqued as a young adult after viewing        province, she had the opportunity to
operator of Campbell House B & B.           pictures taken by friends who had            travel to Trinity.
   Opened in 1990, Tineke has               migrated here from their native Holland.       Recalling her first impressions she
developed Campbell House B & B into a         “I thought it was so beautiful,” she       says, “I thought it was absolutely unique
4-star resort offering its 2000 annual      remembers.                                   and that triggered the desire to buy a
guests      a   luxurious     vacationing     It wasn’t long after that experience       cottage.”
experience. The resort consists of five     that she went from looking at pictures to      That one cottage grew into two, the
separate buildings, all of which have       looking at the real thing. She migrated to   second of which was Campbell House –
been given heritage site status with one    Canada in 1967 at the age of 20 to a         named after James Campbell, a
winning       a    provincial    heritage   popular destination for a majority of        prominent teacher of navigation, who

14 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                www.gov.nl.ca
had lived there. Restoration began and
with it the beginnings of Campbell
House B & B.
   Through her entrepreneurial pursuits,
Tineke has taken a lead role in
contributing to Trinity’s sustainability.
Campbell House B & B employs nine
people during the high season and the
owner attributes a lot of her success to
the staff.
   However, her true inspiration comes
from the community of Trinity itself.
   “Everyday I listen to terrible news
from all over the world and I wonder
how I ended up in heaven.”
   Tineke’s example is the type of
experience of which Newfoundland and
Labrador would like to see more.
Consequently, the province has recently
initiated a proactive approach to
marketing itself internationally as an
attractive immigrant destination.
   Since June of 2005, the provincial
government has been engaged in
developing an immigration strategy that
will aid in increasing awareness of the
benefits of immigration. It will also
address a number of priority issues,
including building awareness inside and
outside the province, increasing
attraction and promotion activities,
securing international graduates as
potential immigrants, addressing skills
shortages, supporting the integration
and retention of immigrants by ensuring
quality settlement services and
developing welcoming communities.
   In advance of the official strategy,
there have been a number of                 Tineke Gow is the owner and operator of Campbell House B & B in Trinity. Photo courtesy of: Campbell House B & B
accomplishments to date. In February of
2006, the provincial department of
Human Resources, Labour and                 associated with immigration. For                                 who would start businesses, creating
Employment, the lead department for         example, some people may not                                     opportunities for themselves and for
provincial      immigration     matters,    understand the difference between an                             local residents, as well as fill skills
launched      a    new     website     at   immigrant and a refugee and we feel our                          shortages and hard to fill positions.
www.hrle.gov.nl.ca/hrle/immigration.        newsletter can assist in providing clear                         Newfoundland and Labrador has used
The website, available in both official     definitions,” says Paul Shelley, minister                        immigration successfully in the past to
languages, offers potential and new         of human resources, labour and                                   fill skilled positions. For example, over
immigrants a plethora of information        employment.                                                      40 per cent of the province’s doctors are
relevant to the province in such areas as     As a way of introducing some of the                            foreign born.
history and geography, education and        inspiring and motivational stories such                              A part of the strategy, and perhaps
culture.                                    as Tineke’s to the public, Diversity:                            serving as the driving force behind it, is
   In March and June of 2006, the           Opportunity and Growth magazine was                              a more proactive approach to building
department released the first two issues    released in March 2006. The magazine                             awareness abroad. Approximately 70
of The Newcomer – a quarterly               demonstrates the contributions that                              per cent of all new Canadians decide to
newsletter on immigration in the            immigrants make to the economy of the                            call the larger centres of Toronto,
province.                                   province.                                                        Vancouver and Montreal home.
   “The purpose of the newsletter is to       All of these efforts are laying the                                Newfoundland and Labrador hopes to
build awareness and educate the public.     groundwork for a solid immigration                               capture a share of those numbers
Due to the complexities involved,           strategy framework. Ideally, the                                 through a combination of increased
there’s a lack of understanding and         immigration strategy would result in an                          marketing efforts such as participating
some confusion around certain terms         increase in the number of immigrants                             in immigration fairs, educating people

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                                VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 15
                                                                                                                                 the Markland Cottage Winery on the
                                                                                                                                 Avalon Peninsula in 1993. It has since
                                                                                                                                 been renamed Rodrigues Winery and
                                                                                                                                 owns the distinction of being the
                                                                                                                                 province’s first winery. It has continued
                                                                                                                                 to grow in both capacity and in the
                                                                                                                                 variety of wines produced from wild
                                                                                                                                 berries and pesticide-free fruit to
                                                                                                                                 become Canada’s largest, exclusively
                                                                                                                                 fruit winery. Furthermore, in 1998, the
                                                                                                                                 Kashruth Council of Toronto certified
                                                                                                                                 the Rodrigues Winery kosher, the only
                                                                                                                                 Canadian winery with this designation.
                                                                                                                                 In 2000, the Orthodox Union approved
                                                                                                                                 the equivalent designation in the United
                                                                                                                                    Dr. Rodrigues has recently expanded
                                                                                                                                 his entrepreneurial portfolio to include
                                                                                                                                 Natural Newfoundland Nutraceuticals
                                                                                                                                 Incorporated. The spin-off company is
                                                                                                                                 involved in the research and
                                                                                                                                 development of nutraceutical products
                                                                                                                                 using berry fruits such as wild
                                                                                                                                 blueberries, bilberries, cranberries,
                                                                                                                                 lingonberries, and sea-buckthorn.
                                                                                                                                    When it came time to hire a
                                                                                                                                 biochemist with the necessary
                                                                                                                                 experience required to understand the
                                                                                                                                 multifaceted aspects of the science
                                                                                                                                 behind the business, Dr. Rodrigues
                                                                                                                                 called upon the NLPNP to assist him.
                                                                                                                                    The NLPNP was successful in
                                                                                                                                 recruiting Dr. Pranav Bhatt, a respected
                                                                                                                                 biochemist from India. The NLPNP
                                                                                                                                 assisted Dr. Bhatt with a work permit to
                                                                                                                                 get him to Newfoundland and Labrador
                                                                                                                                 as quickly as possible to begin work
                                                                                                                                 with Dr. Rodrigues. Once in the
                                                                                                                                 province, Dr. Bhatt applied to the
                                                                                                                                 provincial nominee program and
Dr. Hilary Rodrigues is the owner of Rodrigues Winery, the only kosher certified winery in Canada. Photo credit: Donna Spurvey   received his permanent resident visa in
                                                                                                                                 12 months.
                                                                                                                                    “On the whole, I could not have
on the infrastructure and the                                      for nomination are accepted in one of                         chosen a better path to Canada than the
opportunity that exists in the province,                           three categories: Occupational/Skilled                        NLPNP,” elates Dr. Bhatt. He is also more
and developing services to support and                             Worker, Immigrant Entrepreneur and                            than     satisfied    with     his    new
retain the immigrants once they are in                             Immigrant Partner (www.nlpnp.ca).                             surroundings.
the province.                                                         “The NLPNP seeks to recruit                                   “Since experiencing Newfoundland
  One complementary tool that the                                  immigrants who have specialized                               and Labrador, I would not choose any
province already has in place is the                               occupational or entrepreneurial skills,                       other place in Canada. This province
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial                               and is a valuable tool for employers to                       delivers the social security my family
Nominee Program (NLPNP), which is                                  hire skilled workers and to attract new                       and I require with the sense of safety
administered by the provincial                                     skills,” says Trevor Taylor, innovation                       that comes from living in a small and
department of Innovation, Trade and                                minister.                                                     friendly community.”
Rural Development.                                                    The program has helped one very                               The result is a company that was
  Through an agreement with the                                    successful immigrant entrepreneur                             started in Newfoundland and Labrador
Government of Canada, the Government                               recruit internationally for a brand new                       by individuals from Tanzania and France
of Newfoundland and Labrador may                                   venture.                                                      with the support of a highly skilled
nominate immigrants, who can                                          Dr. Hilary Rodrigues, along with his                       scientist from India – a great example of
contribute to the economic and social                              wife Marie-France who is originally from                      the type of diversity of which the
goals of the province, for permanent                               France, immigrated to Canada in 1974                          province is looking to have more.       •
residence status. Currently, applications                          from Tanzania and eventually founded

