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Innovation abounds at Prodomax Automation Ltd.

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Innovation abounds at Prodomax Automation Ltd. where they find solutions to complex global manufacturing challenges.

The specialized industrial engineering firm focuses on designing complex manufacturing production systems for automotive companies producing structural underbody components.

“We design, build and install the production lines that assemble, join and weld the vehicle component parts,” Carolyn Garvey, co-chief executive officer, said. “Once we build and test the production line at our facility, we tear it down and ship it to other cities in Ontario, the U.S. or Mexico for installation at our customers’ plants.”

Clients include Honda, VW, Ford, BMW, Mercedes, GM, Toyota, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler, and the Barrie company has just completed a $20-million project for a new Alabama-based customer.

After evaluating management, engineering, operational and financial business processes in 2013, Ford named Prodomax second in North America and in the top five per cent globally. “In 2014 we were awarded as one of Canada’s best managed companies for the first time and have re-qualified every year since that time,” Garvey said. “We typically compete against companies that are two to five times larger than ourselves.”

Founded in 1971 by an ex-Nortel employee, it all began in a garage with two employees. Today, there are over 160 employees and a number of contractors armed with very technical and diverse skill set. “The range of career opportunities includes engineers and designers (process, mechanical, electrical, capital and fluid power), project managers, robotic technicians, controls specialists, process specialists, electricians, millwrights, tool and die makers, machinists, welders, machine builders, developers, assemblers, and network, HR and finance administrators. Check out our website — we are hiring!”

Prodomax offers those with a STEM (scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics) background the change to work in a uniquely interesting environment. “Most of our employees have a passion for automation, engineering, robots and/or automobiles — like-minded individuals working together have a lot to talk about.” Prodomax invests heavily in the next generation, working with colleges and universities offering co-op work terms and internships.

People are what sets Prodomax apart. “Our culture is supportive. New hires, apprentices, interns, co-ops, juniors, intermediates, seniors and management all work side by side helping each other to improve their skills and meet our project commitments.” All employees proudly adopt a “founder’s mentality” to ensure quality in every piece of equipment they build.

Garvey said their guiding principles — listen first; be accountable to each other; empower and excite; open communication and trust; keep it simple — are critical to their success. “Our employees are all subject matter experts within their fields. It is in our best interest to hear what they have to say in order to strengthen our decisions and the company overall. Creating opportunities for employees to grow within the company and promoting from within keeps everyone engaged. Employees participate in a profit sharing plan — they know that constantly challenging the status quo allows us to strive for best in class recognition by our customers.”

It’s challenging to find the talented, teamwork focused people to help grow Prodomax and meet market demand, however, Barrie’s exceptional work-life balance attracts individuals and young families who embrace the community.

In turn Prodomax supports many local charities such as Hospice Simcoe and Season’s Centre for Grieving Children, and sponsors events like Georgian College’s First robotics competition.

With a constant eye on global trends, Prodomax is currently updating their strategic plan and a team of technical employees is implementing new systems to streamline every facet of the business to ensure the company’s continued success.

By Jennifer Harker, Barrie Advance

May 13, 2017



Cybergnomes Win Western Canada Regional Competition

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Prodomax is proud to sponsor CYBERGNOMES FIRST Robotics team from Stayner, Ontario, WINNERS OF THE WESTERN CANADA REGIONAL COMPETITION!

With 14 students, two school staff advisors and two industry mentors, the team just arrived home from Calgary April 7th, exhausted but elated, where they competed at the Olympic Oval in Calgary!

Click to watch the live stream link.

On April 6th, they joined up with two teams from Calgary and Fort McMurray to win the Western Canada Robotics Regional event making 2016 their most successful year yet.

With 3rd and 4th place finishes in Oshawa and North Bay, this win in Calgary qualifies the team to attend the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri for the third straight year!


The win in Calgary went beyond medals however. Cybergnomes made very close connections with teams from around the world in their time there. Mentors and students from Australia, Israel, Mexico and the US met with and built friendships with the mentors and students from their team. These are connections that will stay with the students as they move on from high school.

