MONTAGUE — Jason Aspin wants to make Montague the centre of excellence in marine and offshore technologies.
And to kick off his plan, he confirmed Friday he is relocating his Ontario headquarters of Aspin Kemp Associates to the eastern P.E.I. town and bringing along a hefty $2 million-plus payroll.
Along with Innovation P.E.I. Minister Allen Roach, he confirmed the relocation Friday morning during a press conference at the new HQ site, the former federal Addiction Services building now owned by the province and leased to the company. The province paid $800,000 for the building.
“This is just great news for Montague and region,’’ said Roach. “And it is a perfect fit for this company.”
Aspin, who went to high school just down the street and has family in Belle River, said corporate headquarters means 25 new jobs to Montague.
“We want to put eastern P.E.I. on the map as a centre of excellence worldwide for marine and offshore technologies and science,’’ he said. “And it’s so great to be able to do it at home.”
Aspin’s business has grown exponentially since he set up shop in Stratford a few years ago and then expanded to Poole’s Corner just over a year ago. There are now 60 jobs at the Poole’s Corner operation consisting of designers, builders and skilled trades, and more will be added because of the tremendous demand. AKA has just negotiated new contracts with two other international companies as well.
“It’s absolutely fantastic news,’’ said Montague Deputy Mayor David Mabon at the announcement. “This is such a boost to rural P.E.I.”
Georgetown Mayor Lewis Lavandier was delighted with the announcement as well and said the expansion of marine design work in the area might spark a revival at the now closed Irving-owned East Isle shipyard.
Aspin is the brother of the late artist Tyler Aspin, who designed and built the Canada Tree in 2000. Many supporters want to see the tree displayed permanently in a suitable building — the former addiction centre is considered a choice spot — and Aspin alluded to such a plan in his speech.
“Our promise to this community is that we will conduct and grow this business in a manner that realizes the potential of this building and of the community,” he said.
Aspin said the Montague headquarters would be home for the senior management team as well as the innovation group which will be trained out of the facility. He said those training events bring people from all over the world for a week or two to learn and “stay in hotels, eat in restaurants and visit the region with their families.”
AKA currently has two operations in P.E.I., as well as facilities in Dartmouth, N.S.; Owen Sound, Ont.; Houston, Texas, and Singapore.