16 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                                        www.gov.nl.ca
                                                                                                             LIFE SCIENCES
                                                                                                         His questions led him to
                                                                                                     genetic       research.     Gulliver
                                                                                                    partnered with Dr. Eugene Farber, a
                                                                                                   noted American pioneer in psoriasis
                                                                                                  research. Working with the province’s
                                                                                                founder       population,     the    two
                                                                                               discovered the psoriasis genes.
                                                                                                With about 90 per cent of
                                                                                             Newfoundlanders descended from 10,000
                                                                                             to 20,000 settlers that arrived from
                                                                                             England, Ireland and Scotland, it’s this
                                                                                             founder population that is so valuable for
                                                                                             genetic research. There isn’t a lot of
                                                                                             variation within the genes and this makes
                                                                                             it easier to find certain anomalies.
                                                                                                Dr. Gulliver’s original study was able to
                                                                                             pinpoint the genes that cause psoriasis
                                                                                             using DNA from 200 families in this
                                                                                             founder group - about one-tenth of the
                                                                                             sample size needed in a more diverse
                                                                                                  “We’ve had certain evolutionary
                                                                                             pressure here in this province,” says
                                                                                             Gulliver. “We’ve had a lot of poverty and
                                                                                             we’ve had a lot of tuberculosis (TB).
                                                                                             People have had to survive. So, having
                                                                                             psoriasis may have been a survival

Population Ideal for
                                                                                             mechanism, may have protected you
                                                                                             against TB. People with psoriasis also
                                                                                             have fewer infections.
                                                                                                “Our next study is the possible link
Genetic Research                                                                             between psoriasis and metabolic
                                                                                             syndromes such as diabetes, high
                                                                                             cholesterol and high blood pressure,” he
      nce it seemed the domain of             heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador’s        says. “There’s a lot of talk about that

O     science fiction, but these days
      biotechnology is the fastest growing
sector in the global economy.
                                              founder population (original, small
                                              population) makes it ideal for genetic
                                                                                                Gulliver is also working with
                                                                                             researchers from Memorial University of
   In Newfoundland and Labrador it’s a           “Biotechnology is really the way of the     Newfoundland on new treatments for
small but thriving industry with scientists   future,” says Renee Williams of Nati, the
and entrepreneurs pinpointing the genes       Newfoundland and Labrador Association
that cause disease, pioneering new, more      of Technology Industries. She points to
effective ways to administer vaccines,        the provincial government’s innovation
and developing diagnostic tests that          strategy launched in 2006 as an important
could help tailor drug therapies to           milestone for the sector because of its
individual patients.                          attention to life sciences.
   Biotechnology is the merging of biology       “Biotechnology has a lot to do with
and technology for applications in            improving human and animal health for
agriculture, food sciences and medicines,     the good of the population,” she says. “It’s
to name a few.                                going to be around for a long time.”
   Operating more or less under the radar        Sounds like a recipe for long-term,
for a number of years, the province’s         significant economic growth.
biotechnology       sector    is   gaining       That’s the way St. John’s-based
momentum as well as recognition for its       dermatologist Dr. Wayne Gulliver sees it.
expertise in two particular areas: marine     He’s founder of NewLab Clinical Research
biotechnology and human genomics.             and a local pioneer in the area of human
   The province does have certain natural     genomics.
advantages in these areas. Five hundred          It was curiosity in the high incidents of
years of living and working on the North      psoriasis he saw in his patients that led
Atlantic has helped build a pool of           him into the field over 10 years ago. This
                                                                                             Dr. Gulliver examines a psoriasis patient as part of his
knowledge related to cold ocean               skin condition appeared to run in families     research into pinpointing the genes which cause the skin
environments. And the unique genetic          and, for some, it was debilitating.            condition. Photo courtesy of: NewLab Clinical Research

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 17
Researchers at Newfound Genomics investigate genetic links in Type II diabetes, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.

psoriasis that target the HLACw6 gene,                                Drugs that treat psoriasis and other                            institutions - it makes for a kind of
one of the psoriasis genes he and Dr.                              related conditions exceed $4 billion in                            synergy that Coady enjoys.
Farber discovered. Drugs that target TNF-                          sales annually.                                                       “This company is helping to improve
alpha, the other gene they discovered, are                            Back at the Nati office in St. John’s,                          medicine, and that’s one of the things that
already on the market.                                             Renee Williams says biotechnology is                               motivates me when I come to work every
   NewLab recently made a substantial                              where information technology was 20                                morning.”
donation to the university’s faculty of                            years ago. It’s on the cusp of big things                             On the genetic research side of things,
medicine that will help build capacity in                          and governments, more than ever before,                            Newfound Genomics continues its
the area of proteonics, which is the large-                        are working with industry to build a                               investigation of Type II diabetes,
scale study of proteins.                                           cluster of innovation and opportunity in                           osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel
   Geneticist Terry Lynn Young, an                                 the sector.                                                        disease and obesity, under the direction
assistant professor at Memorial’s school                              “We are on the cutting edge of                                  of the company’s lead science officer, Dr.
of medicine, is focused on Newfoundland                            biotechnology right here in this province,                         Proton Rahman.
and Labrador’s founder population in her                           and I am very proud of that,” says                                    Originally focused on gene discovery,
work on the Atlantic Medical Genetics                              Siobhan Coady, CEO of Newfound                                     Newfound Genomics has increased its
and Genomics Initiative.                                           Genomics in St. John’s. “It’s a pretty                             lines of business to include clinical
   An ambitious four-year study funded by                          exciting world out there.”                                         research and pharmacogenomics.
the provincial government, Genome                                     Founded several years ago, Newfound                                Coady sees enormous opportunity in
Canada and other sources, the project                              Genomics is also making a name for itself.                         this area. Pharmacogenomics uses DNA
aims to identify genes and gene mutations                          With its genotyping platform, the only one                         information to determine how an
for some major diseases including cancer                           east of Montreal, the company does work                            individual metabolizes a certain drug so
and cardio-vascular disease.                                       for academic institutions such as                                  treatment can be tailored to those results.
   It’s research that fascinates and                               Memorial, the universities of Toronto and                             “It’s personalized medicine, and that’s
inspires. But it’s not just about the awe                          Alberta, and institutions as far away as                           really where we see the future of
factor - there is a potential for tangible                         Seoul, South Korea.                                                medicine,” she says. Newfound Genomics
economic benefit.                                                     They’ve been published numerous                                 hopes to have regulatory approval in 2007
   “We have so much opportunity here to                            times in accredited international journals,                        for a pharmacogenics diagnostics test
help the patients and make discoveries,”                           frequently for their research into the                             that would be used to treat depression.
says Gulliver. “If you make a discovery, it                        province’s founder population. And on                                 There’s certainly plenty of activity
would be very significant for the                                  any given day they’re collaborating with                           around human health in the province’s
province.”                                                         scientists, researchers and academic                               biotechnology community. But exciting

