Jun 1, 2020

OP ED: Technology Development Can Drive Opportunities for Exports

The following Op Ed ran in the Brunswick News this week:

These are unprecedented times in our history. The global pandemic has had a significant impact on all of us, both at a human and economic level, leaving many in New Brunswick to worry about their health and wellbeing, the safety of their families, their friends, their communities, and the possible economic impact that will result. However, through bipartisan leadership and very good guidance from our health authorities, New Brunswick has moved into the next phase of recovery enabling businesses to reopen and some activities to resume, albeit under strict guidelines to prevent a resurgence. By working together as Team New Brunswick, we should be proud that our efforts to battle this virus has resulted in positive results that the rest of Canada, and much of North America, can learn from.

Our company, ARC Canada, has not been immune to the significant impacts of the current health crisis. Much like many other New Brunswick companies, ARC Canada has put a priority on the safety and security of our employees first and foremost. Through the immediate establishment of home offices with excellent support from a local IT support team, there has been little disruption and our Team has continued to work diligently in developing our programs with the future of our beautiful province in mind. We have not strayed away from our focus to ensure our Province remains on the cusp of an opportunity that could provide significant economic development to put New Brunswickers back to work in well-paying jobs.

Getting our economic engine churning should be a priority and the development of technology brings a significant opportunity that aligns very well with one of New Brunswick’s strengths, exports. New Brunswick is well known for a flexible work force that supports exports such as forest products, fish and processed seafood, and agri-food products. These products are very well known in Canada and abroad due to the workmanship of the women and men who support the manufacturing sector that is estimated to bring into New Brunswick over a billion dollars of revenue. Leveraging this strength is an import part of our vision and would lead to enhancing our Province’s capability by producing Small Modular Reactors (SMR) for export in Canada and worldwide. Such an approach could bring even more money into our beautiful Province where it shows up to our residents as labor income, household spending, taxes and increased funding for health and social programs that benefits all New Brunswicker’s.

Since ARC Canada established its Saint John headquarters in 2018, our commitment to a New Brunswick based supply chain continues to be a priority and a corporate responsibility. As we continue to move towards the development of an industry with a significant local manufacturing SMR supply chain, we continue to expand our economic reach through the engagement of our provincial universities and local professional services such as the recent partnership we announced with OARO, a cyber security company. Further, our plans have now been finalized such that ARC Canada itself will grow exponentially with a hiring strategy that reflects our New Brunswick culture by focusing on inclusivity and diversity, by accelerating the participation of Indigenous Peoples and women in the energy sector enabling equal opportunities in pursuit of careers in science, technology and innovation. We firmly believe this progressive, “made in New Brunswick”, business model will foster a more creative and innovative workforce to compete in a global market. Further, we are working with our partners to enable international organizations to set up offices locally to support the project and assist in training our local talent.

The “made in New Brunswick” business model goes even further than the ARC Canada hiring strategy. ARC Canada is proud to work collaboratively with the Atlantic Clean Energy Alliance (ACEA) which is continuously expanding and includes intermittent energy providers such as solar and wind technology. This partnership is another example of how local companies are coming together to build economic opportunities for New Brunswick through clean energy solutions.

As we come out from the shadow of the virus, it is important for New Brunswickers to feel that opportunities for careers can exist without having to move across the country, far away from our family and friends. Our youth need to feel that they can attain well-paying jobs with career growth opportunities while living in our beautiful and safe province. Technology development can drive opportunities and our Team, and its partners, both large and small, local and from away, have laid a solid foundation for success. However, our Team does acknowledge that such success could not come without the initial vison from the province in recognizing that emissions must be reduced for our children, concerns of waste must be addressed and economic opportunity must be seized. There are still hurdles to be cleared in a project of this scope, but as we all know, this province is a great place to do business.

Norman JD Sawyer, a native New Brunswicker, has almost 4 decades of significant leadership and experience in the energy industry and is now the President & CEO, ARC Canada.