Cybergnomes also worked closely with a number of young teams to help them program and refine their robots for competition, teaching and encouraging them. One example of this spirit of cooperation: Taylor Reevie, one of the Cybergnomes programming students, spent the day on Monday programming one rookie team’s robot from scratch. It worked so well that this team turned up on the opposing alliance in the Finals. Fortunately, Cybergnomes drive team was skilled enough to outmaneuver this new defensive challenge. If you watch the elimination matches look for team 6178.


Now for St. Louis and the World Championships from April 26 to May 1st. In 2014, the team advanced to the Semi-Finals on their field. Eight fields play at the Championships and the top three teams from each move on to Einstein Field for the final matches to crown a champion. Their goal this year is to play on Einstein Field.

Cybergnomes Robotics truly is a community effort and the success of the team is dependent upon donations and support from the community.

Barrie Examiner – Prodomax … one of Canada’s best managed …

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Another chapter has been written in a Barrie business success story.

Prodomax Automation has been named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2014 for excellence in business performance by Deloitte, CIBC, Queen’s School of Business, MacKay CEO Forums and the National Post.

The award recognizes Canadian-owned and managed companies for their sustained growth, financial performance and management practices.

Prodomax is a specialized industrial engineering company that manufactures production systems for automotive companies which produce underbody components. It designs, builds and installs the production lines that assemble, join and weld vehicle component parts.

Prodomax executive vice-president and chief financial officer Carolyn Garvey said the award bodes well for the company’s profile in Canada and abroad.

“The Best Managed Company brand is recognized not just in Canada but in other countries as well,” she said. “It gives us credibility similar to what an ISO certification (International Organization for Standardization) would provide and opens doors to new markets for us.”

The company was nominated by an official at Export Development Canada, which has provided financing and credit tools to facilitate Prodomax customers in other countries buying its equipment, she added.

Garvey said the award has also “energized” the company’s work force.

“We have many long-term employees that are so pleased that all their years of hard work have been recognized with this prestigious award,” she said. “Employees and management work together to create a balance that incorporates the most sustainable decision for the long term. This allows us to build upon previous successes and ensures we are always working towards our goals of remaining very competitive in winning work and becoming a better place to work.”

Prodomax was founded in 1971 by a former Nortel tool and die maker and was acquired in 1995 by Sab Ravalli (now president and CEO) and David Crook.

To date, more than a $1 billion of its automation technology has been delivered worldwide

“Over 20 years ago we set out to build a team who believed in the goal and vision to be best in class,” Ravalli said. “Our people at every level of the company execute to deliver on what we promise.  Receiving this award is a wonderful testament to our employees’ many years of striving to ‘do better at what we do best’.”

Garvey said Barrie offers employees an excellent work/life balance.

“Working parents with children are closer to home and have more time to play,” she said. “Skiing, golfing, kite surfing, sky diving are just some of the activities that our employees can do not just on weekends – but after work on any given week night.

“The challenge for us is hiring senior, experienced personnel in our industry in the Barrie area since there are few automation companies that all need the engineering, electrical, robotics, controls, millwrights, tool and die makers, machinists and welding expertise.”

The outlook for other Barrie companies is also looking rosy.

According to a Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, Barrie-area employers anticipate a positive hiring climate for the second quarter of 2015.

“Survey data reveals that 17% of employers plan to hire for the upcoming quarter (April to June), while 3% anticipate cutbacks,” said Tara Benson, of Manpower’s Barrie office.

Another 77% of employers plan to maintain their current staffing levels in the upcoming quarter, while 3% are unsure of their hiring intentions, she added.

“With seasonal variations removed from the data, Barrie’s second quarter net employment outlook of 14% is a significant increase of 20 percentage points when compared to the previous quarterly outlook,” said Benson. “It is also a one percentage point increase from the outlook reported during the same time last year, indicating a favourable hiring pace for the upcoming months.”

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

Financial Post – Prodomax Automation Inc.

