Exports fuel growth for Fraser Valley manufacturer

A Maple Ridge based manufacturing company is experiencing tremendous growth due to an export contract with South Korea. Advanced Flow Systems and Surround Technologies, a subsidiary of AdvanTec Global Innovations, is growing so quickly that recruiting skilled tradespeople is a challenge. The company needs welders, fabricators, industrial electricians and general labourers. It has hired 100 people since January 2015 and expects to hire 35 more in the coming months.

Vancouver-born Anthony Van Grol was recruited in early 2014 to grow the business after working for manufacturing companies in Indianapolis and San Francisco. His efforts have exceeded expectations. Sales have increased significantly as a result of an export contract to manufacture power modules for the South Korean market and project based work in Western Canada. These projects include engineer to order building and enclosures, pipe and vessel fabrication and custom mechanical packages.

What is the key to Anthony Van Grol’s success? “Networking, product quality and a focussed effort on sales and marketing,” he explains. His next challenge is finding skilled workers to support the expanded sales.

“There is a drastic shortage of skilled trade people and a limited number of apprentices. The challenge for our dedicated recruiters is to find journeyman trades people to support the training of apprentices.”

To offset this, the company is working with Kwantlen Polytechnic University to bring trades training to the north side of the Fraser River since many people in the area lack the means or transportation to access training in local colleges and universities.

For the past 20 years Surround Technologies has been the leading manufacturer, designer and integrator of custom enclosures, oil field skids and related products for commercial and industrial applications. Advance Flow Systems has been operating for three years.

The company ships products throughout B.C., Alberta and the USA from its 90,000 square foot headquarters on the Fraser River, using its own barge facility.

Key Government of B.C. Services for Employers