The need for SPEED

The need for SPEED

Atlantic Canada’s 16 fastest-growing companies. Presented exclusively by Atlantic Business Magazine, in partnership with PROFIT

Fact: A company with five years of profitable growth is a healthy company. And healthy companies are most likely to create more sustainable jobs, hire more staff, purchase more equipment and give more generously to social causes. They are, in short, the type of companies we need more of.

There is much to be learned from these speedy successes. Their trailblazing shows where opportunity lies, and how to maximize every advantage. They demonstrate how to take calculated risks, creatively recruit and retain key personnel, and innovate strategically.

They are our economic leaders, on and off the track. This feature isn’t just their victory lap – it’s also an invitation to other companies to join the competition.

Drivers, start your engines
Think your company has what it takes to crack the PROFIT500? First you have to get in the race:

1. Mercers Best Built Structures Inc.

1,488% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 40

Description: A residential construction company that focuses on new homes, garages, and renovations.
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Founded: 2006
2013 revenue: $2-4.9 million

One key thing that drives your success?
“We do a lot of resale packages. Anything we’ve done in the past, we find out how marketable it is and then promote it. If we build a custom structure, for example a $200,000 cottage, we’ll take that and figure out the actual cost versus budget, and work out the margin, and then market it at that new price. We already know everything about the structure, so it goes up easier the second, third and fourth time.” – Jeremy Mercer, CEO

2. HockeyShot

537% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 116

Description: Provides hockey training
and skill-building products (including free hockey aides and videos) via an online storefront.
Location: Scoudouc, N.B.
Founded: 2006
2013 revenue: $2-4.9 million

To what do you attribute your rapid growth?
“Two things. Hockey training is in a growth phase over the last seven years. That’s one thing. The other is that we already had a good website but we invested a lot into marketing. Our aim was to grow our sales. Now what we’re doing is creating new products of our own to sell as well.” – Paul Brun, president & CEO

3. Premiere Mortgage Centre

397% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 149

Description: Provides mortgage broker services to homeowners and investors.
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Founded: 2006
2013 revenue: $6.7 million

Most successful sales strategy?
“The reputation of our sales force. We’ve created a culture of excellence within our company to attract top mortgage professionals and clients who want to do business with those who have a strong reputation.” – Don MacVicar, president

4. STI Technologies Ltd.

368% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 163

Description: Alternative pharmaceutical distributor that claims to oer patients more choice in their medications.
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Founded: 2003
2013 revenue: $10-19.9 million

Most effective HR tip?
“Our location. The fact that we’re in a city like Halifax that attracts the best talent from across Canada. But that’s not enough. We also use our empowered employee program. For example, employee bonuses are tied to company success markers. Our flex-time policies are open ended, meaning unlimited vacation time and sick time. We trust that our employees will work when they need to work to help make the company more successful.” – Stephen Nicolle, CEO and president

5. NAKAI Group

363% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 169

Description: Luxury spa, salon and massage services at three locations in Atlantic Canada.
Location: Moncton, N.B.
Founded: 2006
2013 revenue: $2-4.9 million

Best start-up advice?
“I believe you should make sure the market is in need of what you’re looking to do, but then give them a surprise as well, because not everyone knows what they’re looking for. It’s also going to be unbelievably hard work for a long time and you have to be ready for that. But it’s worth it. If you’re ready for it, it’s worth it.” – Melanie Lang, founder & CEO

6. Bluedrop Performance Learning Inc. [TSX-V: BPL]

218% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 260

Description: Delivers online training and development to business clients, along with in-class and simulation training for aerospace and defense customers.
Location: St. John’s, N.L.
Founded: 2004
2013 revenue: $11.5 million

Most rewarding export market?
“The U.S. It’s very accessible. You have to get on a plane yourself and go visit clients, find the right partners. It’s a very entrepreneurial market so they’re interested in new and exciting products. It might be even easier than selling in some parts of Canada.” – Emad Rizkalla, founder & CEO

7. Talon Energy Services Inc.

201% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 272

Description: Provides services to the oil and gas, natural resource and heavy industrial sectors, with a main focus on personnel.
Location: St. John’s, N.L.
Founded: 2003
2013 revenue: $20-49.9 million

