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Stability through diversity

Publicly traded, 50+ profitable quarters, 5 distinct service lines – this is Calian Group Ltd.

Leading a successful business onto the international stage requires strategic vision and a relentless focus on customer needs.

Just ask CEO Kevin Ford, who rang the opening bell at the TSX last week to launch a new chapter in the history of the Ottawa company formerly known as Calian Technologies Ltd. 

To better reflect its current operations, the company is now known as Calian Group Ltd., with a new TSX ticker CGY (previously CTY).

“Our name change to Calian Group Ltd. reflects management’s belief that embracing our diverse services provides long-term stability as well as a solid foundation for continued growth of the company,” Ford said.  “Although we still have deep technology roots, I believe the timing is right to align our corporate entity to our diversification strategy.”

Despite its success, Calian tends to fly under the radar in its home town. Founder Larry O’Brien spent 20 years building a solid company but a decade ago passed the baton to a new generation of leaders who have expanded the business into the professional services and engineering organization that it is today. 

Busting the myth

Calian has never stood still – this is evident in last year’s record revenues and its more than 50 consecutive profitable quarters.

Today, Calian is diversified between five distinct service lines:

Health Services, where Calian delivers and manages large-scale networks of medical clinics and facilities across Canada as well as health care professionals at customer sites. With a network of 1,500 healthcare professionals, this makes Calian one of the largest national healthcare providers in Canada.  

IT and Professional Services, where Calian has over 400 consultants currently engaged on ITPS projects with the experience and expertise to support complex IT initiatives and manage discrete IT functions in support of customers’ business and technology needs.

Training Services, where Calian delivers training solutions, teaching individuals or large groups. Engagements range from DND personnel about to deploy overseas for high-intensity combat operations, to emergency preparedness exercises for critical infrastructure, public safety and security organizations.

Systems Engineering, where Calian offers turnkey system engineering, products and services worldwide for Satellite Communications, Aerospace and Defence, Test and Measurement, Cable and Wireless, and Broadcast and Media markets. In fact, Calian’s SED division built the deep space antenna network that was used to track the European Space Agency’s comet-chasing Rosetta probe.

Contract Manufacturing where Calian manufactures high reliability systems and equipment for critical military and commercial applications. 

What ties all these operations together?

“Our ability to respond to our customers’ needs,” said Ford. “Calian has always been really good at program and service delivery.  Although we are a diverse company, there are common core competencies that are levered across all that we do.”

Take Health Services.

For 20 years, Calian has provided constructive simulation training for the Canadian Forces. That led to other contract opportunities with the Department of National Defence. In 2004, the company realized it could parlay its expertise into another arena – managing health services for DND installations across the country. 

Having built this health program management expertise and a vast network of 1,500 healthcare professionals in 65 categories, Calian looked at what other industry verticals in which it could deliver Health Services. Today, this division’s customers include DND, Shell Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, RCMP, Loblaw and Correctional Services Canada. Calian also operates in own medical clinics and has recently established a clinic in Ft. McKay, AB to service the oil and gas sector. 

“When we assess our core competencies and what we are successful at, it always leads us into markets and opportunities where we’ve never been before,” said Ford.  “When you package strong engineering, project and contract management capabilities with a focus on customer service and an equally strong workforce management capability, it’s a winning combination. It’s fueled our success with a diverse set of industries and customers, to create a strong return for our shareholders.”

Building bench strength

But Calian’s growth hasn’t been entirely organic. The company doesn’t hesitate to hit the acquisition trail to build out its core competencies. Calian has made 14 acquisitions since 1988. Four strategic acquisitions have come in the past five years alone. 

In support of Calian’s national healthcare strategy, it acquired Primacy Management Inc., which operates medical clinics in Loblaw grocery stores across Canada, and Med Team medical clinic in Kanata, to build out its national civilian healthcare footprint.

Calian also acquired DWP Solutions, for its additional security and cyber consulting expertise, and Amtek Engineering Services, for its training and engineering service offerings.

“Our acquisition strategy aligns with our strategic growth framework, in support of our customer diversification and service line evolution objectives,” Ford said. “We are always looking for companies that can help us enter new markets or increase our service line capabilities.”

Since its founding, Calian has grown into a  highly successful, diverse company. The goal now is to educate investors and customers on the strength of Calian’s depth and breadth, and on how the company is organized so that each line of business operates under the leadership of its own senior executive.  

“I view my role as setting the pace for the organization and supporting my executive team on the achievement of our growth objectives,” Ford said. “I believe that by serving a number of customers in wide ranging and geographically varied markets, we capitalize on unique opportunities and upturns in a number of markets while at the same time weathering the downturns experienced in others.”

To learn more about Calian’s services visit: