“We’re very proud of our reputation as an energy leader in the region. But having said that we know that some of our
facilities we constructed during a time where energy efficient technology was just starting to appear,”
said Rob Philpott, the chief financial officer for the City of Summerside.
Since then there has been a lot of progress made, he added. On Thursday the city announced their partnership with Honeywell,
an energy services provider selected through a RFP process. “We decided to engage them because of their reputation for energy management and
leadership. They’ve done many of theses projects over the years with municipalities, hospitals and universities so we wanted to tap into expertise.”
The city’s Energy and Facility Renewal Program, which is cost neutral to the city, will look at areas in city facilities and the city itself to realize
areas of improvement in energy usage. At this point, there is no target reduction set. “We don’t have one in mind yet simply because right now
Honeywell is in the process of doing their audits. They’re going to be looking at the building envelopes, lighting, heating and ventilation.”
For context, said Philpott, the city’s annual energy bill, which includes heat and electricity that is consumed at all of the facilities, is
about $1 million a year. “Then if you add on the electricity it takes for the streetlights throughout the city, that’s another half a million dollars approximately.
When you look at a $1.5 million expense every year, there are hopefully opportunities to reduce it.” The first phase of the program involves an assessment
of the city’s building infrastructure, which includes validating the current conditions as well as occupancy schedules. Systems such as heating, ventilation,
air conditioning, mechanical equipment, lighting, building automation and air distribution systems will be the main areas of focus. The audit will also
look at street lighting to see if there are opportunities to save on the amount of electricity being used across the city. “We’re looking at just about all
city facilities including city hall, the fire department, the police station, Credit Union Place, the Culture Summerside properties as well as the municipal
services buildings. Once the audits are complete, the City will meet with Honeywell and discuss the upgrades that align with the City’s energy, sustainability
and other facility goals. Those selected will be aimed at revitalizing the city’s infrastructure while permanently reducing utility consumption and operating
costs as well as lower the city’s environmental footprint. There are always opportunities for improvement and we’re really trying hard to reduce our
carbon footprint especially with the possible implementation of a carbon tax system for the province pending.”
A western PEI company is having great success sharing Prince Edward Island’s abundant wild blueberries with the rest of the world.
PEI Juice Works(link is external) General Manager Jackson Platts says they recognized the opportunity to juice in bulk with the explosion of the craft brew market along the eastern seaboard. About 75 per cent of PEI Juice Works’ 100 per cent blueberry juice is shipped to China, Taiwan, Japan, Barbados, the U.S. and Europe.
Blueberries, which are considered a superfruit high in antioxidants and believed to have restorative qualities, are in high demand worldwide.
Each 375 ml bottle of juice contains just over one pound of wild blueberries. The addition of rhubarb, tart cherries and cranberries has created three unique blends that complement the natural essence of the wild blueberries.
The company doesn’t waste anything. They’re now using the skin of blueberries, dried and ground to a powder, for the commercial animal food market, and the nutraceutical industry. “You’ve got to find a way to pay the bills,” Platts joked.
“We continue to try to develop new products and new markets. Prince Edward Island is a great place to do business.”
Platts said the company has lots of supply from blueberry growers, along with a world-class cleaning, sorting and freezing facility with Wymans. “We have had very good support from Trade Team PEI, ACOA, the National Research Council, BioFoodTech and Innovation PEI. We received a lot of support to go on trade missions.”
Their biggest customer, China, sees the value in the PEI brand. A Canadian flag stamped on the bottle makes it even more desirable. “It’s a big niche to have that maple leaf on your bottle,” Platts said.
There’s a good chance that the next bag of Frito Lay potato chips you tear open will contain chips from Prince Edward Island-grown potatoes.
Historic Freetown-based Monaghan Farms collaborates with local growers to supply product to Frito Lay plants in Canada, the United States, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. It turns out they grow varieties of potatoes that are just what the chip giant is looking for; Monaghan Farms is now Frito Lay’s largest supplier of raw product for export and were their top Canadian supplier in 2007.
Derrick’s family emigrated from Ireland during the 1840s potato famine and named Monaghan Farms after the Irish county of their homeland. The Curley family still farms the original acreage where Thomas Curley established his original mixed-use farm.
Over the years the potato acreage grew, and in 1982 Monaghan Farms started selling potatoes in the processing market. Monaghan Farms’ relationship with Frito Lay – the largest player in the potato chip market – began in 1987 when Derrick’s father, Terry Curley, took a potato sample to Frito Lay’s Kentville, Nova Scotia plant to see if it met their standards.
It did. They have supplied the Kentville plant ever since.
Although throughout the years, Monaghan Farms has grown potatoes for Frito Lay, McCains, Cavendish Farms and Humpty Dumpty, today it grows only chip potatoes for Frito Lay.
