Keeping business’ doors open during the pandemic has been challenging, to say the least. Ontario’s HFI Pyrotechnics has not only been surviving but thriving this last year and a half. In fact, they’ve doubled growth over the last year, in terms of both revenue and headcount, and are on track to grow another 50% over the next year.
Leading the charge in this unprecedented growth is female Chief Operating Officer, Rhiannon Iles. Female COOs are hard to come by. In fact, only 9% of C-suite executives at Canada’s largest publicly traded corporations are women, despite the fact that companies with more gender diversity perform better. In that respect, HFI is making waves with a 70% female staff.
Iles was brought on in October 2020 to drive HFI’s aggressive growth strategy, which centres around finding new customers and growing their product base. The newly created role is designed to lead the management team and HFI’s strategic growth as a supplier of military training as well as pyrotechnic devices for search and rescue.
A large part of HFI’s groundbreaking growth is due to their new contract with the Munitions Supply Program for the Canadian government, the first new addition to the program in almost 40 years. This win highlights the importance of Canadian-made products to protect and serve the Canadian military.
HFI is proud of this historic contract; it brings much-needed, stable employment to rural Ontario while recognizing HFI’s critical contribution to the country’s armed forces.
HFI’s unparalleled growth is also reflected in their employee numbers. In fact, they’ve doubled their headcount over the last year, which is incredibly welcome in rural Ontario during the pandemic. Hiring and retaining employees is easy when the company’s internal mantra is “together stronger” and they refer to themselves as the HFI family. They count all employees as part of their success, and rightly so.
“I am so proud of the recent growth of our business and capabilities, all thanks to our leadership and all employees adopting our “Together Stronger” culture,” says Iles. “It is because of them I am confident and excited about our future.”
So, what’s next for HFI? Research and development is a top priority to grow the product base. In this vein, they’ve hired two new engineers and are invested in hiring the right talent to bring HFI to new heights. Tweaking existing products and new products to be more environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprint is also a priority.
HFI is also actively seeking new contracts in the coming year, while working to forge new connections both regionally and around the world.
One thing that’s not going to change: HFI’s driving mission to provide trusted, sustainable military training and search & rescue products that save lives.
As a member of the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission, HFI Pyrotechnics is an inspiration to local businesses looking to grow and drive business to the region.
“At HFI Inc., we are looking forward to a closer partnership with the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Commission as part of our growth strategy and to further network with other businesses in our region,” says Iles.
With the help of the SLCEDC and the relentless drive of the HFI team, the upward trajectory of this 148-year-old company is inevitable and they’re not slowing down anytime soon.
With land set aside to expand and a product base that just keeps growing and diversifying, HFI Pyrotechnics is bringing attention to the St. Lawrence Corridor and making a name for Canada in the manufacturing space.