Riley Boudreau is hoping to broaden Salmon Arm’s colour palette.
Business development manager at Technology Brewing Corporation, Boudreau, who works with owner dad Mike, says the company’s new premises on Okanagan Avenue have been painted in primary colours similar to the colourful new Innovation Centre on Shuswap Street in order to advertise the community’s growing reputation as a technological hub.
Technology Brewing is a rapidly expanding team of electrical, mechatronics and robotics engineers and technologists who have been operating in Salmon Arm for more than a decade.
The company provides solutions to difficult automation needs across a variety of industries.
“We’re called an integrator; we take existing products on the market, such as a robotic arm from a company that creates them and sensors and special cameras from other suppliers and use the products from leading-edge companies in the field to design a system that will meet the customer’s need,” says Boudreau, who is in charge of marketing, sales, finding potential customers and positioning the company within the flourishing automation market.
“For example, for an industrial baker, we’re doing a project to score bread dough,” he says of the monotonous task. “In that project, we took a 3D sensor, a robot and other supporting hardware and assembled them with a software program that completes the task required by the customer. Essentially we’re the guys who make the fancy stuff go on the television show How It’s Made.”
Boudreau says people look to robotics when a client has a job that was previously performed by a human, but can’t find enough people for the job, so they go to Tech Brew for a robotic solution. He says most of the time, the job in question is a repetitive one that nobody wants to do or one where injury is possible.
“A a lot of times by installing a robotic system, they’re removing the repetitive strain injury or other harm.”
Boudreau says the growing company needed more space and has purchased a property previously used by the school district and applied colourful paint in order to make their presence known.
“While we were looking for how we wanted to make the building match creativity and cutting-edge innovation, someone mentioned Bill Laird’s new innovation space; the colours are awesome and we could follow that as a standard for innovation and technology that could be spread across Salmon Arm,” he says. “The idea behind that is the technology sector is one of Salmon Arm’s biggest strengths. We have the most technology and technology manufacturing jobs per capita in all of the Thompson Okanagan and we’re a leader provincially.”
He points to another leading-edge company located in the industrial park that manufactures items with such high precision their primary customer is the U.S. military.
Boudreau says Salmon Arm may be a small town but could be described as a “mini Silicon Valley,” and if people see the evidence of that it builds trust that “the sector really is here, not just random mom and pop shops that kind of know what they’re doing.”
Boudreau says Technology Brewing sees itself as a Google company, with flexible hours, snacks and beverages in the fridge at all times, and more, in an effort to provide a creative environment for staff.
The company has been in business since 1999, growing rapidly in its first phase, but knocked back into a basement shop during the recession of 2008 to 2010.
“We went from a basement and two shops other out on Auto Road, which will stay there for the time being, but we’re working towards consolidating properties down to one.”
Technology Brewing employed four people in 2016 and has grown to employ 13 people.