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Meet Dale

Brockville’s residents can be found volunteering and supporting the community at every turn, and a few faces pop up regularly in the crowd. One of those faces is Dale’s, who you will find regularly volunteering at the local Food Bank and is one of the lead organizers behind Film Brockville. The group is behind bringing TIFF circuit films to Brockville; screening independent films at the Galaxy Cinema that would not otherwise make it into the local rotation. Dale has long been involved in the arts and culture scene in Brockville, having in the past taken a lead role in the Brockville Art in the City tour and local Jane’s Walk.

How long have you lived in Brockville?

I’ve lived in Brockville for the majority of my life, around 55 years.

Have you lived in any other cities or towns? If so where? What made you choose Brockville?

I’ve lived in Ottawa, Toronto, and Kingston. My wife prefers small town life to the big city.

What factors are the most important to you when you are choosing a city to live in?

“I look for a city that is easy to get around on by foot or on a bicycle and that is close to outdoor recreation such as hiking, cycling, and paddling trails. I look for lots of cultural activities and recreation opportunities, and a good library. Brockville has all of those things and the list of assets keeps growing.” – Dale C.

What is your favourite part about living in Brockville?

Access to the St. Lawrence River. The “best kept secret” about Brockville is the free and easy access to the St. Lawrence through our waterfront parks and trails.

How do you stay involved in the community?

I stay involved by volunteering for many activities, including the food bank and Film Brockville.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy reading, watching films, cycling, and traveling.

What would you tell other people who are considering moving to Brockville?

Brockville has many cultural activities and a surprisingly diverse population. It is also close to many larger cities, so you can easily access those things that are not available here.

Meet Ryan

Ryan is a local entrepreneur and young professional, born and raised in Brockville, who sought out his Masters in Kinesiology before returning to the area to set up his own business, RD Athletics Therapy & Training. He is a registered Kinesiologist, Massage Therapist, and Certified Exercise Physiologist with the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology. After starting his PhD at the University of Waterloo he realized that he “preferred working with clients versus doing research on petri dishes.” After living in Ottawa, St. Catharines, Waterloo, and Red Deer, Alberta, Ryan returned to Brockville and in 2014 participated in the first round of the Starter Company program with the Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre. Through that program he got his business, RD Athletics Therapy & Training up and running.

“Although when I was younger and thought I wanted to live in the bigger cities, dealing with city commutes, higher costs of living and generally more hustle and bustle in larger city centers made me realize how much I missed Brockville.

The beautiful waterfront, low cost of living, family close by and also great proximity to the large cities in Ontario (Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston) it is a no brainer for a place to settle down to have a family.” – Ryan Darling

We met up with Ryan to ask him a few questions about his experience living and establishing a business here in Brockville, Ontario.

Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do:

RD Athletics – Therapy & Training provides manual therapy, rehabilitation and semi-private personal training services. We strive to educate and empower our clients to independently manage their pain/injuries and physical health and truly take ownership of their role in keeping their body moving and feeling good. I have recently added 2 yoga instructors to offer this complementary service, as well as one of whom is certified and assists in supervising the semi-private training services.

Tell us a bit about how your business came to be and the path you took to get where you are today:

During my B.Sc. I began to take on personal training clients, and continued to train both individuals and group clients ranging from Olympic Weightlifting to geriatrics. Through all of my employment in health and fitness facilities I always felt the way that services were provided were more about profits than truly helping the clients and involving them in the process. This is what drove my desire to open my own facility: to offer the services of rehabilitation and training to truly help clients obtain the best possible outcomes and involve them in the process as much as possible.

How long have you been in business for?

I am currently in my 4th year of business operations. I incorporated in July of 2017 and plan to add other therapists and trainers over the next 3 to 5 years of the business.

What do you like most about working for your own company?

As an employee, I never felt as though I could use my knowledge and skill set to its fullest potential. Emphasis on quantity over quality left much to be desired for both clients and employees. I believe being able to use the approach and skill set I feel best suits each client gives me the best job satisfaction. Each client is different, and each therapist has their own way of working. As I expand, I plan to bring on therapists that have their own unique approaches, and give them the freedom to use their unique skill sets to assist in helping with the mission of the business and increase its ability to help more people.

How did you know that Brockville would be a good fit for your business?

After being able to be involved with varsity teams, a variety of health and rehabilitation facilities I felt there was a market for a business to operate differently from the others in the area in that same market. In this day and time, individuals are becoming ever more interested in their personal health and the motivated ones want to learn how to play an active role in that process. Those are the clients I go after, motivated individuals who understand that regardless of whether it is fitness or rehabbing an injury, their role in the process is the primary one. Symptom management is not our goal, but rather to determine the causes of the issues in the first place so we can fix them at their root cause.

What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

I think to be honest the general population feels like training needs to be really complicated and also super intense. Individuals coming to me for rehabilitation who have never been taught how to fix the issues with self-guided home exercise programs feel extremely empowered when they see the results of some very basic drills at home on a daily basis. Continually changing work outs every time someone is working with a trainer is simply a way to entertain and not a way to actually get results. I’m not afraid to implement a training regimen that I know will produce results for fear that the client will eventually not need me. I’d rather focus on what the client needs in order to fix the root of their symptoms.

Do you offer any new or unique products or services?

