ICO Technologies – A Rapidly Growing Company

The rapidly growing company from Shawinigan is a leading provider of management software for emergency preparedness and fire safety plans. This year alone, the company has added 15 new employees to its payroll. Hiring is ongoing, and the goal is to achieve full staffing.

"Basically, we manufacture software packages for various companies. Then, we market these products through our marketplace," said Chief Executive Officer of ICO Technologies, Claude Bourassa. ICO Technologies receives mandates ranging from $5,000 to $1.5 million in transactions, and serves markets as diverse as government departments, community organizations and leisure services.

In addition to 911 emergency dispatch centres and the Canadian Space Agency, ICO Technologies serves several municipalities (e.g. Repentigny, Sherbrooke, Blainville) and provides these with solutions that are tailored to their requirements in terms of emergency response, fire safety plans and time management. Recently, the firm successfully expanded into the industry market by adding Rio Tinto Alcan and Domptar to its client base.

"One of our main forces is our Human Resources department. Furthermore, I think I can rely on a highly qualified and passionate team. By designing and implementing a software package development platform (Innova), we created autonomy and empowered our clients. We also ensured the sustainability of our products," noted Mr. Bourasa.

"Within our realms of expertise, the municipal sector remains a promising niche market. Our Paperless meetings solution is a good example. Over 100 cities across Quebec use it for their city councils. In addition, our client base now includes school boards, health care centres, social services and executive boards," he continues.

The CEO is of the opinion that the company has more or less achieved major league status. "My goal is to maintain our level of excellence and push innovation further by developing new markets outside Quebec, such as New Brunswick, Ontario and Connecticut. We are currently working on a marketing plan supported by the Economic Diversification Committee.”

Shawinigan — A transformed city

ICO is a flourishing company. As a matter of fact, it was recently the recipient of two Awards as part of the last edition of the Gala Distinction Desjardins, organized by the Chamber of commerce and industry of Shawinigan. ICO Technologies was awarded the “Prix reconnaissance” and the “Prix innovation et nouveaux marchés”.

 “Nothing stops Shawinigan companies from earning an enviable reputation!” says Claude Bourassa.

The business is going so well that the president is considering opening a second office in a location that’s close to Montreal. “We do not exclude the possibility of opening offices elsewhere. We’re currently looking for possible new business locations in the suburbs of Montreal and Quebec City, to get closer to these markets,” says Mr. Bourassa.

A native of the region, Claude Bourassa completed his studies at Shawinigan College before moving to Montreal where he served as the Head of the division of information technology for Abitibi Consolidated. He is happy to be back in his hometown and enjoy his new success.

 “You know, I’m a hometown guy. When I left Montreal, just before starting my own business, I told myself I’d do it in Shawinigan.” Initially, the idea was to focus on building a regional client base. One thing led to another, and we realized that ICO had the potential to differentiate itself through product innovation.

 “You know, nothing stops Shawinigan companies from earning an enviable reputation! We enjoy a strong position in those areas embracing the Montreal-Quebec City axis.”

 “I get emotional about the closure of the Belgo and the Laurentian plants because they were my employers in the past. Throughout the years, I have seen this company grow via mergers and acquisitions.”

Despite the sustained growth of his company, the president says ICO must continue to be successful at managing prosperity. “The way I see it is that we currently have a number of opportunities on the table, and that eventually, our main challenge will be to grow the business through additional recruitment and by making strategic acquisitions,” he concludes.


ICO Technologies in a nutshell

Area of activity: Information Technology
Number of clients: 1,500
Number of marketed products: 15
Number of employees: 40
Number of recent recruits: 15
Turnover: Between $3 million and $5 million
Objective: To break into the market outside Quebec