Small stands tall
As Newfoundland and Labrador’s oil, gas and mining industries struggle with the economic downturn, some small and medium-sized businesses are finding ways to thrive
Fresh off a phone call with the BBC, SubC Imaging vice-president Ron Collier has good news: the British Broadcasting Corporation is going to trial one of his company’s newest cameras to shoot footage for its acclaimed Blue Planet series. He’s having similar discussions with National Geographic and the US. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — high-profile organizations looking for the latest and best technology.
“These are demo units we’re making available,” says Collier of the company’s 4K system — the first underwater video gear at that resolution quality. “They want to use it, there’s nothing else like it, we want them to try it out … ultimately, we hope they’ll be clients of ours.”
SubC Imaging develops and sells underwater video, image, and lighting solutions to offshore and subsea markets, including the oil and gas, ocean sciences, fisheries and aquaculture, and aerospace and defence sectors. The six-year-old small business, currently at 18 employees, is based in Clarenville, Newfoundland.
And, at a time when much of the competition is downsizing, SubC Imaging is growing: adding new employees, serving clients in over 20 countries, developing and launching new technology, and opening a satellite office in St. John’s.
Collier says it’s precisely SubC’s tidy size that’s allowing it to thrive. “Because we’re smaller, it’s a lot easier for us to modify our existing products or come up with new products … A big company has a lengthy process to go through before any change is made.”
That nimbleness allows SubC to react quickly to trends and demands, and it’s just one factor in their success. Their market position also requires the company to continuously push their technology and quality forward: “We have to sell on how different and better our products are …We do a ton of research and development. It’s something we enjoy doing, and we feel it’s necessary in order for us to thrive in any economy, but especially in an economy that isn’t as strong as sometimes.”