Feature on Advanced Glazings Ltd.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Nova Scotia Business Inc. along with its partners and sponsors presented The Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards, an annual celebration and recognition of excellence in exporting across Nova Scotia. Advanced Glazings Ltd., was one of nine companies that were celebrated at the 2015 provincial EAA awards ceremony on May 21, 2015 in Halifax.
Nova Scotia Business Inc. caught up with Michelle Milburn, General Manager of Advanced Glazings Ltd. in Sydney. Here’s what Michelle had to say about Advanced Glazings’ presence in Nova Scotia and the future of the business.
Can you share your company’s history in the province?
Advanced Glazings Ltd. was founded in 1995 by Dr. Douglas Milburn to develop, manufacture and market sustainable and commercially viable technologies related to sunlight. Sixteen years of product R&D, commercialization and market validation have brought Advanced Glazings Ltd. to a unique leadership position in daylighting technology. Its SOLERA® line of glass products provide the best quality natural light along with the highest thermal insulation performance in the world. The company currently exports product in North America, Europe, Norway and Puerto Rico.
What does being recognized by your local business community mean to your business and employees?
We are extremely pleased to be recognized by our peers and local business community. Our export sales outside of Canada represent approximately 65% of our annual sales. Our technology was created by a Nova Scotian, is manufactured in Nova Scotia, its’ head office is in Nova Scotia and it employs Nova Scotians. As the company continues to succeed, we hope our community succeeds with us in the form of dollars reinvested into our community.
What factors have contributed to your success?
Our success can be contributed to a number of factors.
A) A vision to anticipate - When the company was founded there was no market for “daylighting”. We had to develop a differentiated product, create a market and figure out how to sell those products in an industry that traditionally is adverse to innovation.
B) Our ability to innovate – We were able to take our core technology, honeycomb transparent insulation and create product variants to meet the needs of our customers.
C) Tenacity- It has been a difficult path, we were ahead of our time as far as product development goes. It was our tenacity that helped us succeed.
D) Employees – Without them there is no company.
What do you consider your key success going forward to be?
With over 1000 projects installed to date, we have thoroughly proved the point that we are the most practical and cost effective way to make buildings run on natural light. Go- forward success is now all about maximizing sales growth.
We are also working on development of franchising/licencing to allow us to penetrate specific geographic locations that we just can’t tackle at a scale that would unlock their potential. This will dramatically accelerate market penetration of our products and brand.
What is the best advice you would give to new exporters, or companies considering exporting from Nova Scotia?
Be positive and believe. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who see your vision and have a “we can” attitude. Be self-aware, recognize and build on your strengths, and learn to work around your weaknesses.
What is the best thing about being a Nova Scotia Exporter?
We get the best of both worlds. We get the unique opportunity to create businesses and products that are sold around the world, and we also have the opportunity to live and work with others who share our passion for lifestyle and community.
Advanced Glazings Ltd., was identified as the regional winner for the Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards 2015 by the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce.
If you are interested in becoming an exporter, the following resources can get you started:
The Small Business Development Program helps eligible businesses participate in a global supply chain, become first-time exporters, remove barriers to exporting, or increase exports by getting customized expertise.
The Export Growth Program helps eligible businesses with projects to overcome export-growth barriers, such as travel to market and helping with costs for events such as trade shows and conferences.
Stay up-to-date with our e-newsletter that includes upcoming trade development initiatives that you can participate in and highlights trade activity in Nova Scotia and beyond.