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Connections and creativity fuelling CCI’s continued success

A man on a ladder looks into a boat.
A man on a ladder looks into a boat.

It’s little wonder that Competition Composites Inc. (CCI) is known world-wide. As the name suggests, it’s a company built on providing high-performance products and one which has grown steadily since its foundation twenty years ago. Today, it’s a shining Ottawa Valley success story, and one that the County of Renfrew promotes as a great example of home-grown ingenuity and perseverance.

Initially founded as Phil’s Foils, a custom maker of rudders, dagger boards and other boating accessories, CCI has expanded to design and build specialized composite parts for the marine, military, aerospace and telecommunications industries. As founder and president Phil Locker explains, “Whether it’s winning races, keeping instruments in the air or product development, we help our customers achieve their goals thanks to our proficiency at providing fully customized solutions built to sub-millimetre precision.”

County of Renfrew a natural fit

The firm relocated from suburban Ottawa to Arnprior in 2016, tripling their space in the process. Locker confirms that the move has been a good one, describing Arnprior as being very small business friendly. In addition to hiring locally to expand the team, some employees have chosen to make the move from Ottawa to be closer to their jobs.

David Wybou, the business development officer with the County of Renfrew, notes that Arnprior is a natural fit given CCI’s marine work, citing the town’s motto of ‘where the rivers meet’. He adds that the County of Renfrew as a whole has an excellent workforce, especially in the trades and technical skills. With its close proximity to the City of Ottawa, the area can also draw easily from that labour market. This has given rise to a variety of jobs at all skill levels across a wide range of industries.

Leveraging marine expertise

CCI is taking a deep dive back into its marine roots thanks to a new partnership with Voltari, a company producing high end, high-tech, all-electric boats, for which CCI will supply hulls, decks and consoles. Voltari’s founder and president, Cam Heaps, notes that leveraging CCI’s expertise in aerospace-grade tooling and its experience in working with advanced carbon fibre materials is crucial in the zero emissions boats’ impressive performance and handling. Voltari’s partnership with CCI creates an exciting opportunity for both companies to be well positioned as the Marine EV segment heats up.

Having CCI located just an hour away was a key reason why Voltari located its final assembly facility in Merrickville, says Heaps. “It feels good to have companies in two small towns involved in such a trailblazing project. It’s always nice to build upon good old-school rural Ontario work ethic, talent and ingenuity.”

A bright future ahead

“Cam brought an environmentally-friendly, sustainable business to us which was a logical extension of what we have always been doing,” says Locker. “Having this new product line is helping us expand our workforce as we get this new production line up to full capacity.”

While the partnership with Voltari will fuel CCI’s future success, Locker confirms that they will continue to grow all aspects of their composite business. “We’ve always positioned ourselves to add value to our customers and partners. We mentor internally as it is difficult to find employees with composites manufacturing skillsets. We find there is a good pool of people coming out of various trades and trade schools who we are excited to get an opportunity working with advanced composites and appreciate being able to work in Arnprior. We’re extremely optimistic about the future.”