Originally published in the June 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - "NS Export Achievement Awards" special advertising feature
For Nova Scotia’s leading exporters, May 15 was their time to shine. That afternoon, the 28th annual Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards were held at the World Trade & Convention Centre in Halifax.
Eleven outstanding companies from across the province were recognized at the luncheon which was presented by Nova Scotia Business Inc., Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Trade Team Nova Scotia.
This year's regional award recipients were:
• Clearwater Seafoods, Bedford
• Halifax Biomedical Inc., Mabou
• TecBox, Rhodes Corner, Lunenburg Co.
• I. Matheson, New Glasgow
• IMO Foods Limited, Yarmouth
• Kenney and Ross Limited, Port Saxon, Shelburne Co.
• National Gypsum Canada Ltd., Milford Station, Hants Co.
• Pearl and Daisy Natural Soap, Londonderry, Colchester Co.
• Protocase, Sydney
• Scotian Gold, Coldbrook
• Sissiboo Investments, Weymouth
Clearwater was also honoured with the top award for Nova Scotia Exporter of the Year.
“Every year I am pleased to see the accomplishments made by companies around the province,” said Stephen Lund, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc. “At NSBI, we helped our companies do business in over 40 countries last year and we are seeing more and more companies working with us to compete globally.
“Through trade, Nova Scotia businesses are able to gain access to more consumers and, last year, 850 Nova Scotia companies exported $9.53 billion in goods and services to domestic and global markets.”
Meet the regional winners
TecBox International Ltd.: For almost 20 years TecBox has provided different industries with customized shipping solutions, based on their needs and specific requirements. That includes crates in all sizes and forms built out of wooden materials or out of very strong, protective double and triple-walled cardboard materials. Understanding customer needs is TecBox’s key goal and objective. This allows the company to develop the best suitable solution and ensures 100 per cent customer satisfaction. TecBox is certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and complies with international ISPM#15 (wooden materials) regulations. Only lumber from a certified facility (Heat Treatment with Certificate) can be used and, additionally, a supplier certification is required. As of 2014, all wooden crates shipped to the U.S. must be certified. Always striving to enhance operations, TecBox is currently working on an “ISO 9001: 2008” quality certification. The company’s outstanding work and practices have garnered many accolades over the years. In addition to TecBox’s recent 2012 Export Achievement Award, it took home the Lunenburg-Queens Business Excellence Award in the export category this past October. President and owner Rainer Bressmer and his employees couldn’t be prouder of their achievements.
Halifax Biomedical Inc.: Halifax Biomedical is a medical imaging measurements service company that provides stereo x-ray measurements to monitor patients after joint replacement surgery. To provide these services HBI has developed a unique turn-key stereo radiography technology and biomarking solutions for orthopaedic research. Like a GPS for the body, HBI's technology enables the surgeon to track the location of a patient’s implant up to 20 times more precisely that an MRI or CT scan. All data from client sites is centralized on HBI servers and processed at its Cape Breton headquarters in Mabou. The majority of HBI's business is outside of Canada with clients in Europe, Australia and the United States.
Clearwater Seafoods: Clearwater is known as a leader in the global seafood industry recognized for its consistent quality, wide diversity and reliable delivery of premium seafood, including scallops, lobster, clams and cold-water shrimp. Since its founding in 1976, Clearwater has invested in science, people, technology, resource ownership and resource management to sustain and grow its seafood resource. This commitment has allowed it to remain a leader in the North American seafood industry.
I. Matheson: For over 150 years, I. Matheson & Company Limited has quietly been in continuous operation. It designs, engineers and builds a wide range of industrial products in its Pictou County facility. I. Matheson & Company began exporting over a century ago when, in the years between 1907 and 1908, it built the hull for the James William, Canada's only steel sailing ship. Years later, reports of more exports of I. Matheson & Company continued to filter back from returning WWl veterans. They spoke of some in of the war's worst moments, thinking of home and finding shelter in the basements of Europe and looking up and finding themselves curled up around a Matheson Boiler. In 2007, through an introduction to an Alberta company that designs process equipment packages for the global downstream oil and gas industry, I. Matheson & Company export markets expanded to include new places such as Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The alliance I. Matheson formed with its Alberta partner allowed the company to manufacture and ship multi-million dollar projects to over 10 countries spread over five continents.
IMO Foods Limited: IMO Foods, located on the waterfront in Yarmouth, is Canada's leading producer of naturally-smoked kipper snack foods. The Canadian owned and managed company employs 65 people. In addition to producing its own “Kersen” brand of kipper snacks and sauce seafood products, IMO produces a variety of other brands which it co-packs for other companies. The company exports 85 per cent of its production to the United States, Australia and the Caribbean. The balance of its sales are Canadian, where its Kersen brand is distributed through major retail chains including Sobey's, Costco and Co-op Atlantic in five Canadian provinces. Sales have risen steadily for the company, and IMO management attributes a portion of its success to its superior product resulting from a natural smoking process that provides a much better flavour profile than competitive products which use artificial flavouring to generate a smoked taste. Other contributing factors have been a rise in consumer interest in natural products, growing public awareness of the health benefits of Omega 3, which is prominent in IMO fish products, and the fact that IMO uses only “wild caught” fish from Canadian waters.