Recommended financing?
“I think you need to look at all the options available to you. We’ve never found one single financing source that does all of what we need. We take advantage of all the programs out there, whether it is sublenders, chartered banks or government institutions. We have been growing dramatically. You can’t do that with just a chartered bank, you need secondary lenders.” – Terry King, president

8. Source Security & Investigations Inc.

156% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 320

Description: Security firm specializing in events and personal security for celebrities; recently expanded to Toronto and Vancouver.
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Founded: 2002
2013 revenue: $5-9.9 million

Most effective HR tip?
“A tool that we use to attract is word of mouth. Our employees are happy to do that for us. We have a process to find out who our biggest brand ambassadors are within the company. We single them out and have them help us attract new staff.” – Ron Lovett, president and founder

9. Telelink

137% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 343

Description: A Newfoundland-based contact centre that provides inbound customer support.
Location: St. John’s, N.L.
Founded: 1965
2013 revenue: $5-9.9 million

Most successful sales strategy?
“Telelink believes in forming strong and lasting relationships with industry associations to help establish credibility and brand awareness. Through these associations, Telelink strives to add value through subject matter expertise, positioning themselves as thought leaders and preferred suppliers.” – Chris MacDonald, director – marketing and communications

10. Stonewater Homes Inc.

113% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 379

Description: Builder and seller of new homes in greater Halifax area.
Location: Fall River, N.S.
Founded: 2006
2013 revenue: $5-9.9 million

Smartest move last year?
“Maintained our presence by continuing to work through the downed economy and slow real estate market. While many other home builders have laid off employees, stopped building homes and taken a step back, we have
actually grown our work force by adding more employees, continuing with our sales and marketing efforts, and building as many homes as in previous years.” – Ryan McNeil, president

11. Safety First-SFC Ltd.

105% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 392

Description: Provides traffic‘c control services and safety training for the construction and utilities industries.
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Founded: 1993
2013 revenue: $5-9.9 million

Biggest finance challenge?
“There was a period after 2008-09 that the banks tightened up their change purses. For a stretch it was tough. How’d we overcome? Begged and pleaded. Luckily we had a long track record to show, to… convince the
banks we were working with to bend the rules a little bit. We also had some well placed friends in the banking sector. We just didn’t take no for an answer.”
– Ed Hennessey, secretary

12. Bulletproof Solutions Inc.

104% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 395

Description: Off•era outsourced information technology services, with a client base primarily in Atlantic Canada.
Location: Fredericton, N.B.
Founded: 2000
2013 revenue: $10-19.9 million

Best brand awareness tool?
“Word of mouth. Our customers love us for our dedication and often refer us to other businesses, friends and family. We strongly believe our most effective tool is our customers.” – Charit Khatri, marketing and brand development specialist

13. Karwood Contracting Ltd.

98% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 402

Description: Integrated land development, real estate sales, design and construction company.
Location: Paradise, N.L.
Founded: 1999
2013 revenue: $10-19.9 million

Most exciting initiative last year?
“Resetting the team and letting go of employees who didn’t have the common goals of the company in mind. Also, bringing our real estate and marketing team in-house.” – Greg Hussey, owner and president

14. Plaza Retail REIT [TSX: PLZ.UN]

76% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 444

Description: Develops and owns retail properties in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario.
Location: Fredericton, N.B.
Founded: 1999
2013 revenue: $83.1 million

Most important technology for your company?
“Email and internet, as we operate out of four offices. Our CFO is in Toronto, the CEO is in Montreal, the corporate head office is in Fredericton and key sales people are in Halifax.” – Michael Zakuta, president and CEO

15. Nautel Ltd.

57% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 478

Description: Manufacturer of commercial radio broadcast transmitters.
Location: Hacketts Cove, N.S.
Founded: 1969
2013 revenue: $20-49.9 million

Entrepreneurial role model?
“Terry Matthews – an incredible serial entrepreneur who started some of Canada’s most successful technology companies. His capacity to lead through inspiration is something I aspire to. I have worked very diligently to learn how to ‘infect’ my team with a vision they want to achieve.” – Peter Conlon, president and CEO

16. Whitestone Developments Ltd.

51% growth over 5 years
PROFIT 500 ranking: 488

Description: Builds new homes and commercial spaces, with a focus on sustainable construction.
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Founded: 1995
2013 revenue: $10-19.9 million

Smartest initiative last year?
“Moved to a new location and redesigned our office to make the work space more usable.” – Tamara Barker Watson, CEO

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