A growing manufacturer of scientific instruments, specialising in cryogenics, will soon call Squamish home.
Burnaby-based Quantum Technology Corp. toured the community during a recent hunt for high-quality office space and an abutting storage and work areas, the company’s president Calvin Winter told The Chief on Monday (Dec. 3). Company officials spoke with real estate agents, met with Community Futures Howe Sound and contacted the District of Squamish.
“We have decided to relocate the business to Squamish,” Winter said, adding that the company is involved in negotiations for property in Squamish’s industrial park. “We will be looking to hire a number of people.”
The company currently employs six staff, but it’s growing, he said. Quantum develops technology that recovers helium for reuse. A global shortage of the lighter-than-air gas has thrust Quantum’s devices into the forefront. Last week, the California Institute of Technology turned on the switch to a Quantum machine that takes old helium and purifies it.
The company is looking to expand and is currently aiming to hire up to five new employees, Winter said. Quantum also seeks to contract a business that will build and test its devices, he noted.
“We want to contract that work,” Winter said. “We would prefer to contract locally.”
Winter said he was initially attracted to Squamish because of its sense of community and area residents’ love for the outdoors and education.
He hopes the company can collaborate with Capilano and Quest universities, he said. The company and students could share ideas and thoughts on certain projects, Winter noted, adding that his son went to Quest for a semester.
The current District of Squamish council has made it a priority to entice new business to town, particularly information technology companies. The subject as been a major topic of discussion for the Squamish Chamber of Commerce and the Inside Edge, a not-for-profit association of Sea to Sky Corridor knowledge-based industry workers.
Inside Edge director Kerry Brown said it’s difficult to tell how many tech companies are already based in Squamish. A lot of start-up IT business are run from people’s homes, he noted.
“[Inside Edge] tried to find out. It’s really hard,” Brown said when asked how many people the tech industry employs here. “We really don’t know.”
That said, the more IT companies set up in town the more that may follow, he noted. Having grown up in Squamish, Brown said he would like to see a string of IT start-ups in the community, providing the next generation with an opportunity to secure good-paying jobs and advance their careers.
“A lot of the start-ups are pretty small, so you need a plethora of them so people can enter the workforce and work their way up,” Brown said.