By Fred Morley
Today I attended the AGM of Atlantis Systems Corp. (ASC). At this meeting the Board and shareholders formally approved the move of the head office of this 35 year old innovative aerospace and defence technology company from Ontario to Halifax making ASC our city’s newest head office.
As the economic development organization for Halifax, it’s great to have Atlantis Systems Corp. bring its operations and decision-making to Halifax and commit to building its future alongside ours.
Head office companies like Atlantis Systems are key to our future growth. Head offices are important because they make their decisions here. This is great for local companies who can better compete to become part of ASC’s supply chain and partners in success. It’s important because the CEO and the company’s senior team will live here and bring their time and energy to our community. Research and development activity usually occurs close to head offices. Companies with local head offices have personal connections and deeper roots in our communities.
Halifax is an attractive location for companies like Atlantis Systems. Halifax has one of Canada’s major aerospace and defence clusters. Most of the major international companies are here. Perhaps more importantly, many of ASC’s clients are here. Two of Canada’s largest military bases are nearby (CFB Halifax and CFB Gagetown).
Halifax has also been recognized as Canada’s smart city for two decades. We have six degree granting universities and three large community college campuses. If we count those in other training programs we have over 40,000 people in school…10% of our population. For companies like Atlantis Systems this represents labour pool depth that can’t be matched anywhere. In addition, post-secondary institutions in Halifax have demonstrated a keen desire to enter into technology and training partnerships with industry.
For a company like Atlantis Systems, that has a foot in both the technology and the training camps, Halifax is the perfect place to be. Everything needed to build a strong base is here…talent, customers, and good partners.
One of Atlantis’ biggest supporters is the Greater Halifax Partnership. Here at the Partnership, we believe so strongly in companies like Atlantis that we have set up a new initiative - the Halifax Head and Regional Office Program (HRO).
This initiative will work with companies like Atlantis Systems Corp to tackle opportunities, and deal with challenges. We don’t want any local barriers getting in the way of their success. Our HRO effort will also ensure that head and regional office companies understand and communicate Halifax’s unique value proposition.
So today, as Atlantis Systems Corp. heads towards what I am sure will be a very bright future, we offer more than congratulations. We offer a commitment to work with Atlantis and companies like them to help them grow, prosper and put down deep roots here in Halifax.
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Author: Fred Morley
Fred Morley is the Executive Vice President and Chief Economist at the Greater Halifax Partnership.