I have a system called NuCalm, which is a proprietary technology that can manage stress at the level of the brain. It is extremely effective, and can be used for a large variety of conditions such as anxiety, sleep issues, recovery from physical training, and a variety of other issues.

What is next for your company?

My goals are to bring on a similarly-minded chiropractor, physical therapist, other trainers and ideally even a family doctor to be able to offer a truly multidisciplinary approach to the local population’s health and fitness needs. In addition, I plan to move to a larger facility with proper sound separations to allow for current services to occur simultaneously.

What do you like to do when you are not at work?

I am very into training and also road cycling. Both of which sometimes still occur in the gym. Being a bit of a gym rat at heart, luckily my business is my passion and therefore I tend to spend a lot of my spare time doing activities in the facility. I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and her daughter, and soon to be our little boy expected in October of 2018.

What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?

I think I really enjoy the closeness of everything, the quick ability to get around and see my family so easily. In terms of work, I love being able to help a wide range of clients from high-schoolers looking to optimize their sport performance to older individuals just trying to maintain an active lifestyle to keep their quality of life high into later years.

What do you think the biggest misconception is about living in Brockville?

I think a lot of people, myself included previously, think there isn’t much to do. The reality is there is plenty to keep busy with in a wide range of activities and interests. Not to mention, the proximity to larger cities like Ottawa and Kingston being less than an hour away mean that more or less any type of activity is not far.

The ability to visit the cities when needed, but enjoy the less busy more relaxed vibe of Brockville during the week is something I never want to give up. Life is short, I can’t imagine spending an hour or more a day on my way to and from work.

What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?

I think in general the water front is amazing. It is second to none and just a beautiful aspect of the city and what it has to offer.

What would you tell other young professionals who are considering moving to Brockville?

“I think Brockville has a lot of opportunity for young, ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs compared to larger cities. Less competition, lower costs of doing business and a generally more laid back lifestyle – it really can’t be beat. I think with technology continuing to advance the abilities of individuals to work from a distance makes Brockville even better.” – Ryan Darling

What advice would you give to other would-be entrepreneurs?

I think the biggest thing is to make sure whatever you’re trying to start up in terms of a business is something you are passionate about. From my experience, I just can’t imagine being able to maintain the drive and work ethic I needed to have to be successful if it wasn’t something I both enjoyed and truly believed in. Also, and likely far more important, is making use of mentors. I didn’t do this early on in my business but since getting other business owners involved with my ideas I have really gained a better perspective. Those people don’t need to be in your field either; my primary mentors are involved in trades, and other professionals such as dentistry and law. The more different the business, sometimes the better their different perspective can help you see things you wouldn’t on your own.

Find Ryan:

Find out more about Ryan and his business on the RD Athletics website
Phone: 613-803-0925
Email: RDathletics@gmail.com
Online booking: rdathletics.janeapp.com
Twitter: @RDathletics
Facebook: facebook.com/RDathletics

Meet Natalie

Natalie is a local young professional who grew up in Eastern Ontario who found herself in Brockville when she was offered her dream job as Curator and Director of the Brockville Museum.

“In 2013 I was offered the position of Curator/Director at the Brockville Museum. At the time, I was still living in the Kingston area and commuting, but by the end of that first year I committed to making the move to Brockville – not just to eliminate the commute or because of job demands, but because I truly felt at home here and found that everything I was looking for was here.” – Natalie Wood

We met up with Natalie to find out more about her professional background, what led her to apply for a position in Brockville, and how she gets involved in the community:

What city or town did you grow up in?

I grew up in the Kingston area.

What is your professional background?

I had decided in 6th grade that I wanted to work in a museum when I grew up. Of course, I didn’t really know what that would entail. But growing up in an old city like Kingston, I developed a passion for sharing history with others. I went to school for history and after obtaining an honours degree I worked at a number of Kingston-area museums on short-term contracts exploring different aspects of museum operations and building my resume. I then spent five years as the Museum Manager at the Old Stone Mill National Historic Site in Delta, Ontario, during which time I also completed a Certificate in Museum Studies from the Ontario Museum Association. I have now been at the Brockville Museum since 2013.

After college/university/on-the-job training, what did you look for in a city to relocate to?

I knew that I didn’t really want to go too far out of south-eastern Ontario for family reasons, but I also knew that I would have to go where there was work in my field. After gaining experience working in the rural village of Delta, Ontario, I became very attracted to the sense of community that comes from being in a small-town.I didn’t really want to be in a big, noisy city, and ideally, I wanted to keep my commute to a minimum.

“I was looking for a place with a sense of community and history (of course), where I would be able to afford a home and one day raise a family. Walkability and natural surroundings were also important to me.” – Natalie Wood

Can you provide a brief overview of your workplace and what you do?

The Brockville Museum preserves and promotes the history of Brockville with exhibits and programs, and with a growing collection of related artifacts and archival material. We grow with, and for the community, providing a source of knowledge on the heritage of Brockville for present and future generations.

As the Curator/Director of the museum, I am responsible for managing the museum’s daily operations as well as long term strategic initiatives, including supervising staff, reporting to a board and council, drafting and monitoring the museum’s budget, developing exhibitions, coordinating museum programming, research and collection activities, as well as developing policy, the museum’s brand and its vision.

What do you like most about where you work?

