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Industrial Technology Centre 'eager' to tap into Ontario market.

When it comes to finding new clients in Northern Ontario, business is slow for Winnipeg's Industrial Technology Centre (ITC). But Market and Business Development Officer Bill Boskwick remains optimistic that it's just a matter of time before things change.

ITC provides technical services for companies, home-based businesses, entrepreneurs and government agencies primarily in Manitoba.

"We bend and break things and calibrate and inspect," Boskwick laughs.

ITC is accredited through the Standards Council of Canada and is also ISO 90001 certified, Boskwick says. The facility offers a broader range of technical services than any other independent, commercial laboratory in Manitoba, he says.

Its specialized laboratories and machine shop provide services in areas like calibration, technical information, mechanical testing, noise and vibration analysis, dimensional inspection and product/process design and development.

But despite being the closest provider of these services for northwestern Ontario, ITC has had little luck in attracting clients from across the border.

"It's surprising," Boskwick says. "We've barely had any contact with anyone over there (in Ontario). We have selectively done work for some of the mills like the pulp mills m Fort Frances and Dryden, but nothing substantial has come forward in the last few months."

Because of this, he says the centre will be turning its focus to the prairie provinces for the winter, where a lot of work for the facility has cropped up recently. But northwestern Ontario remains a market ITC is eager to tap into whenever the opportunity presents itself, he says.

"Because of some of the directions we have to go in, I'm spending a fair bit of my time - probably until the first quarter (of 2001) - on a lot of the manufacturing activities that are going on here in Manitoba and also with the farm implement folks between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. That's not to the detriment of Ontario, but that's where we have a fairly substantive client base."

ITC has no immediate marketing plans to attract more Ontario clients, Boskwick says.

"We look at noise and vibration inspections and analysis - we do a fair bit of that type of work and we have gone into mills in Ontario to do that kind of inspection work, so I guess those that need it are aware of us. And from time to time we advertise in the professional journals."

Boskwick says the next closest facility with the same services as ITC is in southern Ontario, which is significantly further away for northwestern Ontario clients.

"The reality is, we're a resource that, if the clients need it, they call us," Boskwick says. "I've done selective targeted mailings and I've taken our information packages, and I've put them out to consulting engineering people and some of the plant engineering folks. To some degree they're aware, but it's a sustained thing. That implies to me that either the demand isn't there, or they're already utilizing things in Ontario or other places, or they don't need it.

But when the demand does pick up, Boskwick says ITC will be ready.

"We offer a dimensional calibration laboratory which is the only one of its kind in western Canada, and we're very much into the noise and vibration analysis which is appropriate to heavy industry like pulp and paper and mining," Boskwick says.

Services like these, he notes, would be beneficial to northwestern Ontario where the pulp and paper and mining industries represent a significant portion of the regional economy. A detailed listing of ITC's services can be found on the Internet at
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Title Annotation:technical services consulting firm
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CMAN
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Previous Article:Environment and Energy Conference 2001.
Next Article:Coming out ahead.

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