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Picture building a high-tech $10-million home, tearing it down, loading it on a barge and then rebuilding it on an island. That’s the complexity of what specialized industrialized engineering firm Prodomax Automation does. In fact, Prodomax designs and builds complex robotic manufacturing systems that assemble vehicle components for the automotive industry.

It is one of the largest automation companies in North America and its client base is made up of global multinational corporations. Founded in 1971 by a former Nortel tool-and-die maker with a handful of employees to build small-assembly automation for the telecommunications industry, the company changed gears when current owners Sab Ravalli and David Crook took over.

Their vision to turn Prodomax into an underbody specialist in the automotive industry has led to its growth and success even through the economic downturn in 2008. Its in-house engineering expertise and growing technology portfolio have enabled Prodomax to develop solutions for sophisticated, complex applications.

“Our depth of engineering is a key differentiator today,” says CFO Carolyn Garvey.

That depth includes an engineering department of 50 who work side by side with clients to develop robotics assembly systems.

“We call it concurrent engineering. We match engineers with expertise in a specific area to customers with similar product needs. We’ve named this collective expertise our technological portfolio, which consists of past projects and lessons learned, and that knowledge builds each year,” says COO Don Leslie.

Another key differentiator: An employee profit-sharing plan that has leveraged everyone to always look for ways to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. In the three years the plan has been in effect results have exceeded stretch targets. This level of accountability, plus the capacity to do jobs no one else can do, will continue to drive further growth.

“The vision going forward is to continue to look at all internal processes, constantly challenge them and find better ways to do things,” says Leslie.

National Post, Deloitte, CIBC, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums are program partners of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies program. This special section was produced by Postmedia Works, the commercial content studio of Postmedia Network Inc., in collaboration with Best Managed.


Financial Post – What it takes to be a Best Managed company

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Since 1993, Canada’s Best Managed Companies program has recognized the country’s leading businesses and introduced Canadians to the companies creating jobs and driving our economy. In that time, clear hallmarks of what it takes to build sustainable, successful businesses have emerged. Best Managed companies are able to adapt quickly to market conditions and turn challenge into opportunity. They are focused on profitable growth. To that end, they invest in people and technology to deliver a superior customer experience and outperform their competitors in Canada and abroad.

Each year, hundreds of Canadian-owned and managed companies compete for the Best Managed designation in a rigorous and independent process. “The judging criteria framework is based on research Deloitte conducted into organizations from around the world that have managed sustained growth,” says Peter E. Brown, national co-leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and senior practice partner, Deloitte. “We learned that companies that are built to last know where they want to go and have communicated a clear, customer-centric strategy; they have the capacity to execute on that strategy and do; they have alignment and commitment throughout their organization to achieve objectives; and they outperform their peers. Best Managed companies meet all of these criteria.”

They also exceed them. Consider Toronto-based Best Managed company Hidi Rae Consulting Engineers. Launched in 1999, it has built a reputation for delivering sustainable, holistic designs focused on its’ clients long-term success. “Hidi Rae has a well-defined process that develops and brings strategy to life,” says Brown. “Twice a year the executive team meet to work on strategy, revisit what’s working and what’s not. Throughout the year, they have a running dialogue about priorities and they execute. This, of course, is key. To have a strategy without the ability to execute is like having a dream. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but Best Managed companies find ways to turn dreams into reality.”

Companies that are clear on their strategy, execute against it and manage it are that companies that are the most successful, says Mike Runia, national co-leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and Ontario managing partner, Deloitte. “Best Managed companies have committed employees, they are always looking to ensure they are investing in their capabilities and developing leaders, they have identified the right markets, niches and partners to grow profitably, and they have the financial capability to make it happen. Best Managed companies really execute at a different level. These companies are creating jobs and driving significant wealth across Canada, and they do that in good times and challenging times.”


