Homegrown firms like MMIST and Evizone, along with industry giants such as Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics take advantage of Ottawa’s deep technology talent
Ottawa, May 23, 2012 – Invest Ottawa data confirms defence and security remains one of the capital’s largest knowledge-based sectors with 168 core companies while another 235 firms conduct some of their business in defence and security. There are 10,171 direct employees in the sector and annual sales exceed one billion dollars. Ottawa defence and security companies produce everything from unmanned airborne platforms to anti-hacker communications software, to tank weapons control systems.
“Ottawa’s defence and security firms are holding steady. National military spending rose 54 per cent in the last decade to top $22 billion,” says Bruce Lazenby, Invest Ottawa’s CEO. “New Canadian military spending programs could add between $90 and $110 billion in the next 17 years. Ottawa has a fine crop of homegrown companies and Invest Ottawa provides a broad range of support such as global marketing.”
“Ottawa is the natural national hub because the nation’s defence and security agencies are headquartered here,” says David Luxton, Chair of the Ottawa Security Cluster and Chairman of Allen-Vanguard Corporation. He adds that, “Ottawa also has direct channels to Washington and the U.S. defence and security market, plus federal export agencies and foreign embassies here that can assist with the development of overseas markets.”
“About 10 per cent of Canada’s overall defence industry is in Ottawa. The sector is in a favourable spot for the next several years because of the region’s expertise in information management, electronics and software,” says Tim Page, President of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI). Next week on May 30 – 31 CADSI will host the 14th annual CANSEC Defence and Security trade show in Ottawa. It is the nation’s largest such event.
One of Ottawa’s homegrown defence stars is Mist Mobility Integrated Systems Technology Inc. (MMIST). Founded in 2000, this 35-employee company expanded the customer base for its core product by 50 per cent in 2011. MMIST provides a number of unmanned airborne platforms that deliver supplies into difficult locations. Using parafoil wings – its high tech cargo systems can deliver packages up to 10,000 lbs. including vehicles. MMIST’s CQ-10A SnowGoose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can be air launched from a transport aircraft or from a ground trailer, and then fly under its own power with a delivery range in excess of 500 km. A new model of the SnowGoose will enable vertical takeoff and landings and double both range and speed. MMIST is a supplier to more than 15 nations including the US and Canadian military.
“We are in Ottawa because of the talent pool that is so important to our product line. We plan to expand our staff by 20 per cent in the next year. We are very optimistic for 2012. After a record 2011 and we already have the biggest order backlog in our history,” says Sean McCann, MMIST’s CEO. He adds, “The support of Invest Ottawa and the work it does to create a great business environment helps build on our already dynamic workforce.”
An Ottawa start-up company building a cyber security solution is Evizone Ltd. Evizone is a secure online service for the exchange of files and view-only messages and documents. The company is aiming its service at defence and security organizations, embassies, and private companies in need of a locked-down security zone that leaves no trace of any communications on the recipient’s computer if it’s hacked, stolen or lost. Evizone’s CEO Andrew Coutts is an Ottawa software industry veteran who understands the amount of work that Invest Ottawa does to support the aerospace and defence sector, and credits “proximity to the Canadian capital’s defence hub as one of the primary reasons our investors decided to fund Evizone’s ambitious R&D program.”
The world’s number one defence contractor is also in Ottawa. With global revenues in 2010 of nearly $46 billion, Bethesda, MD-based Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Canadian headquarters has more than 200 employees located in the national capital supporting all branches of the Canadian Forces. “The importance of being close to National Defence Headquarters is obvious but what is also attractive is a workforce that is very capable and engaged. Ottawa is the centre for the Canadian defence industry,” says Tom Digan, President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Canada.
General Dynamics Inc., based in Falls Church, VA, employs nearly 1,000 people in Ottawa providing systems integration on large scale, complex programs such as the Aurora Modernization and the Maritime Helicopter, as well as the voice/data IP-based communication solutions for the LAV combat vehicles used by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. The company also supplies the world’s top computing systems and displays for weapons control on most US Army vehicles including the M1A1 Main Battle Tank and the Stryker Infantry Combat Vehicle. “Other nations want to take advantage of the investments Canada has made and to cost effectively implement similar technology. This export success creates jobs for Ottawa,” says David Ibbetson, General Manager of General Dynamics Canada.
About Invest Ottawa
Invest Ottawa delivers economic development programs and initiatives that increase entrepreneurial momentum, wealth and jobs in the City of Ottawa and its surrounding region. Its goal is to make Ottawa the best place in Canada to start and grow a knowledge-based business. Invest Ottawa services include start-up incubation and mentorship, acceleration for existing companies, global business attraction and local business retention, targeted sector development, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. www.investottawa.ca
Defence and Security Contacts
President & CEO Invest Ottawa
Phone: 613-828-6274, ext. 267
Chair Ottawa Security Cluster
market2world communications inc.