I have the pleasure and good fortune to be living my childhood dream of working in a museum and sharing my passion for history (and passion for the role that museums play in our communities) with others. Every day offers new challenges and opportunities. I get to be creative and strategic all while being surrounding by the stories and objects that make up this community. I feel honoured to be serving as a steward of Brockville’s past.

What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

Honestly, that it is a very professional field that requires considerable education and technical training. We are required to follow standards set out by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport, as well as best practices and guidelines adopted from museums around the world. It is also a rapidly changing industry that requires us to be on top of sector,government,and technological trends, as well as public expectations, all while balancing the unique needs of the collection.

What do you like to do when you are not at work?

“I love taking my dogs for walks on the Brock Trail, along the waterfront, and through Mac Johnson Wildlife Area. If there is a movie playing at the Arts Centre, I am probably there. On weekend mornings I am probably enjoying brunch at one of the downtown restaurants.” – Natalie Wood

What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?

I really love the walkability of this city and the beauty of the river. Even walking, my commute is only 23 minutes, and that commute is alongside babbling brooks and tree-filled parks on the Brock Trail. I am lucky enough to have a river view from my office window that is always changing based on the weather and the ships passing by.

“It is also pretty awesome to take a walk down King Street and pop into shops where shop owners know you and care about this community as much as you do.” – Natalie Wood

What do you think the biggest misconception is about living in Brockville?

That there is nothing to do here. I have been amazed by all the things that there is to do, from festivals and events, to shows and shopping, to hiking and skating. All the amenities are here and so are the service clubs to support an active activity calendar. Just pick up an issue of Snap’d and flip to the event calendar- it is always jam-packed. Game nights, live music at local pubs and cafes, shows at the Arts Centre, outdoor activities at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area and St. Lawrence Park, shopping on King Street and at the Farmers’ Market, food festivals, museums, galleries, and so much more!

What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?

Speaking as the curator of a museum I find Brockville’s history pretty neat. Sure, everyone knows that Brockville is a “historic” town – it is old and it has old buildings – but some of the stories that go with that history are pretty unique and unknown by most: like the fact that Brockville once manufactured automobiles and that the once prominent Stetson hat factory was the exclusive manufacturer of the iconic “Mountie” hat. But also that industry is not dead in Brockville! There are still some very unique and significant products being manufactured here that are being shipped around the world- just look at some of the products being produced by Ketchum Manufacturing, for example.

What would you tell other young professionals who are considering moving to Brockville?

It is hard to be anonymous in Brockville, but if you are looking for a sense of community, and are willing to embrace being a part of that community, Brockville is a wonderful place to establish yourself.

Contact the Brockville Museum:
Find out more about their ongoing programs, special events, exhibits and more on the Brockville Museum’s website.

Email: museum@brockville.com
Phone: 613-342-4397
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BrockvilleMus/
Twitter: twitter.com/BrockvilleMus
Instagram: @brockvillemus

Meet Custom Decor Carpet One Ltd.

At the end of last summer, three local businesses came together to donate 3 giant, red Adirondack chairs that are prominently displayed along the Brockville waterfront on Blockhouse Island. The project was inspired in part by a group of local residents who had donated regular sized, colourful, plastic Adirondack chairs for use in the park by residents and visitors. The chairs were donated by Casual Living, Hansler Ltd., and Custom Custom Decor Carpet One Ltd. and catch your eye from land and water, and are a great place to get your picture taken when you are visiting downtown Brockville.

One of those three businesses that has evolved greatly over the years and has overseen a number of expansions and moves is Custom Decor. Continue reading for more on their story:

Tell us a bit about how your business came to be and the path you took to get where you are today:

Custom Decor Carpet One Ltd. started out with humble beginnings.

From the back of a red pickup truck, Ed VanderBaaren started his entrepreneurial skills with house painting. In May of 1975 Ed received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University. Planning on being a teacher, Ed applied to teachers college, but for the summer continued to paint houses. He eventually hired a crew that consisted of his brother and a few friends, and from there the business grew.

The painting business flourished and Ed bought a business from Luigo Rigutto that consisted of some tools and the expertise of Mr. Rigutto. From there the business graduated into a retail store, selling Glidden Paint, Olympia tiles and wallpaper. The business continued to grow and in 1982 Jane joined the team. Custom Painting changed its logo to Custom Decor and moved again to the prestigious Zellers Shopping Centre. The location was good and business evolved to sell carpet, flooring, fabric, window treatments, area rugs, and had over 600 wallpaper patterns. We remained in this location until the final move to 3011 Highway 29.

How long have you been in business for?

This will be the 20th year in this location on County Road 29 in Elizabethtown, and the store has been revitalized numerous times, just to keep up with current trends, and new innovations in the market.

In 2011 we expanded once again to include Custom Kitchen and Tile, a ceramic tile and bath accessories showroom including bathtubs, toilets, sinks, shower doors, and vanities.

What sets your business apart from the competition?

Custom Decor Carpet One Floor and Home not only carries hundreds of exclusive brands, from major manufacturers in carpeting but also hardwood, laminate, ceramic tile, area rugs, and new luxury vinyl tile.

All installations are not created equal. Custom Decor Carpet One offers the Healthier Living Flooring Installation System with Premium Carpet Cushion, and when we throw in the Beautiful Guarantee, you just can’t go wrong. We want you to be 100% happy that the floor we’ve created together is as beautiful as the one in your dreams. If not we will replace it for free. That’s what we call the Beautiful Guarantee.