To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit:

Award categories

  • Canada’s Best Managed Companies winner (one of the new winners selected each year)
    Requalified winner (recipients that have re-applied and successfully retained their Best Managed designation for two additional years*)
  • Gold Standard winner (these winners have successfully retained their award for four consecutive years)
  • Gold Standard requalified winner (award recipients that have applied and successfully retained their Gold Standard designation for two additional years*)
  • Platinum Club member (these winners have maintained their Best Managed status for seven years or more)

*subject to annual operational and financial review

The judges

Jon Hountalas: executive vice-president, business banking, at CIBC, responsible for all areas of business lending and deposits including strategy, sales, product development and the client experience.

Nancy MacKay: Founder and CEO of MacKay CEO Forums, the highest-impact and least-time-intensive peer group for results-oriented CEOs across Canada.

Theresa Tedesco: award-winning chief business correspondent at the National Post and author of the best-selling book Offside: the Battle for Control of Maple Leaf Gardens.

Brigitte Vachon: Quebec Canada’s Best Managed Companies leader and Quebec Deloitte private leader

Mark Whitmore: Vice-chair and leader of the Deloitte Private practice in Canada

Ken Wong: Member of the board of directors of the Canadian Marketing Association; vice-president, knowledge development, with Level 5 Brand Consulting Inc.; one of Canada’s most respected marketing professors; and a 2006 inductee into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends.

National Post, Deloitte, CIBC, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums are program partners of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies program. This special section was produced by Postmedia Works, the commercial content studio of Postmedia Network Inc., in collaboration with Best Managed. 


Press Release – Prodomax Named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies

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Barrie, Ontario- March 10, 2015 – Prodomax Automation Inc. was named one of Canada’s Best Companies in 2014 for excellence in business performance.  Sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums, the Best Managed award recognizes Canadian owned and managed companies with revenues over $10 million for sustained growth, financial performance, management practices and the efforts of the entire organization.  Of the 20,000+ Canadian companies eligible, only 50 companies are first time winners each year.

Prodomax is a specialized industrial engineering firm focused on designing complex manufacturing production systems for automotive companies that produce structural underbody components.  We design, build and install the production lines that assemble, join and weld the vehicle component parts.


  • The success of the company is evidence of the quality workmanship and dedication of our employees
  • Prodomax cultivates a high performance workforce which provides dynamic career opportunities
  • We invest in talent through apprenticeships, mentoring programs and college/university partnerships
  • 50% of employees have at least 10 years’ service


  • Prodomax engineers value-driven manufacturing solutions that advance our clients’ competitive edge
  • We continuously research and develop new designs and implement cutting-edge process, materials and technologies


  • Prodomax builds reliable, cost-effective, lean manufacturing systems
  • Over $1 billion in automation delivered worldwide

“Over 20 years ago we set out to build a team who believed in the goal and vision to be best in class.  Our people at every level of the company execute to deliver on what we promise. Receiving this award is a wonderful testament to our employees’ many years of striving to “do better at what we do best”.

Sab Ravalli, President and CEO, Prodomax.

For further information, please visit our website at or direct your queries to:

Mercedes Benz Driverless

Driverless Cars for Road Ahead

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Greetings from the back seat of the world’s smartest car.
Mercedes-Benz’s autonomous research vehicle—cleverly disguised as a large black sedan—has been taking this reporter on a tour of hallowed ground. In August 1888, Bertha Benz, the wife of Karl Benz, actually stole her husband’s prototype motorwagen, then the only automobile in the world, and drove it from Mannheim, Germany, to her mother’s house in Pforzheim, some 60 miles away. It’s a whole big thing with the company…
Look! Over there! A tree! See, you have a lot of downtime in this car, because it drives itself. To be clear, it drives itself under the wary eye of at least a couple of engineers at all times, who are watching the car’s autonomous-driving operation and carefully recording errors so that they can dial in software fixes back at the lab.
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Robotics Industry Set Strong Growth

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“The robotics industry is looking into a bright future,” stated Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR president, on the occasion of the publication of the studyWorld Robotics 2013 – Industrial Robots. “In 2013, global robot sales will increase by about 2% to 162,000 units. The IFR Statistical Department expects that between 2014 and 2016 worldwide robot sales will increase by about 6% on average per year. In 2016, the annual supply of industrial robots will reach more than 190,000 units.”

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