HFI Pyrotechnics (formerly Hands Fireworks) has been creating commercial pyrotechnics since 1873, when it was founded by William Hand.

HFI was initially a fireworks manufacturer and then transitioned into a specialty pyrotechnics supplier for the Canadian Military during the first and second world wars. As a result, HFI has developed a wide range of specialty pyrotechnic products to meet the needs of the global Defence and Security market.

As a leader in the design and manufacturing of specialty pyrotechnics products, HFI’s products are used around the world by military and commercial clients to meet their specific needs for safety, steadfast reliability and cost-effective performance.

For over 146 years, HFI has provided product performance and value that our clients have come to expect and is Canada’s premier producer and supplier of military quality, specialty pyrotechnics products and services for military and commercial use.


John Witherspoon / President & CEO


John holds a degree in engineering at the University of Guelph and an MBA (Operations Research) from the McMaster University. His career began in the downstream oil business (refining) and evolved to supply chain consulting role in his own company. John began his work at HFI Pyrotechnics in 2006, initially as the Vice President of Operations, taking over the helm in 2007 as President and CEO. John continues to drive safety, lean and other continuous improvement processes, taking HFI Pyrotechnics, from a small regional manufacturer in 2007 to the world leading manufacturer of military search and rescue flares today. This has resulted in the company growing from 25 to 60 employees, while maintaining a best practices safety performance measured by Total Incident Rate (TIR) of 0 and becoming the certified low cost provider of all search and rescue flares to the US Department of Defense through the US Navy.

Rhiannon Iles / Chief Operating Officer


Rhiannon holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick and is a Professional Engineer of Ontario. Rhiannon worked for Procter and Gamble Inc, for 24 years, and held roles in engineering, project management, change management and delivery, manufacturing operations, organization design, human resources, health and safety, and Industry 4.0 Innovation at the plant, business unit, and corporate level. Rhiannon is known for her servant leadership approach, and the development and implementation of standards and systemic work processes. Rhiannon joined HFI Pyrotechnics in October 2020 in the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer, reporting to the CEO and leading the management team. Rhiannon’s focus will be on developing the HFI strategic plan and the leadership and organizational capability needed to support HFI’s future growth as the strategic supplier of military training and search and rescue pyrotechnic devices.

Joe Lalonde / Chief Financial Officer


Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from McGill University. Joe brings a broad experience as a critical member of growing companies from local success to international stars. Until recently Joe was the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Morberns Inc. (2020 and 2021 Canada’s best-managed companies), building the business significantly over his tenure. Joe was also Director of Finance at SigmaPoint Technologies and Chief Financial Officer at Ross Video during equally significant growth periods.

CFO - Picture - Black and White

Martin Brown / Director of Business Development


Martin started in the security field, with the Royal Hong Kong Police, including stints working closely with the UK Military. He then had a series of successful international business development positions, based in the UK, Singapore, and Canada, focused on developing markets for innovative respiratory protection. For over 20 years Martin has made his home in Eastern Ontario during which time he had a lengthy career with leading professional services organization, Lloyd’s Register. With Lloyd’s, he was involved in business development, marketing, and sales, driving growth in various global geographies. Martin joined HFI Pyrotechnics in January 2021 in the role of Director of Business Development, reporting to the CEO. Martin is focused on building HFI’s current impressive growth rate further by expanding solid relationships with valued customers and establishing sustainable new markets and customers in the defence, security and commercial sectors.

Todd GIles / Director of Site safety, Regulatory compliance and security


Todd holds numerous Canadian and internationally recognized qualifications, specific to the Ammunition Professional Practitioner field.  As a retired Air Weapons Systems Technician and Aircraft Maintenance Superintendent, Todd brings a wealth of operational health and safety, strategic and programmatic regulatory compliance, as well as security experience to HFI from Royal Canadian Air Force.  With a strong instructional background in both, technical and adaptive leadership fields, he is noted for his ability to develop multifaceted, highly capable, technical teams who deliver assigned objectives, in timely fashion, and all within scope of governing policies.  Joining the HFI Team in January 2022, Todd’s focus will be the continued development of a multifaceted team of safety professionals, who’s objective will enable HFI to lean forward into the future, continuing as a world-renowned manufacturer of military pyrotechnics.

Marcus Shaw / Director of Production


Marcus is an Electrical Engineering Technician by training and has led the production operation at HFI for the last five years.  As a Lean Production and Logistics leader, Marcus continues to support HFI’s goal to improve both the quality and cost-effectiveness to keep HFI as the lowest cost producer of these products worldwide.

Steve Moore / Director of Organizational Effectiveness


Steve holds a degree in Industrial Lab, including statistical quality control from Loyalist College in Belleville. Steve worked for P&G for 30 + years and had multiple Leadership roles in 3 different locations as a Line Operator, Lead Hand and Line Leader and Team Leader. Steve was the Line Event Data Capture Leader, HR and the Plant Safety Leader in support roles. Steve has extensive knowledge regarding creating a positive culture/team development, so people and organizations can succeed. He moved to Belgium for a year to assist a Duracell plant implementing HPO (High-Performance Organization). After retiring from P&G, Steve joined the HFI family in December 2020 as their HR Generalist. Recently promoted to Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Steve focuses on developing the culture and utilizing systems to deliver the future needs of HFI.