Our sales professionals are trained to ask the right questions to guide you through our easy-to-understand selection system. We carry the best paint for any project, both residential and commercial, and Benjamin Moore has great products, colors which can be color matched by our excellent staff. Our window treatment section has changed over the years and now we are an exclusive Hunter Douglas Priority Dealer. We carry fabrics from Joanne and Maxwell, for your drapery needs.

We are your personal assistant when it comes to a Kitchen and Bath design. Renovations begin with an idea, a vision to transform your home. We are here to help with your design, plan and budget. We offer a shop at home service and free estimates. We believe in flawless execution, so our work continues even after you have left the store.

How do you stay involved in the community?

We (Ed, Jane and Matt VanderBaaren) have been involved in community events our entire lives. Jane was a supporter of Sherwood Park Manor for 15 years, and involved in the Chamber of Commerce and many other activities. Ed has kept his artistic talents alive by becoming a potter and lately started to include some drawing.

Matt has followed in the family footsteps and has become the 2nd generation owner, is involved in Carpet One business, and is a part of the Young Professionals Network in Brockville including the Winter Classic Weekend and creation of the roof over the rink at Rotary Park.

“We just installed a giant Adirondack chair on Blockhouse Island for visitors and Brockvillians alike to enjoy our beautiful waterfront.” – Jane VanderBaaren

What would you tell other people who are considering setting up their business in Brockville?

Brockville is ready for more entrepreneurs to set up their business either downtown or in the nearby commercial zones.

What is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?

“The best kept secret about Brockville is that we have all the amenities of a big city but if there is a traffic jam it might take you and extra 5 minutes to get to your destination. Brockville is a beautiful place to live and play.” – Jane VanderBaaren

Find Custom Decor Carpet One Ltd.:
Find out more about the business at: www.customdecorcarpetonebrockville.com
Phone: 613-342-8090
Email: customdecorcarpetone@gmail.com
Address: Located in the Custom Decor – Russell Hendrix building at 3011 Highway 29 in Brockville

Meet Cherin

Our next story is on MJS Biolynx, which has been in operation since 1998. MJS Biolynx is a Canadian Distributor of quality laboratory products for use in life science research.

This company has a unique outlook on health care, not just from the range of products that they offer for the life science and pharmaceutical industries, but also from their commitment to their staff’s overall wellbeing and work-life balance.

We followed up with Cherin McKend, President of MJS Biolynx, to find out what she loves about having her business in Brockville and what is next for their company.

Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do:

MJS BioLynx Inc. is a Canadian distributor of quality laboratory products for use in life science research. Our products are used in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Genomic, Proteomic, and Epigentic labs across Canada. Our customers work in Pharmaceutical Companies, Academic Research Laboratories, Hospital Research laboratories, Government agencies, Biotech Companies, Clinical research centres and Core research facilities. In February, 1998 (during our in-famous ice storm), MJS BioLynx Inc. emerged from its sister company, Chromatographic Specialties Inc. (est. 1963), in order to expand upon its life science business.

Since our debut, we have con­tinued to expand and develop partnerships with reputable international suppliers – bringing their products and knowledge to our Canadian Life Science Researchers.

How many people work for your company?

MJS BioLynx has 7 full-time employees focused specifically on Marketing and Sales. We share approximately 15 employees with our sister company Chromatographic Specialties for our shipping and receiving, order desk and office administration needs. We also have two students working part-time on various projects.

How would you describe your team?

Awesome! We have been very selective in hiring our team. It is very important to have matching or complementary philosophies. We are a very close team. We work very harmoniously and require very little supervision. There is no competition amongst the team just cooperation. We all have a common goal to take wonderful care of our customers and we enjoy what we do.

What makes your company unique?

Our 5 Core Values (Truth, Trust, Help, Love, Listen) and our Purpose are quite unique.

Our Purpose is to create a company to help advance scientific research within a work environment that fosters teamwork, sincere customer service, compassion, peace and joy. A Company that does the right thing – we put our human values and service to others as our guidepost. As a result, we will be extremely successful, where all tasks are done well, and in a timely fashion, and we all reap the rewards. We will grow, and flourish and we will demonstrate to the world that a financially healthy company can have a heart, can give endlessly and can be a joyous place to work.

“We are a very people centered family business. We understand that our employees and our customers make us who we are. They are our strength and our future. It’s critical that everyone feel supported, important, cared for and welcome. We have many long-term employees and that speaks very loudly.” – Cherin McKend

What did you look for in a city when you were looking to set up your business?

My late Father-in-Law chose the location. He immigrated to Canada from Scotland in the late 1950s to find work and ended up at DuPont in Maitland with his home in Brockville. His business, our sister company Chromatographic Specialties Inc., started in his basement.

However, if I were to start my business fresh I would still choose Brockville.

It is important for us as a business to have a location with the greatest reach to our clients. Brockville’s location is perfect, as we are in close proximity to both Montreal and Toronto where we have the majority of our customers, and the cost of living is significantly lower here than in those cities. It was equally important for us to find a community that was safe and friendly for raising children, like Brockville is.

What impressed you most about Brockville that helped lead you to set up your business here?

We have easy access to the US border crossing for bringing our products into Canada. The Ottawa airport is only an hour away which makes for easy travel to customers and shows and for rapid product delivery to Eastern and Western Canada.

