Carmanah Crowned Exporter of the Year

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Carmanah Technologies, the Victoria company that designs and manufactures solar devices for roads, airport runways and marine passages around the world, has been named 2005 Exporter of the Year by International Trade Canada.

The federal government agency, under trade minister David Emerson, also gave Carmanah the Innovation Award for 2005. International Trade Canada has a mandate to position Canada as a world business leader for the 21st Century and helps large and small Canadian companies expand and succeed internationally, by promoting Canada as a dynamic place to do business, and by negotiating and administering trade agreements.

Cobble Hill-based Pacific Homes, which designs and manufactures wood frame prefabricated wall panels for international markets, was also among the award winners announced on Wednesday. Pacific won in the Export Market Challenge Award.

Other winners included Nancy Knowlton, president of Calgary-based Smart Technologies, lifetime achievement; William Vangool, president of Triodetic Building Products in Ottawa, small exporter award; Sean Brennan of BHP Billiton Diamonds of Yellowknife, community impact award; Zachary Gillman, president of Interstar of Sherbrooke, Que., research and development award; Jim Morrow, artistic director Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, Windsor, N.S., cultural Industries award; and Bernie LeSage, president Global Thermoelectric Inc. of Calgary, lifetime achievement and emerging markets award.

Carmanah Technologies, founded by David Green and led by CEO Art Aylesworth, graduated from the junior venture exchange to the Toronto Stock Exchange in late January. The company also acquired Soltek Powersource, a Canadian market share leader in solar panel and power production.

Carmanah products are in use in 110 countries around the world. During 2005, the company was selected to supply 7,000 solar light-emitting diode bus stops for the city of London, forming the basis to expand into Europe.

Carmanah is expanding into Australia and Asia this year.

The growth of Pacific Homes has been hinged on its SmartWall product -- wood frame prefabricated wall panels that insulate better than traditional wood frame construction. The product has helped the company triple sales and quadruple exports since 2001 to markets in the U.S., South Korea, Iceland, Japan and Chile.

Exports currently make up 90 per cent of business for Pacific Homes.