Derrick says Monaghan Farms has succeeded because of the partners, growers, and employees they are fortunate enough to work with.
Their stock may be getting low as boating weather comes to a close for the year, but Mermaid Marine(link is external) will be ready to supply North American boaters for the 2017 season.
Staff at the successful wholesale marine distributor in Charlottetown are busy packing orders to ship to 1,000 boat dealers across the continent. The company supplies everything from engine parts to lifejackets for commercial and pleasure boats.
Having technicians on staff to answer dealers’ questions also sets Mermaid Marine apart.
“Customer service is our number 1 priority,” said General Manager Ron Savidant. “That’s how we have done so well.”
Owner Patrick Villeneuve oversees the staff of 25 at their 21,000-square-foot location in the Charlottetown Industrial Park. The company was founded by Villeneuve’s father Pierre in 1973 in Montreal, and is a perfect example of an Island enterprise that started out small and became big.
The elder Villeneuve often traveled across the Island en route to deliver diesel engines to his clients in the Magdalene Islands. He saw the need for marine products in Prince Edward Island, so in 1983 he packed up and moved to the Island to set up shop.
The company began with just five employees in 1983, and has grown. Now, Mermaid Marine is in the market for even more staff. They’ll need the additional help, since the company offers more than 18,000 items that can be ordered from its 700-page annual catalogue.
And business – just like the wind that any mariner will find this time of year in the Northumberland Strait – is brisk.
“For the small population we have PEI does wonderful things, we must have more geniuses per capita than anywhere else. We need to do a better job of advertising all we can do.” – Esther Dockendorff, president of PEI Mussel King
Prince Edward Island is an exciting place to do business! Islanders like Dockendorff are helping PEI’s business community grow every day. PEI Mussel King is a family owned and operated business that has continuously operated since 1978. PEI Mussel King exports their product throughout the world to countries in Asia, the Middle East and across the USA. PEI Mussel King – proving that Island businesses continue to deliver highest quality products and services to the marketplace.
The soft-spoken Island entrepreneur and 2015 Exporter of the Year would rather be behind the scenes of her successful Mussel growing and shipping business in Morell, PEI. Unfortunately she has been getting a lot of requests lately to step forward and share the secrets to her family business’s huge success.
Business is booming for Mussel King, the Island business her late father Russell Dockendorff started in 1978. While Russell Dockendorff helped make PEI the largest producer of North America’s cultured mussels, Esther and her team took it a step further. Dockendorff, who remembers the first shipment of mussels that left the island for Calgary, her Dad getting the kids to help get the 180 kg shipment to the airport on time, and help stop a leaking container, is now overseeing the growing and shipping of the premium fresh and frozen Prince Edward Island Blue mussels in shell to far flung growing markets in the Persian Gulf, Japan, Europe, Israel, Egypt and China.
“If you want to get into business you really have to want to get into business because it’s your life – it’s not an 80 per cent life, you have to have a fire in your belly.” she said.
Their customers have grown, but so have their products. A key to their ongoing success is innovation and adaptability.
With the support of the provincial government, Mussel King has stepped from the low-margin commodity market to the production of more lucrative value-added products like “Mussels in Minutes.”
Dockendorff has some advice for aspiring Island entrepreneurs before you approach government with an idea – make sure it is well hatched and be prepared to work hard.
“Government is not a cash cow, you’ve got to have ideas that make sense and you’ve got to be able to make money. Don’t go to government if it doesn’t make sense,” she said. “It’s Islanders’ money and we’re putting it to work for Islanders. This government is very supportive and Premier MacLauchlan is “very driven for business success,” she said.
We approached government with our ideas and a solid business plan and we were very happy they supported us.”
Trout River Industries founder Harvey Stewart solved a worldwide problem in the heavy trucking industry with an innovation developed right here in Prince Edward Island.
Getting a load out of a dump truck trailer used to mean raising the trailer to a severe angle so the contents could tumble out the back. That is, until the people at Trout River, which is located in Coleman PEI, invented a live bottom conveyor trailer that can be backed in anywhere — including onto uneven ground and near power lines – eliminating the need for a backhoe to pick up the dumped load and transport it.
Stewart’s trailer can now be found in virtually every corner of the world. It’s a safer, more efficient and versatile way to do all kinds of work – but it might not have happened if he had listened to some who told him it didn’t make financial sense.
“Entrepreneurs who really believe in their idea should jump in and take a risk rather than wait for circumstances to be perfect,” Stewart said.
“If you do something badly enough long enough and you make enough mistakes, you will surprise yourself; there’s always a better way.”
Stewart and his business partner Darrin Mitchell built their first trailer in 1999 and have kept the company privately held ever since. They are now Canada’s largest live bottom trailer manufacturer and have done business in the Middle East, South Africa, Jordan and Australia.
“It’s unbelievable how small the world is,” he said. “You can be anywhere, from PEI, within 24 hours.”