What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

That it is an industry full of opportunity; there is opportunity for marketing, sales, finances, research, office administration, technical support. Science is fascinating, and we are all part of this wonderful human experiment.

Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?

A few years ago we started a new division to our business called MJS BioLynx Well Being. This was in response to the crazy stress energy that was manifesting all around us. Supplier pressure, customer pressure, financial pressure, job satisfaction pressure….it appeared the world was having a nervous breakdown.

MJS BioLynx has enabled us to pursue our purpose of assisting the scientific community to find solutions for many of our health concerns such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity, autoimmune disorders, and more. MJS BioLynx Well Being is a second division that has been created with the intention of bringing personal health awareness to the dedicated health researchers, health professionals and the general population across Canada by creating a portal for understanding the benefits of living a life of balance and vitality. In addition to providing this website as a personal health resource, MJS BioLynx also provides workshops/classes in meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda. Our hope is to continue to aid life science researchers to better understand and combat disease, while also providing the tools for individuals to take charge of their health and help themselves prevent disease from occurring in the first place.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your business?

In 2006 our number one supplier was purchased by a large competitor and we lost over half of our business almost overnight. We discovered that we were more than this one supplier and slowly, with many challenges, brought our business back to profitability.

What is next for your company?

We would like to see exponential growth and exceed our 2019 sales and profitability targets, increase our sales and technical support staff and expand our well being message to our customers, employees and community.

What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?

The People.

What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?

The River and the peaceful energy.

“The community in general is a perfect space for healthy and active living. We have health food stores and health conscious restaurants. Our grocery stores sell plenty of fresh produce which are supplemented by our local farmers markets in the summer…. The beauty of the St. Lawrence River and the Islands is the icing on the cake!” – Cherin McKend

The recreational opportunities that are available in Brockville (such as running/walking/biking trails, yoga centers, meditation groups, many fitness clubs, swimming, skating, fishing, boating, sports teams) provides us with great options to get out and enjoy our time outside of work. If more dining or entertainment is desired, we have 4 major cities (Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto) an easy drive or train ride away.

How do you stay involved in the community?

I stay involved by grocery shopping – A LOT! Such a great place to commune with people. We also try to support our local retailers and restaurants.

I volunteer 5 days a week teaching yoga and meditation classes at the Royal Brock Retirement Home, Brockville Montessori School, and the Brockville River Otters Swim Team. I also offer our employees weekly guided meditation sessions during lunch hours and a complementary Wednesday evening yoga class.

What would you tell other people who are considering setting up their business in Brockville?

Do it!!

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Follow your Joy! If you meet resistance, keep going but try turning your boat around a little so you can go with the flow and not force anything. The resistance is usually telling you there is an easier way, another choice, something even better.

Contact MJS BioLyx:
Location: 300 Laurier Blvd., Brockville, ON
Phone: 613-498-2126
Website: www.biolynx.ca

Meet Jay

Trillium Health Care Products has been manufacturing in Brockville for over 20 years and prides itself on its commitment to producing quality products and to its employees. They believe that the key to their overall success is in recruiting and retaining people whose individual talents will help advance their business. Highly visible along Parkedale Avenue in Brockville, Trillium has over 50 years of excellence in manufacturing and is one of Brockville’s largest employers in the public sector. We caught up with Jay Webb, President and General Manager, to learn a bit more about the company and what he loves about Brockville:

Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do:

Trillium Health Care Products is a contract manufacturer of drug products, producing market leading brands for some of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies.

Tell us a bit about how your business came to be and the path you took to get where you are today:

The facility was built 60 years ago by Parke Davis, which at the time was one of the large drug companies in North America. The facility has been a presence in Brockville ever since then. The facility was purchased by Trillium in 1998 and now employs 265 people locally. Our team is made up of an excellent blend of experts in their fields who have many years of experience working for both large and small companies.

What makes your company unique?

Trillium Health Care Products has a very diverse range of capabilities and are able to produce a variety of pharmaceutical products, including tablets, capsules, suppositories, creams & lotions, liquid solutions and suspensions. Trillium is audited and licensed by both Health Canada and the U.S. FDA.

What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

Contract manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry continues to grow. The industry has favourable tailwinds due to changing demographics and trends by big pharma companies.

Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?

“More than 9 out of 10 households in Canada have a product in their medicine cabinet manufactured at Trillium’s Brockville plant.” – Jay Webb

What is next for your company?

We look to build upon our recent successes to accelerate our growth, especially in the U.S. market.

What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?

“I have lived in many places across five states in the U.S. but Brockville is the first place I’ve lived in which I feel like I can go from being at work to being on vacation in 15 minutes. That’s how long it takes me to drive from my office to any of our friends’ docks to be on the St. Lawrence River.” – Jay Webb

How do you stay involved in the community?

I coached for a number of years for the Brockville Bunnies baseball program and I also sat on the Brockville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for a couple of years.

What would you tell other people who are considering setting up their business in Brockville?

Brockville has reasonable housing prices, very short commutes to work, low crime, and is close to Montreal, Ottawa, and New York. Excellent people in the area make up a very strong work force and there is a very healthy work/life balance in this area.

What advice would you give to other would-be entrepreneurs?

Talk to people that have worked and lived here for a while – there are many success stories.

