MONCTON – Local manufacturing company Apex Industries plans to hire 80 people for full-time positions over the next two years, with backing from the provincial and federal governments.
The company is investing “multiple millions” to increase its machining capacity as part of a three-phase growth and investment plan called APEX2020, said CEO Keith Parlee.
It’s developing additional optical coating machines and expanding its steel door manufacturing business, which ships products to more than 110 countries. This would allow it to be more competitive and better serve the aerospace and defence, and oil and gas markets.
“The machinery is going to provide triple the capacity of our steel door group. That all doesn’t happen overnight, you’ve got to grow that business. As that business is growing, we continue to add people,” he said. “[The jobs are] everything around that, the planners, machinists and project managers.”
Parlee said the positions will likely be filled by New Brunswickers, as around 75 per cent of Apex’s approximately 250 employees were graduates of the NBCC system. Hiring is already underway, as the company plans to hire 12 people in the next few weeks.
Parlee said the investment by the company and the governments are necessary for the company to compete globally.
“I think you have to be willing to automate and move forward as a company,” he said. “If you don’t have the funding and the ability to do that, that would be the biggest challenge. I’m concerned for companies that don’t have the ability to invest because the world continues to move forward.”
Parlee said even with more automation, the company will need more workers.
“As you grow your sales, the reality is you need people, project management working with customers, sales, and people to run those machines,” he said. “We have our estimates to what that would look like by 2020, and it’s a lot of people. It’s just part of growth.”
The provincial and federal governments are investing $2.6-million for the first phase of this expansion, which is already underway.
Opportunities New Brunswick is investing up to $1.1-million. This includes a non-repayable contribution of $500,000 or up to 10 per cent of the total capital expenditures, and up to $600,000 in payroll rebates.
The federal government, through Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Business Development Program, is providing a $1.5-million repayable contribution.
The addition of up to 80 new jobs is estimated to boost provincial GDP by $16.2-million over four years.
Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said innovation is important to grow the economy. She spoke on behalf of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, who is also responsible for ACOA.
“[Innovation] can bring direct benefits to consumers in the form of better products and more convenient services,” she said. “It can also benefit businesses to reduce cost, increase their productivity and to contribute to the overall growth of the economy of our province.”
“Apex project aims to improve productivity, competitiveness and increase export sales,” said Premier Brian Gallant.
Apex launched in 1961 and manufactures, distributes, and provides solutions to firms in various sectors globally, including aerospace and defence, oil and gas, mining, ophthalmology and construction.