The highly anticipated opening of GE Canada’s Welland facility drew stakeholders and potential suppliers to the Welland Campus on July 18.
Hosted by GE and Export Development Canada, a Supplier Day event was held to introduce innovative and globally minded Canadian companies into the supply chain of GE’s new facility in Welland, scheduled to open in 2018. The new multi-model ‘Brilliant Factory’ will initially manufacture GE Power’s gas engines, components for compression, mechanical drive, and power generation, as well as components for GE’s Transportation diesel engines.
In addition to more than 30 suppliers, introductions were facilitated by EDC and the Industrial Association, while representatives attended from the City of Welland, Regional Municipality of Niagara and Niagara College.
The event kicked off with a GE presentation in Simcoe 135 where NC president Patterson addressed the crowd and welcomed visitors to the campus. He spoke about the College’s role and strong connection to industry.
“The College’s vision is about enriching lives and fulfilling the dreams of our students,” said Patterson. “Our preemptive applied learning programs in technology have really worked to rank us high in the Canadian college system for our technology programs.”
Patterson spoke about how the College’s industry-focused programs focus not only on the current labour market, but the labour market on the future.
“I think one of the important things we really stress at Niagara College is the importance of industry education … to help revitalize and bring great jobs to Niagara.”
A video was played for visitors, showcasing work being done by Niagara Research & Innovation at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.
Attendees had an opportunity to tour the Rankin Technology Centre and the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Centre, view its robotics renewable energy labs and learn about the work students and faculty provide to businesses in areas such as 3D printing and scanning.
Representatives were on-hand from the College’s School of Trades of Technology as well as the School of Business and Management Studies to interact with attendees, and respond to questions.
The College’s Co-op and Employment Relations consultants were also present to speak to attendees about opportunities for student work placements at their companies.
GE project management executive John Macaulay gave an overview of the Welland facility, noting that it will take occupancy in May 2018, and the first production is planned for July 2018.
Business-to-business matchmaking sessions were held on campus to help find companies with leading edge capabilities to supply reciprocating engine parts.
A media release distributed by EDC on July 18 about the event noted that an ongoing partnership between GE Canada and EDC aims at developing access for Canadian small- and medium-sized technology companies to the global marketplace.
“This is a great opportunity to meet with businesses throughout the region to help build GE’s supply chain for our new facility,” said Bradley Smith, vice president of regional programs. “We appreciate the support from EDC and all the contributors who have helped make today’s event possible. We look forward to developing new, successful relationships for years to come.
“The supply chains of global companies like GE are critical to Canada’s exporting story, because smaller Canadian companies have the opportunity to grow alongside GE as it extends its reach into global markets” says Mairead Lavery, senior vice president, business development, EDC. “An important part of EDC’s job is to match the right global Canadian companies with the right supply chains, and these kinds of introductions are instrumental in creating valuable business opportunities for both parties.”