ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Group, a worldwide-acting company for maritime defence electronics, announced earlier this week that they have officially incorporated in Canada and that they have decided to establish their national headquarters in Victoria, BC at the Vancouver Island Technology Park. ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Canada Ltd has been set up to establish a strong and reliable partnership with the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian authorities. As potential main contractor, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Canada will provide Atlas products and solutions for current and future Canadian users. This is an important step within the globalization strategy of the company, which is based with its headquarters in Germany.
I had the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with Rick Gerbrecht, CEO of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Canada, to ask him a few in-depth questions about why the company chose to set up shop in Victoria and, more specifically, establish an office at VITP. I was also curious about what he would be focusing the company’s efforts on over the next six months, in other words would I be seeing torpedoes and underwater unmanned vehicles being assembled down the hall from my office?
Q1: What were the decision-making factors when choosing what Canadian city to locate the subsidiary?
RG: “I’ll have to answer this one from two perspectives. Personally speaking, I’ve been the company’s Director of Canadian Business Development while working from my home in Saanich. It was mutually understood that if ATLAS ELEKTRONIK moved forward with expansion efforts in Canada, Victoria would be a candidate location for the subsidiary. Being an international company we’re set up to conduct ‘geographically displaced project management’ so I was afforded a degree of latitude to consider my current place of residence as an option.
From the business perspective there were certain strategic objectives that were considered in the decision point. Firstly, being located in proximity to a National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) designated Shipyard was key. Secondly, being located near a Naval Dockyard was of equal importance given that, in my line of work, this is the location where the majority of our in-service support occurs. The VICTORIA-Class Submarine extended refit program is also carried out in Esquimalt and we provide support to the submarines now. Many people may not be aware of the fact that all four of our Canadian submarines undergo extensive refurbishment at the SeaSpan yard. Victoria is also at the mouth of the Asia-Pacific Gateway so this location aligns with our ongoing global expansion efforts. Lastly, Vancouver Island has a number of recognized post-secondary institutions and I am assigned the additional mandate to identify R&D initiatives to support indigenous growth with appropriate research talent.”
So, aside from already residing in Saanich, all of the start-up business objectives were satisfied with the Victoria location. Yes, I am quite pleased with the outcome and level of trust my corporate leadership has placed in me to permit investment in Victoria. I believe the right decision was made.”
Q2: Why was VITP the chosen location in Victoria to establish an office?
RG: “The global nature of our company has made us comfortable running operations from any location and during my due diligence process I did assess a number of venues across the country. VITP not only offered the most comprehensive list of services and amenities, but it also proved to be the most economic location to operate and nurture growth. My appreciation of the Marine Technology Centre (MTC), which is solely dedicated to facilitating the growth of the ocean and marine technology sector, was also recognized by my corporate authority. I anticipate as Atlas Canada grows we will require, along with project management, the addition of production and field testing capabilities. MTC’s access to the waters of Patricia Bay, the Federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, and the new Victoria Airport Business Park collectively support the option to move when potential project work dictates. VITP boasts the benefit of collaboration through co-location and I think there’s some value in that statement and I intend to leverage opportunities while being located at the park.”
Q3: What will you be working on over the next six months?
RG: “ATLAS ELEKTRONIK is successfully executing contracts with the Federal Government now; however, these products and services are being delivered from offshore. The establishment of the Canadian subsidiary has secured what I describe as the essential beachhead: we have secured registry with Industry Canada; we are a legal entity; we will create employment for Canadians; and, we will compete to provide proven and mature technology managed in Canada. We are positioned to deliver leading solutions in areas such as mine detection & disposal, sonar, and command & control in support of the Royal Canadian Navy and the National Shipbuilding and Procurement Strategy effort.”
Finally, when I asked if I would be seeing torpedoes being wheeled down the hallways of VITP, Rick laughed and succinctly replied, “No, perhaps a submarine sandwich or two… ”
For more information:
ATLAS ELEKTRONIK CANADA Ltd
ATLAS ELEKTRONIK CANADA Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH of Bremen, Germany and serves the Canadian market with a specific focus on Command & Control, sonar, and unmanned vehicles. ATLAS ELEKTRONIK CANADA is strategically located in proximity to the Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet and a NSPS Shipyard and is capable of providing any of the ATLAS Group products as well as a broad range of associated technical and logistics support services for the entire product life cycle.
The ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Group stands for maritime and naval solutions above and below the ocean surface. The company holds a leading position in all fields of maritime high technology, from command & control systems including radio & communication systems for submarines, surface combatants and mine warfare systems and ranging to heavyweight torpedoes, coastal surveillance systems and in-service support. ATLAS has established a worldwide customer portfolio. The electronics specialist is a joint company of ThyssenKrupp and EADS and has a workforce of 1900 highly skilled employees.
ATLAS ELEKTRONIK CANADA Ltd
Suite 2202D-4464 Markham St
Victoria BC, V8Z 7X8