Fifteen years ago, her husband Dennis Pidzarko, now President of Cadillac Coatings, owned a custom cabinet shop. He’d long been concerned about the quality and look of colour finishings on wood, until, one day, he came across an aluminum hand-rail that had been “powder-coated” as a finishing.
It looked great. Could this not, Dennis thought to himself and to Cheryl, be duplicated on wood?
Fast-forward to 2015. Cadillac Coatings has a 14,000 square foot, scrupulously clean facility in Edmonton’s east end, dominated by a massive, automated prototype, a proprietary coating production/machine system, in which all kinds of non-metallic building products – fibre cement, medium-density fibreboard, light concrete – can be powder-coated, baked and cured in one continuous operation to a glistening, perfect, non-combustible surface colour.
But no hardwoods. “The more Dennis got into the project,” Cheryl says, “the more we realized the market for powder-coating on hardwood wouldn’t be that big.”
And the bigger the project got, the bigger the commitment. In 2009, Dennis and Cheryl decided to make Cadillac Coatings their one and only business.
After years of investment, in new technologies, in perfecting its recipes, Cadillac Coatings is now established in the market, is 100% environmentally friendly and has attracted the attention of architects and building designers. Most important of all, Cadillac Coatings is starting to turn a profit.
In the beginning, Dennis devised a primitive conveyor system at home, to move the materials through an IR (infrared) oven which heated and gelled the speciality powders, then was passed under UV (ultra-violet) rays for a special curing, making a painted product with such glistening colour, textures, sheens and durability that Cadillac Coatings could confidently offer a 10-year warranty.
The garage prototype grew and grew. On today’s automated system, workers feed the unfinished product into one end, and remove the finished product at the other. The process has the potential to be sold as a complete finishing system.
“It would be ideal,” Cheryl says, “to manufacture our own powders, giving us the opportunity to offer full customized finishing solutions including the powders, manufacturing equipment, maintenance and trouble-shooting. But the UV light-curable powder resins are expensive and are at present imported from Europe. We’ll leave the powder manufacturing to the experts.”
Cadillac Coatings has had a long and positive relationship with TEC Edmonton including patent research, market assessments and bringing business challenges to the TEC Source Business Panel, where business experts volunteer a few hours of their time to listen and offer advice, based on long experience, to entrepreneurs.
“We’re not quite there yet”, says Cheryl. But the light at the end of a long entrepreneurial tunnel is shining brighter and brighter for Cadillac Coatings.
“With TEC Edmonton’s help,” says Cheryl, “we are still learning what Cadillac Coatings is capable of.”
Our clients’ success is our success. The cumulative growth of TEC Edmonton’s business clients from 2011-2012 to 2014-15, from our fourth Client Economic Outcomes Survey as reported in the 2014-15 Annual Report, confirms that success.
The following metrics for 2014-15 are in contrast to the same figures (in brackets) for 2012-13:
Number of organizations surveyed: 128 (74 in 2012-13)
Annual revenue of clients: $160.7 million ($73.4 million)
Growth in employment from previous year, 26%, 364 new jobs in 83 organizations (25%, 48 new jobs in 49 organizations)
Financing/funding raised by clients, $72.2 million ($29.6 million)
Research & Development investment by clients, $56.3 million ($17 million )
With the assistance of TEC Edmonton’s Technology Management team and as a TEC Centre client, Extraordinary Adsorbents is commercializing three separation processes invented by U of A professor + researcher Dr. Steve Koznicki. These molecular sieve separation methods promise greener, safer, faster and cheaper environmental clean-up.
Tevosol holds great promise in organ transplant transportation technology, potentially doubling or tripling the number of possible donor hearts available world-wide. Inventor and University Hospital transplant surgeon Dr. Darren Freed is taking full advantage of the business and intellectual property protection services offered by TEC Edmonton’s new TEC Health Accelerator program.
Long-time TEC client and TEC Centre tenant Exciton Technologies is ramping up its exsalt® wound care product, from $1.3 million sales in 2014 to an expected $2.5 million in 2015. TEC Edmonton first worked with Exciton as a two-employee company in 2008. Today Exciton has 20 full-time employees.
