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Innovation & Job News

Oakville animation studio Pipeline grows from 24 to 90 employees in four years, hiring now

Oakville's Pipeline Studios has grown quickly since its launch in 2007, taking on computer animation projects for such entertainment powerhouses as Nelvana, Nick Jr., Hasbro and the Disney Channel, including working on the kids' show blockbuster The Backyardigans. In that time they've also grown from 24 to 90 employees, and continue to hire now, according to company co-founder Juan Lopez.

"It's a constant process of growing and hiring," Lopez says. "it's a key advantage, having made a large investment in technology, but also being close to a pool of very highly skilled labour." He notes that Canada—and the GTA and Sheridan College in particular—have a global reputation for excellence in animation. "That reputation means that major worldwide productions come here, even though there's competition from lower-cost areas such as China. We control the standard of quality." He notes that the company's reputation for quality and for employing the best has also attacted some of the best animators in the world to relocate here. "People like the quality of life here. They mention it."

Mac Holyoke was a Sheridan College graduate and an employee of Nelvana when he hooked up with fellow Sheridan Grad Lopez to found the company in January 2007. They formed a partnership with Sheridan College's business incubator Spark, and have since recruited more than 60 per cent of their staff from the school, which is known around the world for its animation program. Pipeline's success at Spark was recently held up as a model by the Ministry of Research and Innovation when it announced the creation of an Ontario Centre of Excellence research hub called HalTech at Sheridan.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Juan Lopez, Pipeline Studios; Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
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