6 multinational companies investing in Ontario
Ontario is attracting investment from several major multinational organisations, spanning car making, technology and manufacturing sectors.
The state’s latest announcement is that it is partnering with GE Canada by providing a grant of US$20.5 million for new GE Brilliant Factory – one of the world’s most technologically-advanced of its kind.
Expected to begin production in early 2018, the facility will produce energy-efficient engines and other components that are used all over the world. The Welland plant will be among the most advanced in GE’s global operations, and the first of its kind in Canada.
This decision by one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies to open a new plant in Ontario is reflective of the ample opportunities available due to the province’s environment of innovation, highly skilled workforce, and strategic location for access to international markets. In fact, about 80 per cent of the new facility’s production will be for export. Access to support from Export Development Canada (EDC) for global transactions, enabling GE’s customers to finance their future purchases, was key to locating the factory in Ontario.
The brand new 450,000 square foot facility will bring a world-leading “industrial Internet of things” approach to advanced manufacturing, the next generation of technology development where physical devices – for example, a heart rate monitor, or a machine in a factory – are sensed and controlled remotely via the existing internet infrastructure.
Ontario’s is enhancing its appeal as a place to grow a business by investing over $2 billion over 10 years through the Jobs and Prosperity Fund (JPF). Ontario is providing GE a conditional grant of $20.5 million through the JPF, leveraging an overall investment of over $185 million, and create 220 jobs over the next five years within Ontario.
GE is one of several global companies making major new investments in Ontario, attracted by strengths such as a competitive tax system, stable financial markets, and a highly skilled and trained workforce. Five others include:
- Fiat Chrysler is producing the first plug-in hybrid electric minivan built in North America, in Windsor, Ontario.
- General Motors will create more than 700 engineering jobs by enhancing its technical centre in Oshawa, establishing a software development centre in Markham and upgrading its cold-weather testing facility in Kapuskasing
- IBM, in partnership with Ontario Centres of Excellence, will help up to 500 small and medium-sized enterprises launch and market new technologies and products internationally.
- Google has created almost 400 jobs over the past 10 years in Waterloo Region, and designed its facility there with the capacity for 600 more jobs
- Huawei will create 250 jobs through an R&D project that will include establishing research labs in Markham and Waterloo and expanding its existing research facility in Ottawa.
Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, said: “GE’s decision to invest in Welland sends a clear message that our province has a lot to offer. Our government will continue to strengthen Ontario’s reputation as a great place to invest, so we can bring more jobs and growth to communities across our province.”
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.