SACKVILLE, N.B. – It was an exciting day for Sackville as Cam Tran was officially welcomed to town on Friday, bringing back much-needed and long-awaited manufacturing jobs to the community with the promise of many more to come.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity and what we’re about to build here,” said Kyle Campbell, Cam Tran’s president and CEO, during the grand opening of the company’s transformer plant on Bridge Street, at the site where Moloney Electric once operated.
Cam Tran, an Ontario-based company which specializes in the manufacturing, repair and renewal of electrical distribution transformers, purchased the assets of the former Moloney plant earlier this year and has hired about 15 of its former employees to run the new facility, putting skilled and local labourers back to work in their field.
The plant has been up and running now for a couple of months, said Campbell, and jobs that have been filled include a plant manager, welders, coil winders, wire assembly technicians, machine operators and administrative staff. Campbell said the hope is to have 35 employed at the 36,000-square foot facility by 2020 and up to 60 within the next five years.
“We’re looking forward to building a world-class facility here in Sackville for generations to come,” he said.
Cam Tran (Campbell Transformers) employs a workforce of about 300 people in its plants across Canada, including its headquarters in Colborne, Ont, and facilities in Spruce Grove, Alta., Chilliwack, B.C. and now Sackville.
With an already “healthy market share in central and Western Canada,” Campbell said Cam Tran decided to expand into New Brunswick because of the availability of a skilled workforce and the already-existing facility in Sackville. He said Sackville’s location is ideal because it offers a competitive advantage in growing the company’s Eastern Canadian and Caribbean target markets, as it is centrally located in the Maritimes and offers access to shipping lanes to Newfoundland and into the Caribbean.
“This will allow us to better serve these customers and these markets than our competition does.”
Campbell said Cam Tran also sees the opening of the new Sackville plant as an opportunity to grow as a significant player in the re-establishment of power in regions affected by natural disasters.
“We plan on being instrumental in helping storm-hit areas in the Caribbean get their communities back up and running, and much of that work will be done in Sackville,” he said.
The company is also hoping to make inroads with Atlantic Canada’s utilities that already have commitments to buying highly energy-efficient transformers.
Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Bernard LeBlanc was on hand for Friday’s opening and announced that Opportunities New Brunswick is putting its support behind Cam Tran, providing the company with a $115,000 investment, in the form of a non-repayable grant, to help towards set-up costs. The acquisition of the building and land, as well as the purchase of new equipment and upgrades/repairs to the plant, have come with a pricetag of more than $900,000.
LeBlanc said he is honoured to have played a role in encouraging Cam Tran to come to Sackville.
“This is a great announcement for me, for the community and for New Brunswick,” he said. “Now we’re going to have a company that will be here forever for the employees that are very skilled here in New Brunswick. So that is good news.”
LeBlanc said job creation is instrumental in the provincial government’s plan for economic growth so he is pleased this new plant is expanding into the Eastern Canadian market and providing the opportunity to put skilled workers in Sackville and South East New Brunswick back to work
“We’re going to see success here for years and years to come with this company, I am sure of that.”
Campbell said if it weren’t for the hard work, commitment and support of several key people – including MLA LeBlanc as well as Sackville Mayor John Higham and town staff – the plant would never have been re-opened.
There were many challenges along the way to overcome, including legal issues, but Mayor Higham said this has been a top priority on his agenda since being elected two years ago and he wanted to see this come to fruition.
“I knew that we had this asset; we had this building and we had a skilled workforce . . . and if we didn’t get it soon, we would lose it,” he said of his persistence.
Higham said manufacturing jobs are hard to come by in Atlantic Canada, and particularly in small rural areas, so he wanted to do what he could to keep them here in Sackville.