Bust to boom: Syntronic Canada looks to hire 150 new Ottawa employees, ditches plan to shed office space

Syntronic staff
Staffers work at one of Syntronic's labs. Photo courtesy Syntronic Canada

Six months after looking to sublease nearly a third of its office space as the pandemic battered the global economy, Kanata-based Syntronic Canada is poised to have a much different real estate footprint in 2021.

But not in the way the company might have expected back in June.

Riding a wave of new contracts that dramatically changed the firm’s outlook over the summer, Syntronic Canada is now poised to hire as many as 150 new employees over the next 12 months and is set to take over an additional 10,000 square feet of space at its Terry Fox Drive R&D complex in December.

In a year in which the only sure thing is that nothing is certain, the Canadian arm of Swedish tech design house Syntronic could be Exhibit A. 

“At the beginning of COVID, pretty much every company in the world put a hold on new spending,” senior vice-president Darrell Wellington explains during a break from a digital job fair on Wednesday. “Our sales went from doing quite well to almost nothing overnight.” 

Hiring spree

Staring at a bone-dry pipeline of new business, Syntronic’s leaders decided in the summer it was time to ditch about 20,000 of the 50,000 square feet of real estate the firm leased at two properties in Kanata North. 

Then the storm clouds suddenly evaporated. Business at Syntronic, which designs and tests hardware and software for customers in the telecom, automotive, industrial, defence and medical sectors, was “back to normal” by July, Wellington says, and just kept getting better from there.

“All the companies kind of realized, ‘You know, we actually have to keep developing new products and getting things to market,’” he says. “August was the best month we’ve ever had in the history of the company.”

Now at about 300 employees in Ottawa, Syntronic has brought 30 new hires on board in the last six weeks alone. The firm expects to add another 50 people to its payroll before the end of 2020 and an additional 100 over the following 12 months.

"August was the best month we’ve ever had in the history of the company."

More than six years after launching its Kanata operations, Syntronic is looking at opening satellite offices in Toronto and Montreal to keep up with surging demand. Wellington says the firm’s revenues are on pace to grow 25 per cent in the current fiscal year despite the pandemic, with even greater growth expected down the road.  

He says the firm couldn’t be happier with its decision to set up shop in Kanata, where tech talent seems to gravitate toward the Sweden-based enterprise. Wellington says more than 60 per cent of the company’s recent hires have come as a result of referrals from Syntronic employees.

“For us, it’s a pretty simple recipe,” he says. “The important thing is to hire the right people, and we’ve been able to do that here in Ottawa.”