18 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                                              www.gov.nl.ca
                                                       Wine Producer Entering
research in the marine sector is also
taking place. Enhancing fish growth,
developing hardier cod broodstock, and
                                                       Nutraceuticals Market
improving drug and vaccine delivery for
the aquaculture industry are just a few
   Like most developments in the
biotechnology sector, much of the work
has origins in a university lab. That’s how
Nova Lipids got its start back in 1998.
   Nova Lipids is a drug and vaccine
delivery research and development
company focused on the animal health
   “We’ve been looking at development of
a liposome-based delivery system for the
aquaculture industry,” says Nova Lipids
president Shelley King. “Because of
Newfoundland and Labrador’s focus on
the marine sector, it was a natural fit.”
   It’s also potentially quite lucrative.
   “It’s a global market for aquaculture
species,” says King. “People are eating
more and more fish and, because of the
pressures on fish stocks, more of that is     Dr. Hilary Rodrigues, owner of Natural Newfoundland
coming from aquaculture. It’s a global        Nutraceuticals Inc. Photo courtesy of: NNNI
   What sets Nova Lipids apart from
other companies focused on animal
health is the company’s focus on a
liposome-based delivery system.
                                               Dr.      Hilary Rodrigues, the dentist and
                                                        entrepreneur who owns Rodrigues
                                               Winery and Natural Newfoundland
                                                                                                       Rodrigues has a long-standing interest in
                                                                                                    wellness, and he thinks his big idea has hit at
                                                                                                    just the right time.
   Liposomes are made from natural             Nutraceuticals Inc. (NNNI), is what some                “I think our health is suffering terribly at
compounds. They are small spheres of           might call a visionary – he thinks big!              the moment because of many factors, like
lipids and other components that can be           Back in 1993 he opened Newfoundland               stress for example, that cause problems with
combined with small amounts of                 and Labrador’s first winery in Markland, a           our immune system,” he says. “We can
vaccines or drugs and then delivered to        community in eastern Newfoundland that’s             mitigate that with high quality antioxidants
specific areas in the animal. They tend to     not exactly known for its vineyards or its hot,      made of fruits and berries that are bio-
be less toxic and produce fewer side           dry climate. Yet the fruit winery is a big           available, meaning they are produced
effects for people and animals.                success, exporting across Canada and                 naturally.
   “Most liposome-based products are           internationally.                                        “In the next decade about 10 per cent of
focused on human health,” says King.              Natural Newfoundland Nutraceuticals is            our purchases will be in the wellness area,”
“We are different because we focus on          Rodrigues’ entry into the fast-growing biotech       he says. “More and more people are going to
animal health. It’s a very viable niche        sector.                                              become knowledgeable about wholesome
market for a small company.”                      “It’s a progression for us,” says Rodrigues       foods and wellness products. We have
   Nova Lipids has a platform technology       from his office at the winery, about a one hour      studied the trends and the trends tell us we’re
that can be applied to different drugs and     drive from St. John’s. “We’ve been making            right on the money.”
vaccines for a wide variety of animal          wines and spirits, using about 150,000                  And just to make sure he gets things right
health. The goal eventually is to broaden      pounds of fruit, and we’ll be using another 12       at NNNI, he has on staff a chemical engineer,
the company’s focus.                           million pounds for our nutraceuticals.”              a doctor of holistic Indian medicine and a
   “Biotechnology is a growing sector             Having studied the concept for a couple of        biochemist. He’s also got sophisticated
within the province,” says King, who           years, and completed a successful one-year           leading-edge technologies that are unique in
represents the biotechnology sector on         pilot project, the company hopes to begin            the country, and designed to dry and
Nati’s board of directors. “It’s small, but    commercial production in the near                    powderize fruits and berries while retaining
has the potential to grow.”                    future. NNNI plans to sell its                       the highest nutrient levels.
   “We have a very robust, diverse             nutrient/antioxidant rich powders and juices            With commercial production set to begin,
biotechnology sector,” agrees Coady. “We       made from fruits, such as blueberries,               NNNI’s plan is to construct a $5 million
have a lot to contribute. We have the          bilberries, cranberries and sea buckthorn            facility that will eventually employ up to
right environment and the right                berries, in the local and international              60 people. Starting out with its line of
population. We also have a great               marketplace.                                         powders and juices, the company will expand
university. There’s no reason why we              But why not simply stick to practicing            into other products for the health and
can’t have a very strong sector in the         dentistry and making wines?                          wellness market.                             •
knowledge economy.”                       •

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                       VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 19

The Forestry Centre at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook. Photo courtesy of: Memorial University of Newfoundland

Passion and Persistence Paying Off
     he Centre for Environmental                       the visionaries on the ground are making                               resource and knowledge-based economy