Contact Trillium Health Care Products:
Location: 2337 Parkedale Avenue, Brockville, ON
Phone: 613-342-4436
Website: www.trilliumhcp.com

Meet Andrew

Recently, Andrew Melchers was named as Young Professional of the Year at the Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence Gala. This accolade is given to one young professional each year who demonstrates a commitment to our community to help it thrive. Andrew grew up in Brockville and attended Thousand Island Secondary School before pursing post-secondary education at Carleton University in Ottawa, and has since returned to Brockville to put down roots and give back to his community. We got in contact with Andrew to find out why he made the return to Brockville and learn more about what he does professionally.

What is your professional background?

I am a Structural Engineer and I also serve in The Brockville Rifles as a Second-Lieutenant.

After university, what did you look for in a city to relocate to?

I grew up in Brockville and spent 10 years in Ottawa for school and work. I knew the city wasn’t for me and made the conscious effort to move to Brockville.

What other cities or town have you lived in? What made you come back to Brockville?

Ottawa was too busy; I wanted a more relaxing pace of lifestyle and one where I didn’t have to spend an hour everyday in traffic. Brockville has the great benefit of having rural landscape 10 minutes from downtown. Brockville allows me to live in the country while having only a short commute to work.

What factors were the most important to you when you were looking to relocate back to the area?

I knew I wanted to be back in Brockville – let’s say the main factor is having the river to the South of the City. When I first moved to Ottawa my internal compass was all messed up because the Ottawa River is to the North of the City!

Where do you work now?

I work as an industrial structural engineer at WSP Canada – the largest engineering firm in Canada with global offices. They happen to have an office in Tincap which is just north of Brockville. I also am a member of The Brockville Rifles as an officer where we train for foreign and domestic operations. Finally, I recently started my own company IN Engineering to provide structural engineering services for residential and commercial projects with the main goal of assisting local community projects with engineering expertise.

Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do?

Structural engineers design the parts of a building that allow it to hold it up to weight, occupancy, snow, wind and earthquakes. At WSP I work on industrial projects across Ontario and at IN Engineering I do local projects mostly for community organizations but also for residential and commercial construction.

What do you like most about the company you work for?

I enjoy working for WSP as they are a large firm and provide many opportunities to work on large scale projects. It allows me to push myself and my understanding of engineering every day. I also like running my own company as I get to have an impact on my local community. Most recently I volunteered engineering services to the Reconstruction of the Five Mile Lighthouse – I am very excited about this project as it is the exact reason I started my own company.

How did you know that Brockville would be a good fit for you and your business?

“Having grown up in Brockville, I still have a few connections and an understanding of the local environment and geography. I also find that even though I am a relatively new engineer (7 years) I find that my opinions are sought after and respected in the community.” – Andrew Melchers

What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

I think a lot of people find engineers mysterious and are not exactly sure when to call one. Almost any time there is a structure involved you need an engineer to review it. They also think that engineers are expensive but that’s not necessarily a case. Engineers end up saving money by being able to approach the constructor with a well though out plan. The most expensive part of a project is labour and if you have workers standing around because your plan wasn’t finished you are wasting more money than an engineer would cost.

Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?

I started my own business in June of 2018 so a good place to start is that there is a new structural engineer in town and I’m ready for your project!

What do you like to do when you are not at work?

I have a young family so I enjoy playing with my two girls. We go outside a lot and the girls ‘help’ me in the garden. I don’t think I will have any straight rows of vegetables for a few years!

How do you stay involved in the community?

I mostly get involved with the community through volunteering with Rotary Brockville. I have taken on the role of Director of Memberships and Communications. I believe Rotary is a fantastic organization with a huge impact within our community. As a young professional myself I hope to expand their membership with more young professionals.

What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?

“It’s got to be the lack of a commute. When I first moved back to Brockville I remember I had to do a bunch of errands. Having just came back from Ottawa I figured that this would take all day and I was not looking forward to it. However, that day I went to the bank, post office and city hall and got everything I needed to get done before my tea got cold in the car. There really is a higher quality of living when you aren’t spending it all in a car.” – Andrew Melchers

What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?

I have a number of secret spots in the area. Having grown up in Lyn, the Lyn Pit is definitely one of my favourite spots!

What would you tell other young professionals who are considering moving to Brockville?

It may be a small town with a slower pace of life, but in my experience your career moves fast. I have had some great opportunities here that I would not have had anywhere else!

Contact Andrew:
Phone: 613-803-9899
Email: info@ineng.ca
Website: www.inengineering.ca

Meet Burnbrae Farms

Burnbrae Farms is one of our area’s largest employer and one of our oldest companies that are still in operation. They are regular supporters of community initiatives and events including donating eggs for the annual Island Breakfast on Refugee Island in Brockville and are a great example of how our local companies take pride in our city and contribute to its quality of life.

We had 13 questions for Burnbrae Farms to get to know more about what goes on behind the scenes:

Can you provide a brief overview of the company and how it operates:

Burnbrae Farms is a fifth generation Canadian family–owned and operated company that continues to be one of Canada’s leading egg farmers, with farms, grading stations and processing operations across the country.

The company is passionate about their commitment and involvement in their local communities. The Hudson family and the employees of Burnbrae Farms are proud to take an active role and contribute to the communities in which it operates.

