By: Cowichan Valley Citizen
Gary Powers envisions a bright and successful future for Duncan’s Pro Mac Manufacturing Ltd.
Powers, who is originally from Alberta, bought the company just eight months ago and has been working hard since then to meet the growing demand for the company’s existing products, both locally and internationally, as well as developing new and innovative technologies for the marketplace.
Pro Mac primarily manufactures and repairs machine parts for pulp and saw mills, and brush cutters that clear land in hard-to-reach places, as well as offering industrial engineering, metal fabrication and design services.
The company has been in operation on Vancouver Island since the 1940s, and Powers bought it in 2016 from the retiring Philip Humber, who had run Pro Mac since 1993.
Powers was the founder, owner and president of eCycle Solutions, an electronics recycling company that has several outlets across the country. He always wanted to move to Vancouver Island, and saw a perfect opportunity when Pro Mac went up for sale.
“I also have a mechanical engineering degree, so running machine and fabrication shops is right up my alley,” Powers said.
“It’s a good fit and I have the opportunity to apply a lot of the business disciplines that I learned from running other companies like eCycle Solutions.”
Powers said he has been working with industry consultants and other marketing professionals to devise strategies that will improve and expand the company, and increase sales.
He said one area that has been targeted for expansion is Pro Mac’s brush-cutter technologies and products.
“We already have a great reputation for our brush cutters around the world and we’re now developing more robust lines of products, as well as moving forward with a new rebranding of the company,” Powers said. “The emphasis is on improving our technical capabilities and we’re spending a lot of time and effort on research and development.”
Powers said Pro Mac currently employs approximately 60 skilled workers, including machinists and fabricators, and the plan is to increase staff numbers as the business expands.
He said while there is always work and contracts for Pro Mac on Vancouver Island, up to 50 per cent of its products are sold around the world, with the majority going to the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Powers said Pro Mac has major competition from larger manufacturers globally, but the company has a “competitive advantage.”
“We’ve built up a good reputation for our products in local markets and that has allowed us to sell our expertise and compete internationally quite well,” he said.
Powers always makes sure the companies that he’s involved in give back to the local community.
“Pro Mac has a long reputation for helping out with local food banks, but I want more focus on the community now that I’m here,” he said. “eCycle Solutions and other companies that I’ve run were big supporters of Habitat for Humanity and United Way projects, which were also good for team building among employees, so we’ll be exploring other ways to give back to this community .”