T    Excellence (CEE), now taking shape
     in the Corner Brook region on
Newfoundland’s west coast, is a dream
                                                       the concept a reality.
                                                           “One of the things that amazes me is
                                                       that they were able to keep the idea going
                                                                                                                              on the west coast.”
                                                                                                                                 Some of those persistent luminaries are
                                                                                                                              still involved. Many of them in fact are
10 years in the making.                                all those years,” says CEE project manager                             members of the CEE’s advisory committee.
   In fact, the CEE was the recurring dream            Kevin Clarke, seconded from his position                               Their early ideas were adopted when the
of a group of forward thinking academics,              at the Marine Institute in St. John’s for his                          CEE became official policy.
business leaders, non-governmental                     planning expertise and his talents in                                     The CEE is an economic development
organizations and officials from all levels of         building new programs and initiatives.                                 strategy, as Clarke likes to point out during
government. The more they                                                                                                                  the many presentations he’s
talked about it, the more their                                                                                                            given lately. It’s not an
great idea took shape until it                                                                                                             actual brick and mortar centre,
was finally adopted as policy by                                                                                                           though        investment        in
the provincial government in                                                                                                               infrastructure is crucial to the
2003.                                                                                                                                      CEE’s long-term success.
   “Our government believed                                                                                                                   “I really believe that the CEE
very strongly in this concept                                                                                                              will help transform this
from       the    start,”    said                                                                                                          region,” says Tom Marshall,
Premier Danny Williams. “We                                                                                                                minister of justice. Marshall,
recognized the potential to                                                                                                                the Progressive Conservative
develop the western region as a                                                                                                            member for Humber East on
centre for excellence, and our                                                                                                             the province’s west coast, is a
investments have enabled                                                                                                                   keen supporter of the
us to build on the significant                                                                                                             initiative that is a centre piece
environmental industry activity         Kevin Clarke, project manager, and Doreen Churchill, project officer, at the secretariat office of for economic development in
which was already underway              the Centre of Environmental Excellence in Corner Brook.                                            western Newfoundland.
in that region. Through the CEE                                                                                                               “It won’t happen overnight of
we are positioning Newfoundland and                        “They were visionary, passionate and                               course, but we’re not exactly starting from
Labrador as an international leader in                 had some key ideas - that we should                                    scratch. We have some tremendous assets
applied environmental research and                     concentrate on our natural resources, on                               on which to build and we have people here
development.”                                          sustainable development, and make a                                    who were talking about issues around
   The Premier notes that while                        substantial investment in post-secondary                               sustainable development long before it
government financially supports the CEE,               education and research to help build a                                 became fashionable anywhere else.”

20 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                                      www.gov.nl.ca
The Bonne Bay Marine Station, situated in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, offers students a premiere learning environment and researchers a first-rate facility for marine ecosystem research.
Photo courtesy of: Memorial University of Newfoundland

   With Marshall’s and the Premier’s                               Ecosystems, these assets help form the                              number of research facilities, academic
support, the CEE has become more than                              backbone of the CEE strategy.                                       institutions and private companies located
just an intriguing concept. Over the past                             The strategy’s cornerstone is its focus                          within the region, the goal of the CEE is to
couple of years the initiative has received                        on what Clarke calls research and                                   build the same kind of capacity in western
funding to establish a secretariat and build                       economic development pillars. The west                              Newfoundland emphasizing the region’s
an economic development strategy.                                  coast can build a competitive advantage in                          particular strengths and assets.
   The CEE secretariat opened in 2005 at                           a sustainable forestry and tourism                                     “Our premise is to use the university to
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial                             industry and rural and municipal                                    help diversify and grow the economy,”
University of Newfoundland’s west coast                            infrastructure. Also key is the building of                         says Bowers, explaining Grenfell’s
campus. It’s staffed by Clarke and project                         expertise in these pillars, investment in                           involvement in the CEE. “We need to make
officer Doreen Churchill, a young PhD                              post-secondary education and research                               the university more relevant and more
student and former Grenfell graduate.                              and development, and nurturing industrial                           useful to the community, and one of the
Working with consultants and the CEE                               development.                                                        ways we do that is through advancing and
advisory committee over the past few                                  “It’s a strategy that’s based on                                 developing our research agenda. Research
months, Clarke has put together an                                 sustainable development of the area’s                               is a $20 billion business in Canada, so
economic development strategy that aims                            natural resources, based on the idea that                           there’s a natural link between the
to build on the region’s assets.                                   we can transform the economy from                                   university and the private sector.”
   Anyone familiar with the west coast of                          resource-based        to    resource     and                           Research not only builds expertise, but
Newfoundland knows it is an area of                                knowledge-based,” says Clarke. “It’s a long-                        it helps stimulate the economy by creating
spectacular natural beauty. It’s a natural fit                     term strategy that will roll out over the                           opportunities to commercialize ideas.
as an environmental centre of excellence.                          next 15 years.”                                                        One of the most exciting recent
Mountain ranges, great swathes of forest,                             Because of the emphasis on post-                                 developments for the college is the
lakes and rivers that run through a number                         secondary education, Sir Wilfred Grenfell                           appointment of a Canada Research Chair
of communities and a national park that is                         College and the College of the North                                in ecological economics, which is the
also an acclaimed world heritage site -                            Atlantic play pivotal roles in the CEE.                             business of sustainable development. It’s a
western Newfoundland has a wealth of                               Members of the project management team,                             full-time funded research position that will
natural resources.                                                 they helped to conceptualize the centre of                          help Sir Wilfred Grenfell College build a
   Together with academic institutions                             excellence and turn it into something real.                         capacity in key issues relevant to the CEE.
that house unique programs in, for                                    “The centre is really about building                                Bowers is also excited about one of the
example, environmental studies, natural                            confidence in our people so that we can                             CEE’s first projects, the Humber River
resources, adventure tourism, and offer                            take leadership in these areas, in rural                            Basin project. Led by Natural Resources
facilities such as the Bonne Bay Marine                            Newfoundland and Labrador, and we can                               Canada, Grenfell and the Institute for
Centre, the Natural Resources Canada                               succeed,” says Dr. Wade Bowers, associate                           Biodiversity, Science and Research, all
Forest Research Centre, the Institute for                          vice-principal of research.                                         located on the Grenfell campus, it’s a
Biodiversity, Science and Research and the                            Just as St. John’s has expertise in marine                       partnership involving many government
Geospatial Research Facility for Terrestrial                       and ocean technology, with an impressive                            and community players. The project will

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                                                          VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 21
address many issues related to sustainable     programs in areas such as forestry,
development of a variety of resources,         tourism and fish and wildlife, the college is
from forests to rivers to adventure            well-positioned to play a central role in
tourism, and it will also help demonstrate     developing the CEE. In fact, the only forest
to the community what the CEE is all           resources technician program in the
about.                                         province is offered at the College of the
   Over at the College of the North Atlantic   North Atlantic’s Corner Brook campus.
in Corner Brook, campus administrator             “At the end of the day the CEE is all
Brent Howell and research coordinator          about making things better for people,”
Glenn Payne agree that involving the           says Howell, who is also the college’s dean
community is key to the CEE’s success.         of tourism and natural resources. “As our
   With its cluster of natural resource        research activities expand, our capacity

                                                                                               The Geospatial Research Facility uses the most modern
                                                                                               mapping, sensing and data collection techniques. Photo
                                                                                               courtesy of: College of the North Atlantic

