Miramichi Leader KRIS MCDAVID
MIRAMICHI (12/17/2013) – In an industry where business is only as good as the next contract, a national aerospace and defence firm with a sizeable presence in Miramichi just landed a big one.
Ottawa-based DEW Engineering and Development ULC, which employs roughly 100 people at its Miramichi plant, landed $73-million in new and amended contracts issued by the federal government as per a government announcement on Dec. 13.
DEW, which has a long history with the government on various military fabrication and refurbishment projects, landed a $130-million contract in 2009 that saw the company develop 895 baseline shelters for use in Canadian military operations around the world.
National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, jointly announced the extension of the baseline shelter contract in a press release, placing an order for an additional 99 units at a cost of $25-million.
Meanwhile, DEW garnered a new contract valued at $48.5-million that will see the company equip each of those shelters with several items such as power generators, tools, work benches, and electronic and office equipment. The contract was awarded following a competitive bid process.
The fully-insulated 20-foot-long steel shelters are designed for use in camp-style military settings, and are able to withstand all forms of extreme weather, featuring pre-installed generators, heaters, and air conditioning units.
The portable shelters can be easily transported by land, sea and air and can eventually be converted into field workshops, offices and medical facilities.
By landing the work DEW will be able to retain about 100 positions in Miramichi and Ottawa. Workers in Miramichi will be responsible for equipping the units while most of the fabrication will be carried out in the nation’s capital, said the press release.
“Our government is committed to providing our men and women in uniform with the right equipment they need to do their jobs,” Nicholson said.
“These kitted shelters will provide the additional space and resources required to enhance the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to provide support to future missions both at home and abroad.”
DEW had previously turned down several offers from major international companies who were looking to partner on the project, in favour of making the initiative an all-Canadian one, in terms of resources and manpower.
Neil Hutton, DEW’s senior director of capture management, said the company is proud of the work it does and the role it plays as a job-provider in the Miramichi region.
“DEW takes pride in all of the work performed at our Miramichi facility and is excited that this facility will continue to manufacture additional shelters and perform the new work of kitting of those shelters,” Hutton said.
The first delivery of the fully-equipped units is expected to take place next spring. The project will likely wrap up in early 2017.
The agreement is good news for DEW Engineering’s Miramichi-based manufacturing facility, one of the region’s largest employers.
DEW Engineering has supplied the Canadian military with vehicles and shelters since 1978 and has operated in Miramichi since 1994.
DEW Engineering generally employs about 400 workers split between its Ottawa and Miramichi facilities, depending on its workload at a given time. In June 2008, the firm was taken over by Colorado-based CoorsTek Inc.