Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Derek Kinsman, Senior VP and COO, Composites Atlantic Limited

Mr. Kinsman is sitting down facing the interviewer (not seen on camera).

I’m Derek Kinsman.  I’m Vice-President and COO of Composites Atlantic Limited. We’re located in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. 

As our name implies, we specialize in complex composites manufacturing.

The company has been operating for over 20 years in Lunenburg, and has grown from a small start of about 7 people to over 350 people today. 

We’re fortunate enough to have a very broad customer base, we’re well established in an international base, so for us this is the place to come and most efficiently see all of our customers, and all of our vendors in one venue. So it’s a must for us to participate. 

One of the more challenging aspects of being able to manage the growth that we have, and with the success that we have had, is being able to maintain and grow your workforce at the same rate.  And it’s not something that you can easily handle by yourself so we’ve had to develop some innovative relationships – both within our industry and industry associations for some training materials – but also with our Nova Scotia Community College. 

We collaborated with them on the establishment of a specific composites fabricator technician course.  It allows us to recruit and bring people directly into a training environment, giving them 8 weeks as a minimum and up to a year of dedicated training in the technical aspects of the composites materials and the manufacturing processes that we deploy. Without that, we would be very hard pressed to manage our growth. 

We expect to double our workforce.  We’re at 350 plus people today, we expect to be in the range of 700 people in another 2.5 years. So we have to have that kind of innovative relationship.

Added: July 19, 2010