                                                                                               will grow and that will help create new
                                                                                               business and employment opportunities
                                                                                               for the area.”
                                                                                                  Payne says the college’s Geospatial
                                                                                               Research       Facility    for    Terrestrial
                                                                                               Ecosystems, known as the GRF, also
                                                                                               advances the CEE because of its focus on
                                                                                               applied research.
                                                                                                  “What’s at the heart of the facility is a
                                                                                               partnership that involves all the major
                                                                                               players in the province responsible for
                                                                                               forestry management,” says Payne, who
                                                                                               serves as project manager of the facility.
                                                                                               “We have about 20 different projects
                                                                                               looking at how to use new technologies to
                                                                                               support better decision making. A lot of
                                                                                               the stuff we are doing helps advance some
                                                                                               of the CEE’s goals.”
                                                                                                  One of his favourite GRF examples is a
                                                                                               new project that uses emerging
                                                                                               technologies to create a visual, three-
                                                                                               dimensional world. Payne says it will make
                                                                                               for better ecosystem management
                                                                                               because the general public will get to see,
                                                                                               for example, how a particular forest
                                                                                               harvesting strategy will actually look on
                                                                                               the landscape.
                                                                                                  It’s the kind of project that will improve
                                                                                               the way forests are managed, and that
                                                                                               builds environmental excellence, which is
                                                                                               what the CEE is all about.
                                                                                                  “We all believe in the potential of the
                                                                                               CEE,” says Howell. “We have a significant
                                                                                               opportunity to have a sizable impact in
                                                                                               this area. We have a cluster of programs in
                                                                                               each of our institutions that position us
                                                                                               well, we have an ideal physical
                                                                                               environment and a variety of ecosystems
                                                                                               right at our doorstep.”                     •

22 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                              www.gov.nl.ca

                                                                                                                       Photo courtesy of Labrador EnviroTech

Labrador EnviroTech: Seeing is Believing
      elieve in the product. It’s one of the basic   instantly remove the entire range of             ability to address specific pollutants and
      tenets of business. If you’re 100 per          organic chemicals from water. This class of      applications by utilizing the optimal
      cent behind your product, your                 compounds is known as MYCELX.                    substrate for a particular application. This
confidence will translate to your clients               MYCELX has the ability to remove              is how Bauld’s company applies the
and manifest in sales.                               volatile and non-volatile, water soluble and     technology.
  Toby Bauld and Samuel Broomfield are               water insoluble organic compounds.                   “What we actually do is use a system
the owners of Labrador EnviroTech Inc., an           Materials that can be removed from water         where the MYCELX is infused into filters.
aboriginal company based in Goose Bay,               by MYCELX include crude oils, PCBs,              When the oil-water mixture passes through
Labrador.                                            emulsions, chlorinated organics and other        the filter, the filter grabs the oil molecules
  Incorporated in June 2004, Labrador                contaminants.                                    while letting the water pass through.
EnviroTech licensed the MYCELX                          “In its natural form, MYCELX is a liquid.     Depending on the contaminant we are
(pronounced my-cell-ex) technology from              When oil is combined with water and is           trying to remove, we will use a specific
Ontario’s E.M.R.P. Inc., the authorized              agitated, the oil tends to break down and        filter designed for a specific molecule,
Canadian distributor of MYCELX products,             spread out, becoming more uniform                whether it’s for oil, PCBs or even dry
to become the Newfoundland and                       throughout the water and thus more               cleaning fluid.”
Labrador representative for the product              difficult to separate. MYCELX, when                  Once he understood the fundamentals
and the unique services it can offer.                introduced to the oil-water mixture, will        of the technology, Bauld’s background in
Labrador Envirotech uses the technology              cause the oil molecules to attract to one        the     environmental         industry    was
as the heart of its environmental                    another. If you agitate it long enough it will   instrumental in identifying the economic
decontamination service.                             begin to thicken and solidify to the point       opportunities of applying the technology
  “When I saw this technology I was                  where you can lift the oil out of the water,”    to a wastewater treatment and spill
impressed with what it could do. Anyone              explains Bauld.                                  response enterprise.
who sees the technology working is                      Furthermore, MYCELX Technologies                  “My background is in the environmental
immediately impressed,” says Bauld.                  Corporation       has     also    developed      industry and, prior to starting this
  Located in Gainesville, Georgia, MYCELX            proprietary and patented processing              company, I worked for a company that
Technologies Corporation has synthesized             technology which enables the infusion of         responded to oil spills. I’ve done a lot of
and patented a revolutionary new class of            the MYCELX chemistry into a variety of           training related to oil spill cleanup and
compounds which have the ability to                  substrate materials. This allows for the         worked on a couple of major oil spills in

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                         VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 23
Toby Bauld, vice-president of operations for Labrador EnviroTech, using MYCELX to decontaminate a water tank. Photo courtesy of Labrador EnviroTech

Gander and Botwood, in central                                    equipment has a meter that monitors the                           either work on site with the client to
Newfoundland. When I came to Labrador, I                          ppm level of the water discharge and it has                       decontaminate the water or it can install a
decided to open this company with my                              a max setting of 10 ppm. The                                      system for the client to use continuously
partners after seeing the potential                               environmental limit is 15 ppm. If the level                       with periodic audits by an environmental
applications of MYCELX,” says Bauld.                              goes       above      10ppm,     the   pump                       officer.
   And what exactly does Labrador                                 automatically shuts down. It’s a pretty                              Labrador EnviroTech has recently
EnviroTech do?                                                    unique system,” adds Bauld.                                       identified another market - residential
   “We have the technology to remove                                  As an added bonus, Labrador                                   water treatment. The company now carries
contaminants from water. If you’re dealing                        EnviroTech can do all of this on site.                            water systems that can be configured in the
with different kinds of fuel, PCBs, oil, etc.,                        “The biggest thing that makes our                             home. It uses a process of reverse osmosis
when placed through our filtering system it                       company unique is that I personally don’t                         to return to the user water that is
will remove that contaminant from water.                          know of any other system that offers the                          comparable and, in some minds, even
The cleaned water is then returned to the                         same level of service as ours and is                              surpasses bottled water. The company is
environment,” says Bauld.                                         portable. We can treat the water right on                         securing business one home at a time.
   One scenario provided by Bauld                                 site instead of a client hiring a company to                         “We sit down with the customer and
describes a situation where a company has                         come in, collect the water, truck it away                         present our products in a way to help the
set up a wash base at an industrial site to                       and treat it at a facility. With our service,                     customer decide what solution is best for
clean engine parts or vehicles. The water                         the costs and liabilities for the client are                      their situation,” explains Bauld.
resulting from this process is contaminated                       low. Filters are collected, placed in a large                        Labrador EnviroTech has an eye on the
with any amount of detergent, oil, other                          drum and disposed of. In the past,                                future and it will take them beyond the
chemicals, etc. This company may be                               businesses had to contend with trucking                           kitchen sink.
outputting contaminated water with a                              the water over the Trans-Labrador highway                            “We are looking at the possibility of
contaminant reading of 750 parts per                              which proved daunting at the best of times.                       expanding into other jurisdictions
million (ppm). Labrador EnviroTech can                            Our system removes that anxiety and                               including Nunavut.
take that same water, place it through its                        liability for the client.”                                           “We’re also looking at alternative
system, and remove virtually all of the                               The business is a very dynamic one and                        applications. For example, run-off basins
contaminants.                                                     no two contracts are the same. In fact,                           located in street culverts and in parking
   “In the past, companies would let this                         there’s an entire process for each and                            lots are areas that receive water with a
water run off to a drainage system which                          every client with whom the company                                number of contaminants, perhaps most
itself emptied into the environment.                              enters into contract.                                             notably oil leaking from vehicles. MYCELX
Today’s environmental regulations are                                 “Clients who look to purchase our                             has a product that acts as a catch basin
much stricter and tests are often                                 products or services must supply us with                          that fits well in such an opening. If
performed by environmental officers to                            an analyzed sample of their water so that                         installed, the catch basin would filter out
determine the level of contaminants                               we can understand what is exactly in the                          all of the contaminants that would enter
present,” says Bauld.                                             water and how to proceed. We’ll send that                         the basin eventually making its way into
   In this light, companies are looking to                        sample to the lab who will return a                               the environment.”
Labrador EnviroTech’s services as a                               recommendation to us regarding what                                  On the marketing side of things,
solution to safeguard against regulations                         filters to use and any other processing                           Labrador EnviroTech is eager to promote
violations.                                                       procedure that should be put into place.”                         the brand and Toby Bauld believes that the
   “While returning the water to the                                  Commercially, the company’s systems                           more people who see the product will
environment, as a further safeguard, our                          can be delivered in a couple of ways. It can                      believe in the product.                   •