Stewart credits his success to his dogged determination from an early age. Raised on a farm in western PEI as one of 12 children, he was always fixing things and studied welding in college.
“When we were growing up and would get 40 inches of snow, my father would say somebody’s got to get out and start plowing the road,” he said. “The first pass was never perfect, but then the second plow would widen the road and people could get out and shovel and drive comfortably. Nothing ever happened until somebody got out there and did something.”
From his brick walled office in Charlottetown’s historic Connolly Building, Keir Pollard is helping a small town on the opposite end of the continent save water during one of the worst droughts in its history.
Pollard, who hails from Murray Harbour and runs SpryPoint Solutions, made a water-saving pitch to the town of Walnut Valley, California. The town, which is east of Los Angeles (with a population about the size of Charlottetown), wanted to help its residents monitor their own water usage as well as the usage of neighbouring towns. Now, Walnut Valley residents are using Island-made software to conserve water when they need it the most.
“The droughts in California have led to statewide regulations for water users,” Pollard said. “They have a 25 per cent reduction in sight, and our software is helping them achieve that.”
Pollard oversees nine full-time staff at locations in PEI and Halifax as well as several co-op students and interns. He’s brought his company a long way since its founding in 2011, with just one employee building software.
The key to their burgeoning success is a great product, he said.
“We built really great software for utilities such as electric and water companies. Our products help utilities excel in providing for their customers through cutting-edge field service, improved communications, and better financial accountability and decision-making.”
SpryPoint has partnered locally with the City of Summerside to develop distributed energy storage strategies and customer information portals. They have several other exciting products in the hopper, and their field service products are now in use in over 10 states and provinces.
“We built really tight partnerships with our customers all over North America,” he said. “Our team is strong, which enables us to have the confidence that we can provide the best service possible to our customers as we continue to grow.”
Pollard travelled 30 to 40 weeks a year in his previous job. All that time on the road made him realize there really was no place like home.
“I appreciate the pace of life, the quiet, the short commute and good quality of life on PEI,” he said. “I am able to live in the country but five minutes from 100-bit Internet in the office.”
Government support has been invaluable to building his business.
“The people at Innovation PEI, from Minister Heath MacDonald right on down, they’re all very interested in seeing Island businesses succeed,” Pollard said.
“We are extremely proud of our team of Islanders, and we are thrilled to be able to export our products across Canada and the United States from our base right here in PEI.
The Northeast PHP Conference is a community conference intended for networking and collaboration in the developer community.
PHP + UX + WEB = The best low-cost conference in North America!
It all started with a humble conversation between organizers of the Boston PHP, Atlantic Canada PHP, and Burlington, Vermont PHP user groups. Boston PHP was (and still is) the largest and most active PHP community in the world and had long dreamed of starting its own conference. After almost a year of planning and collaboration between organizers throughout the northeast region, this dream was finally realized with the inaugural Northeast PHP Conference in August of 2012.
Starting with no budget and no conference experience, the organizational team overcame many challenges to create an event on par with the big technology conferences. With the event space generously donated by Microsoft’s New England Research and Development (NERD) Center the NEPHP organizers were able to check many large ticket items off their list. Many other sponsors, too numerous to mention here, provided additional resources making it possible to keep the ticket price to an absurdly low price. Most profoundly, all the organizers or speakers not only volunteered their time, but also contributed their own expenses to participate in the conference.
While grounded in PHP, the Northeast PHP Conference is not just about PHP. As the organizers know, most PHP developers are working on websites and applications, which means that they need more than just PHP skills to get ahead. The additional Web Technology and User Experience topics help these developers broaden their skill sets and expand their knowledge & experience.
As the Northeast PHP team looks to the future there is a strong desire to take the event on the road, traveling throughout the northeast region. With many developers in the northeast region, and not many conferences serving these developers, Northeast PHP can help developers grow and learn, becoming confident and even sharing their own talks. Initially, the team plans to have satellite events in Prince Edward Island with additional locations to be considered in future years.
We are entirely non-profit. All money will be used to pay for the conference itself, including food and other expenses required to run a conference of this size. Please show your support and help us create one of the best conferences in the northeast region.
We value the participation of each member of the PHP community and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. The best way to do that is to get involved and move your ideas forward. Volunteer to join the Conference Planning board, contribute talk ideas, and tell your friends and co-workers! This is YOUR community and YOUR community conference.
We value the participation of each member of the PHP community and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Follow @NEPHP on Twitter for updates and don’t miss out on the Northeast PHP Conference 2016 in P.E.I., Canada!
Thank you for being a part of Northeast PHP!
We’ve got all the rockstars from our industry in one place just for you! With talks ranging from starting to work in the industry to expanding your skill set as an experienced user; we have sessions for everyone!
NOTE: This line up of speakers is subject to change.