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Sibling success.

Brothers James and Bruce Anning are like two opposites that attract. One is conservative and cautious; the other, headstrong and bullish. Together they have formed an interesting partnership to develop a unique commercial painting system.

Ever meet a married couple and wonder what the initial attraction was? The same question came to mind when I entered the offices of Advanced Composite Structures on Dublin Avenue. Brothers James and Bruce Anning, who comprise the executive of this company, come from entirely different dimensions in the business world.

James, the elder of the two at age 30, comes from the conservative world of accounting. With a Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba, he left a secure position at Safeway that he had held for the past 11 years to join his brother in this venture. This is his baptism into the tough world of entrepreneurial independence. Brother Bruce, 28 years old, has come up through the ranks of business, from composite technician to plant manager, with eight years of experience.

It was originally Bruce's brainchild to start a family-owned business - one that repaired and replaced aviation panels. He felt "restricted working within the confines of someone else's business." In September, 1988, the company came to life, using family-based capital of $50,000 to kick-start them.

Both brothers were excited at the prospect of being able to develop their own ideas at their own speed. This is especially true for Bruce, who bums rubber at the starting line and digests the competition as a regular part of his diet.

Less glib than his younger counterpart, james is the stabilizing force who takes care of the details, and makes the numbers add up on the right side of the ledger. While bowing to his brother's expertise in the field of marketing and general horse-trading, it is James, the company controller, who is the financial conscience.

But their entry into the world of entrepreneurship has been anything but smooth. There have been plenty of things to worry about: to begin with, it took a full year to have the Department of Transport license them in the manufacturing of aviation parts. Both brothers grimace at the memory of the convoluted procedure the licensure required. "However, being the only one in Canada with such a license puts us in an enviable position," states Bruce.

In December of 1987, the Annings had a market survey done to see if there was a strong enough customer base to warrant a company repairing helicopter parts. It said there waS; they were wrong. With only 25 major companies and approximately 100 small ones in Canada using helicopters in any capacity, the brothers had to scramble. A life, line was thrown by two local aerospace companies who contracted them to do custom coating work.

Bruce saw this as an opening to expansion, and with the aid of a $100,000 business development loan, they branched out into surfacing of panels. "This is a finishing step in the panel where you fill in any surface blemishes," explains Bruce.

Not one to let any grass grow under his feet, or let any competitor catch up, Bruce was out at the trade shows selling and learning. His next idea was to prove not only innovative, but a true test of his entrepreneurial blood.

Powder painting, which provides better adhesion, is scratch-resistant and lasts up to twice as long as conventional paint, was their next gamble. "Non-hazardous to the environment, and to the employees who work with it, we felt it was a right step in the future of this industry," states Bruce.

Trying to proceed slowly the brothers spent five months using a manual powder-paint system. They were impressed with the quality of the product and the quick turn around time they could now offer their customers. They decided that if manual was good, then automated would be great! In August of 1989, they committed themselves to a large volume, automated powder-painting system, and a bill of $650,000.

Our intrepid brothers see growth as the natural evolution to their gutsy way of doing business. Either "Clarence the angel" is looking out for these two, or they are just plain smart. They have a repeat customer base of 80 percent, and are looking at revenues of $1.5 million in 1990. Expanding their custom coating to include commercial and industrial contracts, such as automobiles, wire and metal cabinets, has resulted in an increase in the number of employees to 38. The company is also opening up an additional 2,000 square feet of factory space to accommodate the anticipated growth.

"By using our family's money to get started, it has been an extra incentive to work hard and do well," says james.

It may be something of an odd mix, but the two brothers have a mutual respect for each other, and though they are very different, like a good marriage they have been able to make it work. the product and the quick turn around time they could now offer their customers. They decided that if manual was good, then automated would be great! In August of 1989, they committed themselves to a large volume, automated powder-painting system, and a bill of $650,000.

Our intrepid brothers see growth as the natural evolution to their gutsy way of doing business. Either "Clarence the angel" is looking out for these two, or they are just plain smart. They have a repeat customer base of 80 percent, and are looking at revenues of $1.5 million in 1990. Expanding their custom coating to include commercial and industrial contracts, such as automobiles, wire and metal cabinets, has resulted in an increase in the number of employees to 38. The company is also opening up an additional 2,000 square feet of factory space to accommodate the anticipated growth.

"By using our family's money to get started, it has been an extra incentive to work hard and do well," says james.

It may be something of an odd mix, but the two brothers have a mutual respect for each other, and though they are very different, like a good marriage they have been able to make it work.
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Title Annotation:James Anning, Bruce Anning, Advanced Composite Structures
Author:Matwijiw, Colleen
Publication:Manitoba Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Jun 1, 1990
Words:1031
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