24 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                                            www.gov.nl.ca
                                                                            INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Q5 Systems Takes
Flight in Airline Industry
  f you don’t know exactly where to find    customers. They use Q5’s products to

I Q5 Systems in St. John’s, you’re likely
  to pass it by. There’s no splashy sign
out front and nothing prominent to hint
                                            ensure     compliance
                                            standards and regulations.
                                                                        with    safety

                                              Think of the Q5’s software as a very
of its status as an internationally-        sophisticated version of a safety
recognized developer of occupational        checklist, one that asks questions,
health, safety, and security management     sends reminders, and prompts staff to
solutions for some very big clients.        get things done.                              Lufthansa, Air France, Air Canada,
  Well-established U.S. companies such        The company’s technology solutions          United Airlines, Australia’s Quantas Air
as Liberty Mutual, Southwest Airlines       have a broad range of applications, but       and many more.
and US Steel have implemented the Q5        Q5 has spent the past year making a              “The contract is a milestone in our
solution. With a few exceptions, Q5         name for itself in the airline industry. In   history,” says John Lukins, one of three
Systems is focused on export markets        fact, 2005 was the year Q5 really took off    company founders who started Q5 in
                                                                                          1997. “If an international organization,
                                                                                          like IATA, has adopted your software,
Q5 sells to companies across a number of industries                                       and say it’s the one they want to use, it
where health and safety standards are crucial to                                          really gives us huge credibility in the
                                                                                          airline industry.”
a company’s bottom line. Hence the software is                                               Over the next two years the software
applicable to virtually everyone. Construction,                                           will be used to conduct operational
                                                                                          safety audits on IATA’s 265 airlines
mining, insurance, air travel, food services,                                             around the world.
universities, even national parks are all customers.                                          “We pulled out all the stops to get the
                                                                                          IATA contract because we knew if we
                                                                                          could sell to IATA, it would be a
beyond Newfoundland and Labrador’s          - literally!                                  breakthrough. Now we’ve got our foot in
backyard.                                       The company signed an agreement           the door of almost every airline
  Q5 sells to companies across a            with the International Air Transport          worldwide - actually we’ve got most of
number of industries where health and       Association (IATA) to implement a             one leg in the door!” jokes Lukins.
safety standards are crucial to a           system for conducting operational                “When someone like Air Canada or Air
company’s bottom line. Hence the            safety audits of all of its 256 member        France comes along and asks what kind
software is applicable to virtually         airlines around the world.                    of software you use, the fact that we
everyone.      Construction,    mining,         The IATA’s membership list is             have the contract with IATA gives them
insurance, air travel, food services,       substantial and includes the biggest          some comfort that we might be the right
universities, even national parks are all   airlines you can think of, including          solution for them as well.”

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                             VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 25
                                                                                                               couldn’t pass up, and I’ve had great fun.
                                                                                                               There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t
                                                                                                               enjoyed coming to work,” says Lukins.
                                                                                                                  Over the past few years there have
                                                                                                               been some very good days for Q5.
                                                                                                                  Another milestone for the company
                                                                                                               came in 2004 when its management
                                                                                                               system was accredited by the
                                                                                                               International        Organization      for
                                                                                                               Standardization (known internationally
                                                                                                               as ISO).
                                                                                                                  “It’s a rigorous process that we go
                                                                                                               through to ensure that anything that
                                                                                                               touches the customer has been quality
                                                                                                               assured, that everything has been
                                                                                                               tested and checked and there are no
                                                                                                               mistakes,” says Lukins.
                                                                                                                  The ISO stamp of approval is
                                                                                                               prestigious and tells the world that Q5’s
                                                                                                               products meet the highest standards of
                                                                                                               quality assurance. The company is the
                                                                                                               only audit software company globally to
                                                                                                               receive this designation.
                                                                                                                  The recognition gives Q5 certain
                                                                                                               bragging rights when it looks for
                                                                                                               potential       customers.    The     ISO
                                                                                                               designation and the IATA contract all
                                                                                                               add up and it’s as good as money in the
                                                                                                                  And       there’s    something    else
                                                                                                               noteworthy on Q5’s resume – the
                                                                                                               company’s role in the cleanup of the
                                                                                                               World Trade Center after September
                                                                                                               11, 2001. American insurance giant
                                                                                                               Liberty Mutual provided most of the
                                                                                                               insurance coverage during the trade
                                                                                                               center’s cleanup. At the time, Liberty
                                                                                                               Mutual was Q5’s largest client.
Q5 Partners, from left to right, Wayne Pardy, John Lukins, Larry Feltham (sitting), and Brian Dicks.              Liberty Mutual used Q5’s safety audit
                                                                                                               software to monitor the safety practices
  The roots of Q5 go back a few years,                               basements for a couple of years, they     of those involved in the cleanup. It was
to the days when the three partners                                  built the company to a point where they   a pretty risky work environment and
were still at Newfoundland Power:                                    now have international recognition.       insurance company officials were on
Lukins in IT, Wayne Pardy in safety and                                They developed greater business and     site at all times.
Brian Dicks in human resources. They                                 marketing acumen as clients of the           “We were standing by almost daily to
saw potential in creating a safety audit                             Genesis Centre from 1999-2002. The        make sure everything was working
software solution that wasn’t available                              Genesis Centre is Memorial University     well,” Lukins recalls. “Our system was at
                                                                                                               ground zero, monitoring workers safety
“It was a hard decision leaving a company you’ve been with for years,                                          and it was good to be involved. We knew
                                                                                                               it was high profile and we wanted to be
but this was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up, and I’ve had great                                        successful.
fun. There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t enjoyed coming to work.”                                              “Even now when we go to visit
                                                                                                               customers, that’s one of the
                                                                                                               implementations we discuss. It gives us
for over-the-counter purchase.                                       of     Newfoundland’s      technology     a certain credibility.”
  Lukins and the other company                                       incubation centre and works with young       As the company’s credibility
founders each had over 20 years                                      technology-based companies to help        increases, so does its clientele.
seniority with Newfoundland Power,                                   them turn their good ideas into sound        “We build very strong relationships
where they could have worked until                                   business ventures.                        with our customers,” says Lukins. “They
retirement. Instead of playing it safe,                                 “It was a hard decision leaving a      are very happy with the Q5 product
they started Q5 with partner Larry                                   company you’ve been with for years,       and the level of service we
Feltham. Working out of their                                        but this was an opportunity I just        provide.”                                •

