Aspin Kemp making waves in PEI and around the globe


Aspin Kemp making waves in PEI and around the globe

A trade mission to India last February with the premier is paying off for Aspin Kemp CEO, Jason Aspin. 

The engineering and manufacturing company, with corporate headquarters in PEI, provides power and control systems to marine and offshore industries. The company’s approach and innovation caught the attention of an Indian IT business they met.

Grintex India Limited, which specializes in ship design, homeland security, aerospace and space industry and air traffic control, was interested in a second meeting, so Aspin and his Finance Director Ravi Naidu travelled back to India in March.

The second meeting went so well that the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding witnessed by the premier during their third meeting just last week in the Aspin Kemp office in Stratford, PEI.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan made himself available on a moment’s notice to witness the deal.

“That just doesn’t happen anywhere else,” Aspin said. “The Province is very supportive that way.”

A small company like us is on the radar here. We can adjust and move fast as things change and PEI can too — it’s a good match for us.

Aspin Kemp employs more than 150 people from around the globe on Prince Edward Island and has locations in Singapore, Texas, Nova Scotia and Ontario. They’re rapidly expanding their reach and growing the business.

“Most of our business is in Asia,” says Aspin, whose wife Chunying Li, is an engineer and the company’s director of operations. The two met in Singapore and she agreed to make the move back to his Island home. The couple lives in Charlottetown with their two children.

This latest deal with Grintex is just another win for the successful company which relocated its headquarters to PEI three years ago.

I can hop a flight to Toronto and be anywhere in the world from here a lot easier than I could dealing with traffic in Hamilton.

Aspin, who grew up on a Pinette farm, said the prospects for doing big business from a small jurisdiction are many. “A small company like us is on the radar here. We can adjust and move fast as things change and PEI can too — it’s a good match for us.”

He and his staff appreciate the Island lifestyle, low cost of doing business and the ease to reach foreign markets.

“I can hop a flight to Toronto and be anywhere in the world from here a lot easier than I could dealing with traffic in Hamilton. 

Government programs such as the labour rebate and provincial tax incentive for marine-based companies have been, and will be, their two biggest supports, he said.

“Innovation PEI has been really helpful to us. I want people to know the Island is open for business. It will offer you a lot more than expected. It has advantages over any place in Canada or the world. Companies thinking about setting up really need to take a look under the hood here in PEI,” he said.

“It has worked out well for us, and it’s great to prove all the naysayers wrong.”

Original Article:

Summerside developer releasing “Rapscallions”


“Avast, me hearties, ye had best practice ye scurvy pirate speak in preparedness o’ “Rapscallions.”

OK, so writing pirate talk is not as easy as it sounds. In case you missed that, Summerside video game company Funky Finger Productions Inc. is ready to release the newest pirate-themed addition to its lineup, “Rapscallions.”

Andy Roberts, director of product development at the studio, explained that the game is his small, but mighty, crew’s most ambitious project since the company was founded in 2012.

“This is the most adventurous game that we’ve done yet and we really want that to be our calling card. This is what a small team can do and this is what we’re capable of as a company,” said Roberts.

The game itself is akin to checkers, with the object being to send your pirate crew from your ship out onto a net grid connecting it to your opponent’s vessel. When two pirates encounter each other the aggressor knocks the defender off the grid. Whichever player completely decimates the other’s crew, wins. There are also various items and bonuses players can use to give their sprightly crew an advantage.

Users can play against an artificial intelligence, locally on the same device with a friend or over the Internet.

The game itself is free, but there are in-game, real money, purchases and advertisements.

Roberts called it a “spiritual successor” to an old Commodore 64 game called “Piracy.”

“Rapscallions” will appear on the Android store by the end of this week, while the iTunes version will appear, hopefully, sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, they can’t be more specific regarding release dates, said Roberts, because once the company submits the game to the distributor even they don’t know exactly when it will work its way through their system and be posted.

This will be Funky Finger’s third title, the others being “Ice Slyder” and “TyRunAsaurus.”

The company currently employs five people and operates out of the Holman Centre. As far as they know, they’re the only company developing video games in the Summerside area.

The fact that they exist might surprise some people, said Roberts, as the company tends to have a low profile. But they try to stay active in the Island’s small game-development community, which has about half a dozen members, take on students when able and generally trying to support the industry.

James Martin, one of the programmers, said he grew up wanting to work in the video game industry but always assumed he’d have to move away. However, an information technology expo he attended in Grade 10 surprised him with the amount of options he had locally.

He ended up being hired by Funky Finger right out of UPEI’s computer science/game programing program and moved to Summerside from Charlottetown.

“Rapscallions” will be the first game Martin has worked on with an actual studio and he’s proud of how it turned out.

“I’ve never released anything through a company yet, so it’s pretty exciting,” he said.

“There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve never done before that I’ve been able to do in this (game) that I think turned out well. So I’m excited for our future projects to be able to integrate that stuff and improve upon it.”

“Rapscallions” credits:

– Andy Roberts, director of product development

– James Martin, programmer

– Evan Doran, artist

– Eva Blacquiere, artist

– Amy MacPherson, programmer

– Matt Arsenault (former employee)