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Vaughan : Innovation + Job News

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Local biomedical systems maker Biosign signs more than $100 million in distribution deals this month

Biosign Technologies, a Vaughan-based company that makes online medical monitoring devices and has created an innovative diabetes monitoring device, has announced distribution agreements for Europe and the Middle East and Africa that are expected to produce more than $100 million in sales by the end of 2011.

The UFIT TEN-20, the company's latest innovation, which will now launch in Europe in September of this year, takes a measurement at the wrist that gives blood glucose and blood pressure reading, which are stored on the company's servers. As the company materials say, the process is "indirect, non-invasive and passive."

The biggest advance in the product's launch is the signing of a deal with Swiss-based DynamiCARE AG to distribute UFIT TEN-20 across Europe -- an area which represents one third of Biosign's expected global market for the product. A DynamiCARE spokesperson said the product represents "the next evolution of testing and diagnostics for personal medicine," and expects it to have "momentous impact." As part of the deal, DunamiCARE will pay an initial fee of $2.5 million to Biosign, and has committed to achieving sales of more than US$100 million by the end of next year.

A further deal announced this month sees distribution for the Middle East and North Africa handled by Dubai-based ALQAEM International. That contract carries a commitment to sell more than US$14 million by the end of 2011.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Radu Leca, President & CEO, Biosign Technologies

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

905 electricity distributors PowerStream add new transformer to accommodate growth, will hire

PowerStream, an electricity distributor jointly owned by the cities of Vaughan, Markham and Barrie, last week opened the first new transformer constructed in its service territory since 2002. The facility, named the Robert Fabro Transformer Station after a long-serving employee of PowerStream's predecessor company, Markham Hydro, will have enough capacity to serve 40,000 homes.

According to information supplied by Powerstream spokesperson Eric Fagan, the company owns 11 such facilities, more "transmission grid direct-connect transformer stations than any other municipally owned electricity distribution company in Ontario," and is the second-largest municipally owned electricity distributor in the province.

Fagan says that the company serves roughly 325,000 consumers now, and is consistently adding roughly 6,000-8,000 new customers per year. He chalks the growth up to a combination of the large-scale development taking place in the area north of Toronto served by the company and to an aggressive program that attracts condo building owners by offering to retrofit their properties with individual-unit metering.

Currently, the company employs 500 staff. And while Fagan says they attempt to keep human resources costs low in order to deliver better prices to consumers, the company is often hiring to accommodate the constant growth. In particular, he says, attempting to meet load reduction targets mandated by provincial authorities next year will mean substantial hiring in the conservation department of the company.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Eric Fagan, Director of Corporate Communications, PowerStream

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Solar Academy fills the training gap in GTA, will hire as it sets up permanently in Vaughan in May

Jacob Travis was working as a headhunter for the solar energy industry when he attended the CanSIA conference last December. "The were 2,500 people there, and I had a lot of the major solar companies asking if I could find them people for two jobs: Design engineers... and project managers." When he went looking as a recruiter, Travis found a sever shortage of qualified people in Ontario.

As Ontario's world-leading feed-in tariff system reaches implementation, we'll need a lot of qualified people to build and install sustainable energy infrastructure -- a shortage identified by CanSIA in a three-year market survey. That's why Travis set up the Ontario Solar Academy to fill the skills gap. Working from a hotel, the Celevland-and-Toronto based Travis set up a website and recruited an instructor. The first month's class in February saw its 28 spots filled in two weeks. A class of 25 in March sold out too, and Travis says the April class's 25 slots are almost full.

Demand is so high -- and only likely to grow -- that the Solar Academy has secured a lease on a facility on Vaughan to be a permanent home as the company expands in May.

So far, Ontario Solar Academy employs three people in Toronto on a contract basis. Travis expects to see substantial hiring as the new facility opens, and excitedly rhymes off a list of upcoming initiatives, including an apprenticeship program launching this month, an alumni network and a new affiliated company, Ontario Solar Solutions, of which he says, "Our business is to support other solar businesses." And right now, it looks like the number of solar businesses will only continue to grow.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jacob Travis, Director, Ontario Solar Academy

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Reena's new social service facility in Vaughan will employ 20+, house 84, serve even more

Reena, a social service agency in Vaughan that serves people with developmental disabilities by housing them and helping them integrate into the community, has secured a $1.5 million grant from the provincial government towards the construction of a new facility in Vaughan.

The new building on the agency's Lebovic Campus will house 84 people and will employ 20 support staff immediately, in addition to the construction trades jobs created before it opens, says Minnie Ross, communications and marketing manager of Reena. She says the number of employees "will increase to 30 or 40 over the next two years."

The new building will also house the agency's professional development training program, creating 56 new training spaces for those considering working with the developmentally disabled, and a day centre serving young adults in the community who require programming during the day.

The agency, founded in 1973, currently provides services to approximately 1,000 individuals, including housing 300 people in 132 group homes, condos and apartments.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Minnie Ross, Communications and Marketing Manager, Reena

Vaughan's Still Waters produces Ontario's first micro-distilled vodka

By now, any boozehound who bellies up to the bar can choose from dozens, if not hundreds, of beers brewed locally in small batches. The microbrewery trend caught on in the GTA in the 1990s and -- despite such industry innovators such as Sleeman's and Upper Canada being swallowed by big corporations -- the small-is-beautiful ethos has solidified among discerning beer drinkers.

But until now, Ontario has not had a micro-distiller making spirits in small batches. Still Waters, based in Vaughan, changed that late last year when it launched a single-malt vodka at the LCBO, the company's (and the province's) first micro-distilled product to reach the market.

According to Barry Bernstein, Still Waters' co-founder and one of its two employees, the vodka, which retails for $36.95, is selling well. Still Waters was founded in 2005 as an importer, bottler and distributor of single-malt scotches. But last year the company was reborn with the purchase of a custom-made (and beautiful) pot still from Germany.

The vodka is made by hand in small batches ("600 litres, rather than 6,000 or 20,000 litres" as big distillers do, says Bernstein), and every bottle is packed by hand by the company's creators.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Barry Bernstein, Founder, Still Waters

Magna gets $7.2-million boost from NRC partnership

On the heels of one of the worst years the North Americancar industry has ever seen, the National Research Council has announced apartnership with auto parts maker Magna International Inc., to develop what itdescribes as "lighter, more durable parts that are safer, affordable,environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient."

Magna Exteriors and Interiors, based in Concord, Ontario,will use a new $7.2-million research and development centre to work on newcomposite materials.

"Automotive suppliers and original equipment manufacturersthat lead the industry in innovation and productivity know that vehicles of thefuture will need more composite content in order to provide the fuel economy,utility and safety that consumers demand," says Bob Brownlee, president of the division. "TheMagna-NRC Composite Centre of Excellence will help reinforce Magna's positionas a supplier of lightweight, cost-effective composite solutions to the globalautomotive market."

According to Magna International co-chief executive DonWalker, lighter materials are necessary to reduce a car's energy requirementsand would allow smaller, more market-friendly batteries onboard electric cars.

Magna already has a contract to build the electric drivetrains of the all-electric 2011 Ford Focus.

Research was to begin immediately, and the new facilitieswill be up and running by the summer.

Writer: Bert Archer

21 Vaughan Articles | Page: | Show All
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