Kenney & Ross Limited: K&R, located on the South Shore in Port Saxon, has been in operation since 1945. The company’s expertise is in manufacturing gelatine and gelatine products from the skin of deep-sea fish such as cod, pollock and haddock to produce food, pharmaceutical and technical grade fish gelatine. Its food/pharmaceutical grades are used in applications for microencapsulating vitamins, for binding food, for cosmetics and for nutraceutical drinks. All the company’s food grade products are 100 per cent pure without additives or preservatives. K&R technical grade fish gelatines have a wide variety of uses such as electroplating, blocking agents for laboratory testing, coatings for solar panel manufacturing and adhesives for intricate woodworking. Gelatin and collagen produced from fish have the risk of allergens, but with innovative technological advances, K&R has reduced this risk, making its food/pharma products hypo-allergenic. The company is known worldwide and its diverse markets include sales to the United States, Japan, China, Europe and South America.
National Gypsum: National Gypsum (Canada) Ltd. manages a large gypsum quarry at Milford Station outside of Halifax. The company has operated from its current location since 1954 and has shipped over 150 million tonnes through the port of Halifax. The bulk of the gypsum is used in the manufacture of gypsum wallboard for the construction of houses and office buildings. There is also a significant amount of gypsum shipped to potato farmers in Prince Edward Island. The rock is quarried in Milford Station and is moved daily by train to Dartmouth where it is shipped out. Shipments go to New Brunswick and Quebec but the bulk goes to wallboard plants located along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast of United States. The housing industry in the U.S. has been heavily hit by the recession. Volumes are less than half of those experienced before the recession. National Gypsum has changed its operations to suit the lower volumes and keep cost and productivity competitive. This has assured continued operation. It has also been helped by finding new customers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Columbia.
Pearl & Daisy Natural Soap: Pearl & Daisy Natural Soap Company manufactures 100 per cent natural artisanal bath and body products that are sold in fine gift shops, galleries, museums, and spas. The authentic soap recipes are made with pure essential oils that are blended for aromatherapy benefits and glorious natural scents inspired by Nova Scotia's seashores, forests, and meadows. A little bit of Nova Scotia is crafted into each bar of soap through ingredients such as kelp, rose hips, or balsam fir. Since the company was formed in 2009, it has grown rapidly with a focus on exporting to western Canada and the eastern seaboard of the USA. In 2011, Pearl & Daisy sponsored the official gift lounge at the Canadian Country Music Awards where it presented celebrities with the company's award-winning boxed gift sets ("Best New Product" - Atlantic Craft Trade Show.) A recent move to space in Debert's Industrial Mall has allowed the company to scale up production and still retain traditional hand-stirred techniques. Now able to produce thousands of bars per week, the company is exploring export markets in Europe and Singapore.
Protocase: Protocase Inc. is a proud Nova Scotia company with a head office and manufacturing facility located in Sydney. Founded in 2001, it now has 60 employees and over 4,000 customers across North America and around the world. Protocase manufactures electronic enclosures and metal components for innovators in the electronics industry. Customers work for organizations that range from startups to the best known names in technology, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, MIT, Stanford University, and many more. Protocase operates under a unique business model that combines lean manufacturing, mass customization, and heavy automation of information flow. This allows Protocase to manufacture complex custom enclosures and sheet metal parts at unheard of speed (typically in two to three days). The company created its own 3D CAD software for enclosure design. This unique patented software, called Protocase Designer, allows engineers to very quickly create complex designs, which flow electronically from their desktop, through the internet, all the way to the factory floor.
Sissiboo Investments: Easy Sorter grew out of employee innovation at Sissiboo Investments. That has been, and continues to be, a key feature of the EasySorter line. Providing end users with a quality source-separating product to meet the individual legislative requirements of regions makes EasySorter “the” product of choice. The market for the EasySorter line reaches from Canada's Pacific to Atlantic coasts and into the United States. The team at EasySorter is committed to 100 per cent customer satisfaction, providing customers with consulting services, custom designs and logistics planning.
Scotian Gold: Scotian Gold Co-operative Limited has been an integral part of the agricultural community in Nova Scotia since the operation began over 100 years ago as the United Fruit Companies. This producer-owned apple co-operative handles fruit from approximately 55 growers, representing about 50 per cent of the total Nova Scotia apple crop. The co-operative's primary business objective within the apple division is the storage, packing and marketing of its members' fruit. In an everchanging and competitive industry, Scotian Gold Co-operative continues to look for new fruit varieties and improvements in storage and packing facilities to ensure the freshest and crispest apples are delivered to the consumer. One of its key priorities is developing new export markets for its member-grown crops. Exporting apples in the province goes back to the early 20th century when Great Britain was the biggest customer of Nova Scotia grown apples. Scotian Gold still exports to Great Britain where there continues to be an appetite for McIntosh apples. Honeycrisp is one of the latest varieties enjoying great success as a U.S. export.