-“Atlantic-Canadian way” a key business differentiator
By Margaret Magner
“There’s a high likelihood if you’re in the ICT sector, you’ll be employed,” says Doug Stewart, Operations V.P. for Accreon Inc., a full-service technology and business consulting firm headquartered in Boston that’s twice outgrown its Charlottetown workspace since opening in 2012. Launched with one employee, the Charlottetown office is expanding rapidly, with nine new hires onboard and another nine to be recruited, bringing the P.E.I. workforce to 36 in just four years. Some are repatriated Islanders returning from Ontario and Nova Scotia: others are local workers or newcomers with their first Canadian job. The benefit of a P.E.I. lifestyle with the ability to work remotely on team consulting projects – most health-care related – from Ontario to California is a key inducement. “With today’s connections and technology,” says Stewart,” no one needs to be onsite all the time.”
Angela Lawlor, senior business analyst and manager of the Charlottetown office, returned to P.E.I. to be closer to family and raise her children. “My father originally pushed me into ICT,” she says. “He saw the market and opportunity growing.” With a bachelor’s degree in business and information technology and a master’s degree in health informatics, she’s one of many women recognizing the diversity of ICT careers incorporating project management, analysis, problem solving and collaboration. The company is building local postsecondary connections — recently hiring a Holland College graduate — and has hosted elementary school students so they understand ICT at an early age. “It’s important students, and their teachers and parents, see the potential here,” says Stewart. “They won’t be locked behind a wall coding all day.”
Much of Accreon’s business focuses on integrating North American healthcare through the sharing of information data. This interoperability is vitally important to reduce waste, cost and inefficiency. “It’s paramount to quality care,” says Michael Lavigne, Marketing and Sales S.V.P., who covers the North American market. “Hundreds of lives could be saved each day through more effective information exchange, with relevant data available and received in time.”
Accreon’s rapid P.E.I. growth is indicative of its concerted expansion within the international marketplace. With offices in Charlottetown, Fredericton, Toronto and Boston, and clients from Halifax to Los Angeles, it’s particularly intent on increasing U.S. market share. The company is on track to double in size with 300 employees by the end of 2017. Within five years, it’s projecting $50 million in annual revenue and 500-to-700 people on staff.
A key business advantage is the quality of its Atlantic-Canadian consulting teams. “There’s an Atlantic-Canadian way of doing business that’s unparalleled. Our customers throughout North America are aware of it and mention it all the time,” says Lavigne, who’s in the U.S. 4-to-5 days a week. “The quality of work and customer service, and determination to do the right thing every time sets us apart. We’re very proud of what we do in P.E.I.”
Margaret Magner, Ph.D., is a freelance journalist in Charlottetown (www.magnerink.com).