SAINT JOHN – OneZero Innovations, which creates innovative products for competitive long-range shooters, won Emerging Exporter of the Year at the Export Awards Thursday night for a business inspired by an entrepreneur who began by creating products he wanted to use himself and trusted others would too.
“I got into competitive long-range shooting about five years ago,” founder and company president Adam MacDonald told a packed room at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre. “It’s something that only about a dozen people in the province do seriously. But there are thousands of people worldwide that take this sport very seriously [and] it’s a small enough market that there’s not a lot of companies developing technology for it, in terms of innovation in electronics and software.
“As soon as I got into it, I realized I need better stuff to do this properly. So I invented some products and it turns out people really like them.”
OneZero is a three-year-old venture operated by MacDonald and his wife, Laura Kaderly, out of their home in Hanwell outside Fredericton.
“We have three fulltime people that work out of our basement every day putting things together,” said MacDonald. “We do customer service. We do shipping. We do everything, start to finish with nothing but revenue from sales and our own work putting things out the door. It’s been a crazy ride, and I hope we can keep doing this forever because it’s awesome fun.”
The Emerging Exporter award took on added significance this year when organizers decided to name it after Yves Maillet, the much-loved vice-president of business growth at Opportunities NB who died in an accident in early April.
“Most of us who knew him well know how much passion he had for the province, the joy he got from working with business leaders across the province,” said Opportunities NB CEO Stephen Lund. “The passion he showed for his family and his community really stood out. We lost a great leader. The province lost a champion and we lost a friend. We’re here to honour Yves.”
Opportunities NB hosted the awards gala in partnership with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
There were four other award winners, selected by a panel of business experts from academia and the private sector, in four other categories.
Atlantic Industries Ltd., a bridge and infrastructure company that works in the transportation, public works, railway, urban, mining and energy, forestry, northern, and development sectors, won Innovative Exporter of the Year.
Measurand, a leading designer and manufacturer of geotechnical instrumentation used to monitor the deformation of soil and structures, was named Exporter of the Year for the category of companies with export sales of more than $5-million.
Lizotte Machine Vision, which builds machines and develops technological solutions for agricultural companies, was named Exporter of the Year in the category of companies that have exporter sales under $5-million.
For the second year in a row, InteliSys Aviation Systems won an award. Last year, the Saint John company won Exporter of the Year in the category of businesses with sales more than $5-million. This year, they won the Global Diversification award.
Nikki Falavena, director of marketing, says companies like InteliSys create opportunities for people to have meaningful careers in New Brunswick.
“I chose to stay in the province that I love because of this amazing company I stumbled into,” Falavena said in accepting the award on behalf of InteliSys. “It gives me and the members of our team all of the opportunities that we would get anywhere else and more. I’m telling you this because I really hope you see the value that you are helping to create in building amazing New Brunswick businesses…People like me do not feel stuck in New Brunswick, but instead, feel privileged to call this province home.”
Opportunities NB also presented the Impact Award for Investment which recognizes a company that has had a significant effect on the economy by choosing to invest in New Brunswick. This year’s recipients are TD Bank Group and TD Insurance.
This was the 53rd year in which New Brunswick has celebrated its leading export-oriented companies with the Export Awards Gala.