Electronic Products & Technology

Feature

Innovation, service, acquisitions lead to success for Richmond’s Norsat International


Founded in Whitehorse in 1977, and now based in Richmond BC, Norsat International Inc. has emerged to become a leading provider of innovative communication solutions that enable the transmission of data, audio and video for remote and challenging applications.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Norsat’s president & CEO, Dr. Amiee Chan, who was appointed CEO in 2006, and has since received numerous awards for her role as a leader and engineer. Recently, she was a winner of the Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Award, ranked on the Profit/Chatelaine list of top female entrepreneurs, won a ViaSatellite excellence award and led Norsat to win a BC Export Award for advancing technology and innovation.

Q: Are there any new products or announcements that Norsat wants to share with our readership?

“Yes, in fact we have several new projects we’re quite excited about,” says Dr. Chan. “Most recently, we won a major bid to provide Harris Corp. with our new ATOM series of solid state power amplifiers.” The $6.3-million order was won because Norsat’s product was able to meet the customers’ rigid requirements, which included low power consumption and heat dissipation.

“As a result of a recent acquisition, we have acquired these block up-converters (BUCs) and solid state power amplifiers (SSPAs) along with other inventory, capital assets, IP and product extensions,” Dr.Chan explains. “These product extensions have provided us with many other new large projects and customers which will become a major focus in the coming year.”

Q: Any particular acquisition that helped your recent successes?

“Our acquisition of Sinclair Technologies in 2011 has been a contributing factor,” says Dr. Chan. The $18.5M acquisition of Sinclair Technologies, a leading provider of antennas and radio frequency (RF) conditioning products was a great fit for Norsat, as it complemented its core business and supports the firm’s goal of becoming a premium provider of communication solutions for remote and challenging applications. “Just like Norsat, Sinclair products are able to operate in the harshest environments and are used all over the world. For example, Sinclair antennas are used by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on many of their trains and buses. Every vehicle has to communicate back to operations and they rely on Sinclair’s products for these key communications”.

Q: What keeps Norsat at the forefront of the communications/satellite industry?

“We are able to remain a leader in this industry by committing to customer focused product development and by providing excellent customer support,” says Dr. Chan. She explains that strong customer support is a key ingredient to long term success and Norsat’s commitment to service excellence has given them a competitive edge. “Our ability to offer customized solutions ensures we can meet specific needs that our competitors often can’t, so we continue to listen to our customers’ needs to provide the solutions they ask for.”

Q: What is your niche – what size companies do you serve?

“We serve an extremely wide range of companies, from a small one-man remote broadcast operation, to commercial organizations, all the way to large multi-national agencies like NATO,” explains Dr. Chan. Norsat works globally in more than 87 countries around the world, serving a diverse group of customers.

Q: How does Norsat continue to be innovative in the technology space?

“We are committed to a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. We realize that to continually deliver products and services that exceed our customer’s expectations; we must pay close attention to customer demand,” Dr. Chan adds. Norsat has noticed a trend in the industry which drives its product development.

“New features, faster speeds, smaller form factors, all at more aggressive price points, has been a common theme in our intensifying competitive global marketplace,” states Dr. Chan. “Norsat has been able to leverage its extensive experience in product development and volume manufacturing to ensure we are able to meet our customers’ long term product and service needs.”

With its new products, niche target market and steady drive to innovate, Norsat is sure to continue shining brightly in all of its future communication technology endeavors.