Aerospace or Health Care Focus at Airport Park

A local group is finalizing a plan that could see a high-technology business park take flight at Abbotsford International Airport.

The Abbotsford-based Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (SRCTec) has already identified a 7.2 acre parcel of land off Mount Lehman Road which it hopes will house the new Abbotsford Technology Park.

Situated on airport land, the 120,000 square foot facility would focus on businesses with an aerospace or health care focus.

Raymond Szabada, SRCTec’s chairman and CEO, told the Abbotsford News that an expression of interest for the land will be forwarded to airport manager Mike Pastro in a matter of days.

And should all go well, he hopes a leasing deal and a more detailed plan for the site will be finalized inside six months.

The not-for-profit SRCTec has been working since 2006 to secure a future for a business park in Abbotsford to house companies with a high-tech focus.

“Just to build that (park) will bring a tremendous amount of traction for this region. It will bring jobs and investment. With what we are trying to initiate, there has to be a start and this is a start,” Szabada said.

“We have been at this for a year and a half and it now feels like we are almost there.”

The Abbotsford Technology Park, Szabada explained, will be the first of two phases and focus on attracting “small and medium-sized businesses” that specialize in information technology, information services and telecommunications/wireless technology.

Once phase one is complete, and Abbotsford and the rest of the region has developed a reputation as a strong base for high-tech businesses, Szabada said SRCTec will work alongside internationally-recognized companies to attract them to the Fraser Valley.

Describing the airport site between Mount Lehman Road and Firecat Avenue as “ideal,” Szabada stressed that his group has not yet been awarded the land.

But should that happen, Szabada said there will major benefits for aviation businesses to have their operations so close to the airport.

There has already been a “tremendous amount of response” from potential tenants from both Abbotsford and other Greater Vancouver communities, he pointed out.

Pastro described the proposed business park as “very exciting.”

“They have come to us with a concept and we are supportive of that concept,” he said. “It will bring development to the airport and would generate jobs.”

Pastro said he is awaiting the formal expression of interest, at which point he said further details could be discussed.

Negotiations would then take place between SRCTec, airport staff and the Abbotsford Airport Authority, he explained, with any building application going to council for final approval.

“It’s important for the airport to develop a diversified base of aviation companies,” he continued.

“I think it’s good news for the airport and good news for the city. It’s very exciting.”

Szabada said he and the rest of the board have worked tirelessly for the past 18 months.

And despite hitting some roadblocks at city hall, he said Abbotsford Mayor George Ferguson and airport representatives have all expressed their support.

Meanwhile, he said SRCTec is working with Simon Fraser University, UCFV and School District 34 to determine how the new enterprise could provide educational opportunities.

There are a number of benefits to having high-tech businesses in Abbotsford, according to Szabada, not least because they are considered “clean” and less harmful to the environment than many other forms of industry.

By creating jobs in technology, he said people with those types of skills will be able to stay in Abbotsford rather than have to move to Vancouver or California’s Silicon Valley.

The group has secured the services of Giffels Management, according to Szabada, who he said will build the facility at no cost to the city.

And having spent the past months expending a “tremendous amount of personal resources,” the businessman said he and the rest of the board are happy to see their efforts paying off.

“We are not going to go away and we are going to make this happen,” he said.

“We have struggled somewhat but I think we have gained a tremendous amount of credibility with organizations that share our vision.

“It (the technology park) is not going to cost the city any money but will provide dividends for many years into the future.”

SRCTec is inviting members of the business community to an official launch of the vision for the Abbotsford Technology Park at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The event will be staged in the Coast Abbotsford Hotel and Suites, 2020 Sumas Way.

by JOHN VAN PUTTEN / The Abbotsford News

Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech forms alliance with SFU for Educational and Research as related to the High Tech Sector

Abbotsford, BC (October 2007)- The Sumas regional consortium for High Tech (SRCTec) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) have initiated proceedings and discussions to jointly promote and implement programs related to Advanced Tech Education, Specialized Continuing Education programs for the Technology sector and plans for the Research and Technology Transfer capability from the future and proposed Abbotsford Technology Park (ATP).

“We are very excited about working with the SFU team from the Surrey Campus of SFU and discussions are underway to elaborate on the areas of collaboration between our respective organizations, and expect to continue the progress that has already been established to date” commented Raymond Szabada Chairman of the Board for SRCTec.

The partnership between SFU and SRCTec is a progressive example of the changing face of the East Fraser Valley and these parties have taken the lead to initiate the strategic approach to Economic and Educational development of The Region.

For more information on this alliance, please contact Owen Greaves at the Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech at 1-800-306-9488 or visit srctec.org.

The Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech announces the addition of Greg Dyck to its Advisory Board

Abbotsford, BC., September 04, 2007 – In accordance with its plan to expand its Board and also the Advisory Board, SRCTec announced today a very welcome addition to its Advisory Board, Greg Dyck, CIO of Prospera Credit Union.

“We are most excited about Mr. Dyck’s involvement as he is a seasoned IT professional and a long standing member of the community” commented Owen Greaves, Director and COO of SRCTec. “We’re looking forward to input from Mr. Dyck on corporate and community relationships and leveraging his vast background in the technology sector to expand SRCTec’s vision and operations in the Region”, said Owen Greaves.

Phase I

Raymond Szabada announces to media and the community “if Abbotsford commits to a Technology Park, clean industrialization will follow and tech companies will come”.

Mr. Szabada further communicated to the media today that his ambitious plans to implement strategies that will facilitate the attraction of private sector investment in the Region, are critical to attracting national and international skilled technical labour and retaining graduating and future students. Part of the strategy will require support from local politicians and key private sector partners to launch the Abbotsford Technology Park in Phase I of the proposed initiative. The Abbotsford Technology park will host start-up as well as established companies, a research facility and IT training Campus.

“Once the park is completed, and research and high tech activity are evident, we can then start to brand the Region in an effort to attract larger technology players; therefore Phase I is critical” said Mr. Szabada.

Szabada shares his dream

Fraser Valley new high-tech haven?

By JOE MILLICAN

Abbotsford News

Dec 2006

The brains behind the next generation of Intel computer processors put their heads together to identify a niche that will help keep them at the forefront of their industry.

Looking out of their office window, they see a group of Apple researchers in the next building busy brainstorming ways to revamp their iPod products.

It’s the same story for Hewlett-Packard, Google, Adobe and eBay; just a handful of the hundreds of globally renowned companies that call Silicon Valley their home. The high-technology hub, located in and around San Jose, is situated more than 4,000 kilometres south of Abbotsford and has revamped the area in northern California since the 1950’s.