Tell us a bit about how Burnbrae Farms came to be and the path it took to get where it is today:

In 1874, the Hudson family emigrated from Scotland and then later in 1891 Joseph Hudson purchased a farm in the village of Lyn, in eastern Ontario. He named it Burnbrae, “burn” being the Scottish name for a stream and “brae” the name for a hillside. Back then the farm consisted of just 100 acres, and over 120 years later Burnbrae Farms remains in the Hudson family with businesses far and wide across Canada.

From its early beginnings as a dairy farm, Burnbrae Farms evolved into egg production in the ’40s under the guidance of Grant and Joe Hudson. Over the following decades, Burnbrae Farms became an established and integral part of both local and national agribusiness, offering premium innovative shell, liquid, hard cooked, pre-cooked and frozen egg products ensuring quality through extensive grading operations, and expanding its operations across Canada.

Today, Burnbrae Farms eggs and egg products can be found in your local grocery store, restaurants, food-service operations and homes across Canada. All the descendants of Joseph Hudson, who bravely immigrated from Stranraer, Scotland, are very proud of the thriving legacy that began on his original 100 acres.

How long have you been operating?

In 1891, Great Grandfather Joseph Hudson, a Scottish immigrant, purchased 100 acres of land in Eastern Ontario. While the farm originally focused on dairy and cash crops, Joseph Hudson’s son Arthur and his two sons, Joe and Grant Hudson, started producing eggs in the 1940s.

Burnbrae evolved into an egg production farm through the efforts of Joe and Grant Hudson. In 1943, while still in high school, Joe became involved in an agriculture project at Brockville Collegiate Institute. He raised 50 leghorn chicks to laying hens. From 1943 to 1948, the egg layers were a side line managed by Joe and Grant, while Joe was in school. By the time Joe completed high school in 1948, the number of laying hens had increased to a respectable 3,000 layers, and the family worked together to care for the hens, dairy cattle and cash crops.

Today, Burnbrae Farms is a fifth generation Canadian family–owned and operated company that continues to be one of Canada’s leading egg farmers, with farms, grading stations and processing operations across the country.

How many people work for your company?

Burnbrae Farms operates in five Canadian provinces; including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec employing over 1,000 people in a variety of sectors.

How would you describe the Burnbrae team?

Burnbrae Farms is owned and operated by the Hudson family. The company culture is cooperative and collaborative and has a strong history of mentoring and cultivating talent from within. The company provides employees with opportunities for growth by encouraging further learning and specialized training.

What types of positions are employed at Burnbrae?

  • Farming: pullet and layer farms, animal welfare, producer and industry relations
  • Egg Grading: clerical, production, production support, distribution, sales
  • Egg Processing: clerical, production, quality assurance, distribution, sales
  • Clerical and Accounting: CA’s, CPA’s, office management, accounts payable and receivable, IT and systems management
  • Sales and Marketing

What services do you offer that are unique to Brockville?

Burnbrae Farms has both a farm and grading station in Lyn and a Further Processing facility in Brockville. We are proud to make products for retail, foodservice and industrial customers here in Brockville which are sold across the country.

What made Brockville a good fit as a location to build the company?

The expansion of the farm to the grading station, offices and further processing station was based on the location of the original family farm where Joseph Hudson originally settled in 1891.

It is also located just off Highway 401 and in close proximity to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

Eggs are one of nature’s most nutritious foods; one large egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids. That’s an incredible amount of nutrition!

Over the past 50 years, Canadian egg production has increased by 50%, but the environmental footprint of Canadian Egg Farmers has decreased by 50%. Canadian egg farmers strive to continuously improve, seeking new ways to make egg production even more environmentally sound.

Egg Trivia! What’s the difference between white eggs and brown eggs?

There is no difference in nutrition content between a brown shell and a white shell. Flavour or cooking functionality is also not affected by the shell colour. The egg shell colour is determined by the breed of chicken. At Burnbrae, brown eggs are laid by the brown Rhode Island Red hen and white eggs are laid by the White Leghorn. The colour of the hen’s ear area is the indicator, with a white or light spot meaning white eggs. The brown chickens are larger and require more food to make an egg, which is why brown eggs may cost more than white eggs.

Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?

Burnbrae Farms has proven itself as a leader in Canadian agribusiness through its award winning product innovation. The Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards™ is a prestigious program operated by the Retail Council of Canada, which encourages new product development and innovation. New products go through rigorous testing and screening before being considered for a Grand Prix New Product Award. To date, Burnbrae Farms has won 13 Grand Prix awards, which put the company in an elite class of Canadian food companies.

Burnbrae Farms has also achieved the distinction of receiving Platinum Level of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.

Canada’s Best Managed Companies is Canada’s leading business awards program, recognizing excellence in private Canadian-owned companies. Each year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies undergo a rigorous application process, but only the best are awarded with this prestigious designation.

What is next for your company?

Burnbrae Farms is proud to lead and innovate within the egg industry and the agribusiness sector. The company continues to grow nation-wide and has recently seen expansion in the Brockville area, in both the plant in Brockville and the Farm and Grading Station in Lyn.

What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?

A little bit of history and a great attraction in the heart of Brockville!

1860 marked the completion of the Brockville Railway Tunnel, the first Canadian underground railway tunnel, a truly impressive innovation at the time. The tunnel connected the Brockville and Ottawa Railway to the city’s shipping port. It was fully operational for over 110 years until 1970, when the port ceased operations and shipping was consolidated to major hubs. In 1983, the city purchased the tunnel from the railway company.

