Jeff Gray

Recently appointed Thales Canada president Paul Kahn points to the company’s recently announced deal to retrofit New York City’s Flushing subway line as a major coup that establishes a foothold in the U.S. subway capital. But the company is also eyeing possible new contracts from San Francisco to Brussels.

Fighting for business around the world from a base in Canada has several advantages, Mr. Kahn says. For one thing, governments support technology and innovation: Thales received a $12.8-million grant from Ontario last year to integrate green energy-saving technology into its systems.

But the talent pool in Toronto is also a major advantage, adds Mr. Kahn, who came from Thales’s aviation division, based in Italy. Not only is Toronto awash in technical expertise, he says, its diversity is a secret weapon.

“When we’re working with the Chinese, we have people who speak Chinese who are integral members of our staff here,” Mr. Kahn said. “When we are working in [South] Korea, we have Canadians of Korean origin who culturally can work very effectively. It is one of the clear competitive advantages of being in Canada.”


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Reference: Globe and Mail