While Messrs. Broadbent and Turner preach about the dire effects of the pending Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, entrepreneurs continue to demonstrate that inventiveness and risk-taking are concrete ways to expand Canadian markets outside of our borders.
The inventor-entrepreneur team of Cecil Wood and Ian Donnelly have developed and are now producing flexible tubing, the kind used for the exhaust of clothes dryers and similar air-moving equipment. Under Wood’s leadership (and Wood admits he dislikes selling), the Richmond Hill (Ontario)-based company (Flexmaster Canada) did less than $500,000 worth of business in 1977. Soon after, entrepreneur Donnelly joined Wood at the helm, and they expect sales to top $10-million this year. Flexmaster has opened six plants in Canada, two in the U.S., several in Europe, and has just secured a contract to set up six factories in mainland China.
Mr. Wood, a life-long inventor-builder, is optimistic about the prospects of his company, as long as it is able to recognize needs and produce products to fill them. Donnelly believes that the main challenge is to cope with growth demands by finding the kind of people who are willing and able to tackle the work to be done. (Toronto Star (North), September 20, 1988, p.6)