In 2016, renovations began to restore the tunnel and transform the attraction to a public walking trail, featuring new paved concrete floors and modern lighting. It would also become the new central hub of the city’s Brock Trail recreational pathway. The project was completed in 2017.

The restoration of the tunnel was made possible by generous donations by individuals and organizations like Burnbrae Farms. It is important to both the Hudson family and Burnbrae Farms to preserve the history of the town where the Hudson family first began farming in 1891. Burnbrae Farms and its leadership are deeply rooted in this community and share the belief that preserving landmarks such as this tunnel is vital.

Burnbrae Farms is also a proud supporter of the Aquatarium, a 33,000+ square foot climate-controlled aquarium and discovery centre on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.

Burnbrae is proud to support organizations which promote tourism of Brockville and patronage of local attractions and businesses.

What would you tell other people who are considering setting up their business in Brockville?

Brockville is a diverse community with a thriving population. Located in the heart of the beautiful Thousand Island on the St-Lawrence River, it is ideally situated close to highway 401 in proximity to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. It is an ideal location to build a business, raise a family and get involved in a vibrant community.

Contact Burnbrae Farms Limited:

Location: 3356 County Road 27, Lyn, Ontario
Phone: 613-345-5651
Website: www.burnbraefarms.com

Meet Cynthia

In 2018 our team was invited to meet with the team at Career Services to learn a bit more about how they operate and what they manage on site. Career Services is a non-profit organization designed to assist individuals with barriers find and maintain employment, but their work does not stop there. They also work with new Canadian residents who need to get some Canadian job references on their resume, people who have been out of the workforce for a while, and anyone looking to increase their employable skills. They don’t only place workers; they run an industrial business on site that serves as their training grounds and a way to bring in additional revenue to support their mandate. Brockville is fortunate to have this dedicated team operating here providing services for our workers and strengthening partnerships with our many local manufacturers who utilize their services.

We asked Cynthia Sparring, Executive Director of Career Services, to provide some additional background on the local organization.

Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do:

Career Services is fully engaged in serving the Brockville community by providing and supporting the best possible opportunities for growth and development for everyone. We offer the unique combination of an employment service which includes placement and skills development for individuals who face barriers to employment, and a revenue- generating industrial business that offers co-packaging and staffing solutions throughout the region.

Tell us a bit about how your business came to be and the path it took to get where it is today:

Career services started as a grass roots initiative. Our organization was formed by a group of families with members that faced barriers to employment.

How long have you been in business for?

We have been in business for over 45 years, but we were officially incorporated in 1976.

How many people work at your company?

In 2017 we had a payroll of over $2.5 million employing over 125 people.

What services do you provide that are unique to Brockville?

“We do not define ourselves by offering employment services to certain focus group but that we offer our service to anyone with a barrier that needs more hands-on assistance with their employment journey along with on the job coaching supports that are not only around soft employment skills but also helping/learning with the actual job tasks.” – Cynthia Sparring

How would you describe your team?

We are an educated, adaptable and community minded team, unified in providing employment outcomes and providing quality and competitively priced co-packing and staffing solutions.

What makes Brockville the ideal location for your business?

Brockville has unique access to many markets. Located next to both the Highway 401 corridor between Toronto and Montreal and the International Border Crossing to New York State we can give our customers both a competitive and logistical advantage.

What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

We are unassuming; quietly we have become one of the larger employers in the area with our co-packing and staffing solutions employing over 125 people and our job development/placement team has found over 60 new employment opportunities for those who face barriers to employment in our community.

Is there anything you would like to share about your business?

Business and Organizations that champion Career Services by providing employment opportunities and out-sourced packaging initiatives are also making an investment to make our community more inclusive. With their help, in 2017/18 we packaged over 5 million items for many local fortune 500 companies in our region.

We would like to extend our co-packing services of assembly/packing, shrink/flow wrapping, PDQ displays, ISPM 15 pallet/crate manufacturing and off-site staffing solutions to new potential customers that may not know what we can do to improve their company’s success.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your business?

In this past year, both changes to the Employment Standards Act and the closure announcements of some local industries have impacted us greatly. However, with over 45 years of operations experience we know that through increased production efficiencies, our existing and new partnerships, and our desire to help our community that our unique services will continue to succeed.

What is next for your company?

External pressures combined with a new focus, has us looking at every facet of our Organization. New Community Partnerships, Programs, and Business Initiatives will be coming throughout 2019.

What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?

It’s location. With the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 islands on our doorstep Brockville brings our employees an amazing quality of life. From walks along the waterfront, to boating, Brockville offers a beautiful natural landscape. Brockville also offers a unique mix of local flare, found in its many unique shops and restaurants along with access to the Urban cultures of Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal which are only a short drive away.

What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?

“We at Career Services are always amazed by the many generous hearts that fill the streets, homes and businesses in Brockville. There is an amazing local culture of working together for wellbeing of our community. From Volunteering, to Palliative Care fundraising our community works together and Career services strives to contribute to these efforts by helping as many individuals as we can, every day.” – Cynthia Sparring

Contact Career Services:

Cynthia Sparring, Executive Director

Location: 89 Hubbell Street, Brockville Ontario
Phone: 613-342-5775
Website: www.careerservices.ca

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