26 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                      www.gov.nl.ca

Dynamic Air Shelters can create giant replicas of product packaging, like this Baltimore Ravens giant football. Photo courtesy of: Dynamic Air Shelters

Dynamic Air Shelters: Walking on Air
I n 2003, a Calgary-based company, Dynamic Shelters Inc., set up a temporary production facility in Grand Bank, a
  small town on Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula, to produce customized inflatable industrial shelters. Impressed
with the skills and quality of work of the Grand Bank employees, Dynamic Air Shelters relocated their entire
manufacturing facility to Grand Bank in the summer of 2006. The Grand Bank facility currently employs 24
individuals full time and it is anticipated that this number will increase significantly in the coming months. VISION
Newfoundland and Labrador Business Magazine (VM) caught up with the very busy company president, Howard
Warner (HW), at his office in Calgary.

VM: How is Dynamic Air Shelters                                     market where we develop air shelters                                 quick response portable hospitals and
                                                                    for companies to use at events such as                               small shelters that act as isolation
different from other companies                                      sporting events, trade shows and fairs                               barriers for people who are extremely
providing the same service?                                         to increase client brand awareness.                                  ill and access to a traditional
                                                                       The second is the industrial market                               healthcare facility is temporarily
  HW: What we do is different from                                  where we develop air shelters that                                   unavailable.
what most related companies around                                  protect the work force from natural                                     Each sector requires using similar
the world are doing. Yes, there are                                 variables including temperature and                                  technology to meet the demand yet
other companies building air inflated                               precipitation. Our advantage in this                                 each sector represents a very different
structures but ours specifically uses                               sector is that our installation time                                 market with different business
pneumatic structures. The strength of                               represents just a small fraction of the                              approaches and methods.
the structure is gained through air-                                life cycle of the particular project to
inflated columns or trusses and there                               which it’s being applied. What we are                                VM: Why did you decide on
are very few companies doing that.                                  best at is creating temporary work
                                                                    coverage for sites that may be in use
                                                                                                                                         Newfoundland and Labrador as the
                                                                    for anywhere from one month to 18                                    base for your production facility?
VM: What market does your                                           months. Our deployment time, I would
company target?                                                     say, is unmatched.                                                     HW: In 2003, I was involved in
                                                                       The third market is the emerging                                  another company in Grand Bank
  HW: We have three target markets.                                 homeland defence or emergency                                        providing a similar service. I
Specifically, we target the promotional                             health market for which we develop                                   discovered that there existed a very

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                                                                           VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 27
good, available and committed
workforce. I found infrastructure that
didn’t require gross levels of debt to
maintain and I found an additional
workforce beyond those that we hired
that could be readily called upon if
  I would say, and I absolutely think
this is a cultural thing, that
Newfoundland and Labrador has a
workforce     that   responds     very
favourably to the concept of
innovation. It seems to me that when
you tell a bunch of Newfoundlanders
and Labradorians that there’s a
problem, what you’ll see is the backs
of a whole bunch of people bent over       Photo courtesy of: Dynamic Air Shelters
the thing feeding their ideas and
suggesting ways to rectify it as
opposed to people standing around            We recently secured a contract to         the need for a supplier.
passively waiting for the next piece of    provide a number of shelters to a U.S.        The state of Texas identified a need
work.                                      oil refinery – the second refinery in the   for portable hospitals. We were one of
                                           U.S. with whom we’ve worked. A third        four companies participating in the
VM: Where is your biggest export           contract with an oil refinery located in    competition to win that market and we
                                           Canada is expected to be announced          were solidly in fourth place against
market located?                            soon.                                       three U.S. companies. The list got cut
                                             We have also identified the need to       from four to two and we found
  HW: Our biggest export market is,        expand our building in Grand Bank due       ourselves still in the competition.
and has been, the U.S. - and it’s been a   to increased business. The concept is       Officials in Dallas/Fort Worth decided
long time coming. The U.S. is where the    to create a pod-style expansion model       they wanted to see people measure up
market is the hottest, particularly in     which will allow us to increase our         to their proposal. They said if you guys
the homeland security market.              manufacturing capacity. I feel that         can set these things up as fast as you
                                           we’ve only introduced the product to        say you can and they’re as secure as
VM: How much competition exists            less than three per cent of the market.     you say they are, then prove it.
for your company?                          In the last few months alone we’ve            There was a competition between
                                           seen a huge acceleration but there’s a      Dynamic Air Shelters and the one
   HW: We face the most competition in     lot more to do.                             remaining company from the U.S. to
the promotional market. There are two                                                  set up a 2700 sq. ft. portable hospital
in England and maybe two in the U.S. In                                                space with beds. The U.S. company
                                           VM: What’s been the greatest                went first. They brought in 10 former
the emerging homeland defence or
emergency health market, we compete        success for Dynamic Air Shelters?           military people to assemble their
with two in the U.S. and one each in                                                   product, a more mechanical system
Germany, Norway and England. In the           HW: The development of our               consisting of aluminum frames and
industrial market, I don’t know if we’ve   portable field hospitals has been           canvas covers. Eight hours later they
identified any competitors. I believe in   highly successful and I can provide an      were finished and ready to handle an
the past two years we’ve developed a       interesting story that speaks to the        emergency.
product     that    will   match    our    core of what makes the entire                 Our team included four people – me
competitors’ and even surpass them.        company successful.                         and three employees from Grand Bank,
                                              There’s a new term in the field of       led by the operation’s general manager
                                           medical response and it’s called            Duane Bourgeois.
VM: What are the future plans for          hospital surge. Hospitals in the U.S. are     Upon arriving, the adjudicators
Dynamic Air Shelters?                      running somewhere in the range of 95        asked us at what point should they
                                           per cent to 112 per cent occupancy. As      start the timer. I was so confident in
  HW: We recently formed a                 a result of the anxiety generated by the    our product and team, I told them that
distribution contract with a company       events of 9/11 and current fears of         they could start the timer when we left
in Australia and we are in final           global     pandemics,      there’s     an   the hotel. They impressed upon us
negotiations with a company in             acknowledgement that traditional            that they wanted to be fair after seeing
England to begin distributing our          hospitals in the U.S. do not have the       the notable performance by the U.S.
products. We hope to expand                capacity to respond to a major crisis.      company. I reassured them that they
distribution to a number of companies      Because of the nature of some natural       could start it whenever they wanted.
in as many different countries as we       disasters, there’s a need for portable        We finished in one hour and 20
can.                                       hospitals and our company identified        minutes. We had won Dallas!            •

28 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                             www.gov.nl.ca
                                                                                               SUCCESS STORY

                                                                                                      Brad Burness, owner of Coffee and
                                                                                                      Company in downtown St. John’s.