IGY’s natural health product, developed by U of A researchers, manipulates natural antibodies in eggs to relieve gluten intolerance. The technology was licensed through TEC Edmonton’s Technology Management division to health products developer Vetanda Group. Over the past five years, TEC Edmonton’s Technology Management division has assisted in the creation of 22 new University of Alberta spin-off companies.
Our clients’ success is our success: The TEC Edmonton operation and its client success was carefully assessed by the University Business Index, a world-wide organization based in Sweden that ranks the effectiveness of business incubators commercializing university research the world over.
TEC Edmonton’s client success moved our organization from 14th in the UBI Index global ranking in 2012-13 to 10th in 2013-14, and 3rd in North America.
In 2014, TEC Edmonton was also named Canada’s top startup business incubator at the inaugural Startup Canada Awards.
New TEC Edmonton programs have been launched in direct response to client needs. The TEC Health Accelerator has set a goal of assisting 50 new health-related companies in Alberta by 2019. TEC International is assisting start-up and ramp-up companies to expand into international markets, specifically in Central and South America.
UASolve matches university research/testing expertise with specific technology improvement needs of existing Alberta businesses. UA Solve has been met with enthusiasm both from companies grateful to access such expertise and university researchers excited to be assisting Alberta industry.
TEC Edmonton facilitates angel and venture capital investment in its client companies through TEC Venture Angels.
TEC Edmonton assesses the investment-readiness of clients, and, if they pass muster, assists them in pitching their business proposal to a group of angel investors. Last year, through TEC Venture Angels, 29 new companies were funded at an average $220,000 investment per company.
Our clients’ success is Edmonton’s and Alberta’s success: “Through a broad and strong innovation ecosystem in Edmonton and indeed throughout Alberta, Edmonton has become known as a centre of entrepreneurial excellence,” says TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb. “The slogan Make Something Edmonton isn’t just wistful thinking, but a direct reflection of the level of measureable entrepreneurial enterprise that is diversifying our economy.
“The more TEC Edmonton can contribute, the better off we all are.”
The TEC Edmonton 2014-15 Annual Report is available online
Printed copies are available on request at email@example.com or by calling 780-248-5886.
TEC Edmonton is a community partnership, a joint venture between the City of Edmonton and the University of Alberta. Our purpose is to accelerate the growth of emerging technology-based companies in Greater Edmonton and Northern Alberta.
University of Alberta molecular sieve expert Dr. Steve Kuznicki has worked with TEC Edmonton on many fronts.
TEC helped Dr. Kuznicki establish Extraordinary Adsorbents Inc., to commercialize three proven Kuznicki separation processes, all holding great promise as cleaner, greener, safer, faster and cheaper processes than existing separation technology. The company’s TEC Centre lab is about ramping up production of Kuznicki’s separation agents, from laboratory ounces to industry tonnage.
Among other uses, Kuznicki’s processes can capture methane produced from landfills, remove harmful radio-isotopes from nuclear effluent and efficiently separate pure oxygen from air. His many world-wide patents (52 in the USA alone) are attracting interest and developmental funding from private industry.
TEC’s Technology Management group has assisted the professor/inventor with commercialization of other inventions pertaining to selective separation of targeted molecules, including American patenting.
“Thanks to TEC Edmonton, we’re now an operating company with three full-time and two part-time employees,” says Kuznicki.
“The TEC Centre itself is a great service, it helps us meet our physical requirements. As a university spin-off company, we can now apply our work to commerce and to grow the Alberta economy in both energy and pollution abatement areas,” adds Extraordinary Adsorbents’ Technical Manager Daniel Kuznicki.
Join University of Alberta researchers like Dr. Steve Kuznicki at “Innovation… Makes Sense” 2015 (October 8), TEC Edmonton’s annual celebration of university commercialization and innovation.
About TEC Centre
Extraordinary Adsorbents is just one of many Edmonton-based companies leveraging the facilities and services of the TEC Centre. The TEC Centre provides office, laboratory and small-scale manufacturing space to eligible early-stage clients, along with easy and convenient access to TEC experts and services.
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