MONTGOMERY, Alabama – From a sustainable energy research firm based in Brownsboro to a materials management company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama’s delegation at this week’s trade conference in Canada will demonstrate the state’s high-tech economy.
A delegation of 19, including economic development leaders and business representatives, will travel from Alabama to Halifax this weekend for the Southeast U.S. Canada Province Conference, which begins Sunday and ends Tuesday.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield will represent the state on behalf of Governor Robert Bentley, as the state looks to continue to build the relationship with Alabama’s largest export destination, Canada.
The conference includes matchmaking meetings to introduce companies to potential joint venture partners in Canada. It also will feature a number of discussion forums and individual sessions for competing in a global marketplace.
“This conference attracts approximately 300 Canadian and U.S. business and government leaders, presenting a unique opportunity to build linkages with key international leaders across a range of business and industry sectors,” Secretary Canfield said.
Hilda Lockhart, director of the International Trade Division of the Alabama Dept. of Commerce, said Canada imported $3.96 billion in Alabama-made products in 2012, with the top five comprised of vehicles, industrial machinery, paper and paperboard, plastics and iron/steel products. During the same year, Alabama imported $258 million from Canada, including mineral fuel, ores, aluminum, industrial machinery and articles of iron and steel.
Alabama is home to 48 Canadian-owned manufacturing companies. Between 1999 and 2012, Canadian companies announced 87 projects in the state involving capital investment of more than $1.5 billion and the creation of 5,000 Alabama jobs.
One of the Alabama companies attending the conference is Birmingham-based Atlas RFID Solutions, which opened a Canadian office in October. The office in Calgary is to support the growth of its full-scale construction-management solution, known as Jovix, which employs radio frequency identification tags and readers to monitor materials and tools at large industrial construction sites. Since Atlas RFID opened is Canada office, it has deployed Jovix at five Canadian construction sites, according to RFID Journal.
A number of Alabama companies will be visiting Halifax as part of a delegation of business and government representatives. Some of the companies include the following:
- Advanced Optical Systems: The Huntsville-based company creates optical sensors and algorithms to “see” something and perform an action based on both broad and small views. With customers including the U.S. Army, Navy and Marines, the technology is used with unmanned aerial vehicle hardware and for precision cargo delivery by rotorcraft.
- Boschma Research (Brownsboro): Founded by retired Lt. Col. James Boschma in 2008, BRI focuses on creating sources of renewable and inexpensive energy.
- IDair LLC: For the past two years, the Huntsville-based company has focused on providing rapid, touchless, biometric fingerprint technologies that can collect and process fingerprints from a few centimeters to several meters away. The company’s smartphone-based software for Android and iOS mobile devices can be used for markets including health care systems and facilities, time and attendance, authentication solutions, membership management, point-of-sale systems and mobile payments/wallets.
- Kappler: Kappler Inc. has a family of fabrics that offer various protection for a wide range of chemicals such as for particulate, blood, and viral substances. Markets including chemical, pharmaceutical, military and hazardous materials use Guntersville-based Kappler’s products.
- PESA: With 39 years of experience manufacturing advanced video and audio communications equipment technology, Huntsville-based PESA has worked with military bases, industrial, commercial and institutional sites.
- Prism Systems Inc.: In 1989, a group of engineers in Mobile offers automation, control, marine, environmental and software development products and services worldwide.
In recent years, Alabama companies and trade officials have visited Poland, Hungary, China, India, Colombia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Vietnam and other countries on these trips. A delegation of 11 Alabama companies and organizations traveled to Sweden and Norway in March.
Trade missions to Ireland, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates in 2011 were projected to create $14 million in sales and 1,200 jobs for the 23 Alabama companies that participated. Representatives from those companies had a combined 176 one-on-one appointments on the trips.