Cutting-Edge Solutions

Prime Automation Inc.
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

In just a few years, Prime Automation Inc. has achieved the sort of success you’d expect from a company that’s been around for decades. Founded in 2017, Prime Automation has grown into an enthusiastic team of experienced designers, programmers, technicians, and electricians.

Tapping into talent
Headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario—renowned for hundreds of tech businesses and world-class universities and colleges—privately held Prime Automation is home to some of Canada’s best and brightest. With two locations in Waterloo and a third in Clearwater, Florida, Prime serves customers in Canada, the United States, and abroad. For all customers, many advantages come from working with Prime.

“With offices in Canada and the United States, we are building teams that are able to service our customers as efficiently as possible from either side of the border,” says Director Mike Taub. “Combining our local support with our team’s ability to provide remote support, we can provide our customers with quality service in a shorter timeframe.”

Prime’s way is to tap into the Kitchener/Waterloo talent pool by working with co-op programs and building its team through internal development and opportunities. Over the years, the company has nurtured relationships with Conestoga College. One of Canada’s fastest-growing colleges and a leading polytechnic institution, Conestoga is a source of co-op students for the company.

Prime hired many recent talented graduates from Conestoga’s robotics program and has been previously named Employer of the Year (Cooperative Education). Often, team members introduce their friends and new grads to the company because of its dynamic and successful relationship with Conestoga College.

“Our focus is to build people up from junior, entry-level positions,” says Director Chad Harrison, “and help them develop into a role of seniority rather than hiring for those types of positions. This grows the opportunities for everyone when we promote from within. We are also focusing on team-building events and team bonding, and don’t want to have just a 9 to 5 place where you work with acquaintances.”

The company believes that being innovative and providing cutting-edge solutions in markets like food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and automotive plays a key role in its success. By building and maintaining a great work environment, Prime can keep its team enthusiastic.

Known for its positive and encouraging environment, Prime’s perks for its people include paid training, paid travel, competitive wages, benefit packages, and great opportunity for growth. “This includes flexibility, supporting the junior team with the senior team—always being there for them—and creating an environment of mentorship for new graduates,” says Director Paul Puttick.

Value for customers
Seeking to “shake up the automation industry, challenge convention, and make the impossible possible,” Prime remains focused on providing superior automation solutions and outstanding customer service.

From food and beverage to packaging and palletizing, water treatment, life sciences, consumer goods, metal forming, and transportation, Prime’s strength is creating fresh and innovative ways to deliver real performance, peak efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Handling design, installation, industrial programming (including programmable logic control [PLC], human machine interface [HMI], and supervisory control and data acquisition [SCADA]), Prime provides everything needed to get automation systems up and running.

The company is skilled at picking up the ball at different stages, coming on board at the design stage of a new facility; when it’s already under construction; or even when completed. “We have opportunities where we’re working with customers at a greenfield level on a new plant and discussing automation at that stage, or on a retrofit plant that’s been operating for the last 50 years,” says Director of Automation Ryan Bauml.

Prime is also adept at performing decommissioning and modernization—when a system is old or no longer meets safety requirements—and offers remote support based on customer needs. “We are actively creating remote support systems,” adds Bauml.

Although Prime doesn’t advertise itself as a 24/7 breakdown business, it has programmers and electricians on staff who can get to customer sites at short notice. “If we get the call and we can do it, we’ll support it.”

Future-focused
Guided by a vision and values that include providing optimal designs, exceptional value, and support for the Canadian economy, Prime Automation is also deeply committed to making new team members feel welcome and creating an open, teaching-oriented workplace.

Believing in getting the next generation of potential employees interested in automation, the company has established several initiatives. These include a facility tour promoting the trades to new and low-income Canadians with the Waterloo Region business and educational partnership, and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a school-to-work transition program. Prime is also supporting local outdoor recreation programs, and sponsoring the 35 km long Hydrocut trail system, one of Ontario’s premier mountain bike riding destinations.

Prime is also active with the PAC Program out of Conestoga College’s Program Advisory Committee, an educational and industry collaborative initiative to develop better-trained and qualified skilled workers for the future.

Industry-wide, Prime Automation’s stellar reputation keeps growing. This includes being featured in the Waterloo EDC Automation ecosystem. In 2021, on the back of a 296 percent three-year growth in revenue, Prime made the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies, ranking 149 out of 448.

Says Harrison: “We want to be as big as possible without sacrificing what we’ve got: a good work environment, a strong team, and quality work.”

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