Not Just a Bean Counter
     oung Sophie Burness has a skill        proficient at using it,” says her dad,     espresso-based       products,”       says

Y    that’s unique among children her
     age. She’s the only five-year-old in
her Grade 1 class who can whip up an
                                            Coffee and Company owner and
                                            manager Brad Burness. “She also
                                            makes some pretty good caffè lattes.”
                                                                                       Burness, who greets you at the
                                                                                       entrance to Coffee and Company
                                                                                       dressed casually. He’s no suit and tie
espresso macchiato - an Italian               Some people are wine connoisseurs,       kind of guy, and that kind of formality
beverage made with espresso and             but Burness and his family are coffee      just isn’t required on the job.
                                                                                         Burness takes a seat in one of his
                                                                                       shop’s comfy chairs, but his favourite
There’s plenty of opportunity to keep his skills current. He pulls                     spot is behind the counter where he’s
about 150 to 200 shots of espresso every day.                                          just as apt as one of his staff to “pull an
                                                                                       espresso” for a customer. There’s
                                                                                       plenty of opportunity to keep his skills
foamed milk. Enjoying a cup before          connoisseurs which is a good thing         current. He pulls about 150 to 200 shots
school (decaffeinated of course) is part    since the family business they started     of espresso every day.
of her morning routine.                     in 1995 is all about making and drinking     “I aim to constantly improve my
  “We have a commercial espresso            coffee.                                    technique, even though I’ve been doing
machine at home, and she’s becoming            “I just love drinking and making        this since 1995,” he says. “If you want

www.gov.nl.ca                                                                          VISION Newfoundland and Labrador 29
to aim for perfection, treat it like an art.           place for people watching. Staff have                               can appeal to a broad base of clients.”
It takes a lot of skill and practice to get            served actors such as Kevin Spacey                                      What’s the secret to this cross-
it right.”                                             and Kiefer Sutherland, even Austin                                  generational appeal? Burness says it’s
   A political science and philosophy                  Powers himself, Mike Myers, stopped                                 personal. He and his staff know most of
graduate from Memorial University of                   by a couple of times when he was in                                 their clients by name.
Newfoundland, Burness opened the                       St. John’s.                                                             “I think our staff is terrific. They
first Coffee and Company in Kingston,                      And though celebrity visitors are fun                           really take an interest in getting to
Ontario with his wife, Heather Peach,                  to spot, the coffee shop’s success is                               know the people they serve, to offer a
and her brother, David. It’s where they                                                                                    place where people really do feel that
were living in 1995.                                                                                                       they are not just a customer but a
   It did so well, the couple decided to               Coffee and Company is also a                                        person with a name.”
move back home in 1999 and open a                                                                                              Coffee and Company also caters
coffee house in downtown St. John’s.                   good place for people watching.                                     to the taste buds. While the
Located in a century-old building                      Staff have served actors such shop’s number one most popular
where stripped away plaster reveals                    as Kevin Spacey and Kiefer beverage is brewed coffee, espresso-
stone and brickwork, it’s an intimate,                                                                                     based products come second. They
friendly environment that Burness has                  Sutherland, even Austin Powers                                      keep up with trends, invent new
created in the now, well-established                   himself, Mike Myers (pictured flavours, experiment with different
coffee house.                                          below), stopped by a couple of                                      combinations and have fun creating
   The shop caters to oil company                                                                                          new products.
executives,      young       professionals,            times when he was in St. John’s.                                        Burness’ current favourite drink is an
teenagers, grandparents                                                                                                                   Espresso Voltaire that
and        everyone       in                                                                                                              combines equal parts
between. You can grab a                                                                                                                   coffee      and     liquid
quick coffee on the way                                                                                                                   chocolate in a two-ounce
to work, or enjoy a piece                                                                                                                 cup. It’s named for the
of Godiva Chocolate                                                                                                                       French      writer     and
cheesecake        in     the                                                                                                              philosopher       Voltaire
comfort of an oversized                                                                                                                   who apparently drank
armchair in the back                                                                                                                      many, many cups of a
corner of the shop.                                                                                                                       similar       kind       of
   It’s one of five Coffee                                                                                                                concoction every day.
and Company shops                                                                                                                            “This is my take on his
that      have     opened                                                                                                                 beverage,” says Burness.
since 1995. There are                                                                                                                     “So we say on our menu
three are in the Kingston                                                                                                                 that you need to
area and one is located                                                                                                                   enlighten yourself with
in Fredericton, New                                                                                                                       Espresso Voltaire.”
Brunswick. The store in                                                                                                                      Sitting in that comfy
Fredericton and one of                                                                                                                    corner chair, Burness
the Ontario shops are                                                                                                                     sounds        enlightened
actually Coffee and                                                                                                                       about what he wants
Company franchises.                                                                                                                       from his business.
   Burness          credits                                                                                                                  “I couldn’t see myself
American        television                                                                                                                doing anything else right
shows such as Frasier                                                                                                                     now,” he says. “I really
and Friends, where                                                                                                                        enjoy coming to work
characters meet for                                                                                                                       everyday, and it gives me
lattes in their favourite                                                                                                                 the opportunity to spend
coffee shops, for helping                                                                                                                 time with Heather, my
fuel a boom in coffee                                                                                                                     daughter Sophie and my
                                 Brad Burness with the ‘International Man of Mystery,’ Mike Myers. Photo courtesy of: Coffee and Company
houses       across      the                                                                                                              son Max.”
country. Suddenly, they                                                                                                                      He’s certainly open to
became a trendy alternative to the bar                 due to its popularity with local patrons.                           further expanding Coffee and Company
scene.                                                     “Newfoundlanders and Labradorians                               but he’s not about to make any snap
   “But now it’s an established thing to               are great coffee drinkers,” says                                    decisions. Burness likes the hands-on,
do,” he says. “It’s gone mainstream. It’s              Burness. “In the daytime our typical                                personal touch that has helped
an affordable luxury, and there’s no                   clientele is over 30, in the nighttime we                           establish Coffee and Company as a
cover charge. And we’ve been non-                      get the younger crowd. It’s not unusual                             comfortable, interesting place from
smoking before there was a smoking                     to see 15-year-olds sitting next to                                 which to sit and drink a cup of java, hot
ban in restaurants and bars.”                          grandparents, both enjoying the                                     chocolate or even an Espresso
   Coffee and Company is also a good                   products we serve. It’s terrific if you                             Voltaire.                                •

30 VISION Newfoundland and Labrador                                                                                                               www.gov.nl.ca

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