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15th Anniversary
April 1, 2003

Port Hope, ON based Norpak Handling Limited reached a major milestone last week when it celebrated its 15th anniversary on April 11th. The company was formed in 1988 as Northumberland Design Services. NDS’s primary interest was plant layout as well as consulting in various projects involving heating and ventilation studies.

President Stewart Raynor recalls the early days of the company: “Our first office was a third floor cold water walk up. There was just myself and one other person. Gamey Lycett, Norpak’s Vice President-Manufacturing, joined in 1989. It was Gamey who suggested we start supplying material handling equipment. That was a key move!” As the design and consulting side slowed, selling conveyors moved forward quite dramatically. In early 1990 the company name was changed to Norpak Handling Limited.

“Our first equipment sale was to Jim Gilmer for his new Home Hardware store on Toronto Road in Port Hope. We have always been grateful to Gilmer’s for this. They placed what we considered was a fairly substantial order with a new company and never questioned our ability to perform. It gave us a lot of confidence.”

Gavin Linn, Norpak’s Vice President of Sales, joined the growing company in 1992. “Having Gavin added strength,” said Mr. Raynor. “He’s a great salesman, with strong contacts in the industry”. Norpak’s business opportunities quickly escalated to major systems work, and the company found its place within the material-handling world.

Norpak has grown considerably since its early days. Sales for its first year of operation were less than $50,000. A record was established in 2002 when sales exceeded $20 million for the first time. Norpak is now the largest Canadian based systems integrator in material handling equipment. The company has been highlighted by Profit magazine in their list of Canada’s fastest growing companies on 3 occasions. Norpak has also been honoured with Business Excellence Awards from the Chamber of Commerce for both small and medium businesses.

“Gamey, Gavin and I have always been pleased with these awards,” said Stewart Raynor. “None of it would be possible however without the efforts of our employees. The skill-sets they possess are a key selling feature for our customers. The products and services Norpak is able to offer as a result are second to none.”

Gavin Linn noted the support of the local community in Norpak’s growth. “It always amazes us how many people stop to comment on our efforts.” Gamey Lycett added: “We have also had a lot of encouragement from people directly involved in our industry. Jack Laurie (former President of Mathews Conveyor) was a strong supporter and always offered his help, as do many other Mathews’ retirees. Things like that always make you very grateful.”

Norpak now has offices in Montreal and Vancouver as well as its main plant on Croft Street and an engineering office on Walton Street in Port Hope. Employment has grown to 40 people. The company undertakes projects across Canada and into the United States as well as internationally in the Caribbean and Bermuda.