Calderwood Automation

Large commercial, institutional and industrial buildings require sophisticated, reliable automated programs and mechanisms to help in their efficient operation and to make the facilities comfortable and safe for the folks who work within them.

Aspects such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning  (HVAC) systems including valves, dampers, fans, boilers, blowers and all the related wiring, piping and hardware all need to be well built and accessed by a centralized control network.

And increasingly Napanee-based Calderwood Automation is being relied upon as the ‘go to’ company for design, installation, maintenance and servicing of automation systems for many public buildings as well as factories in the region.

The company, located at 200 Industrial Parkway, formed after long-time college pals David Nugent and Kevin Stevens decided it made more sense for all concerned to strike out on their own, after working out of Ottawa for a much larger company that also worked in the automation field.

“Kevin is from Belleville and I am from Napanee and we took the instrumentation technologist course at St. Lawrence College in Kingston. We met there in 1988. After graduating in 1990 he went to work for Johnson Controls in Ottawa and I followed a year later. I stayed in Ottawa working for Johnson, but he moved back to this area basically working the Kingston/Belleville corridor for the company,” said Nugent, who said that the Calderwood name came from the street across from the campus where he, Stewart and some buddies lived while going to St. Lawrence College, and which was across the street from the campus.

“Around 2000 we came up with the idea that this area was being serviced by companies like Johnson Controls but they were dispatching people from Ottawa or the Toronto area, which is a pretty long distance away. Kevin and I were local and we knew the area and we pitched the idea to Johnson Controls that maybe we can start our own company and we can take care of this region for them. They thought it was a great idea so we started Calderwood in 2001.”

Although the company has been busy acting as the de facto eyes, ears and hands on the ground for Johnson Controls, Calderwood has also added its own growing roster of independently-sourced clients.

“We have worked hard to establish our own customer base. Over the past couple of years we have picked up projects throughout eastern Ontario, including some in Lennox & Addington County. We have a contract with Goodyear in Napanee, which has been pretty significant for us. We don’t work with them in terms of their manufacturing process, we do work on the building systems themselves,” said Jonathan Da Silva, who came on board as the third owner of the company in 2009 and is its operations manager.

Nugent explained exactly the sort of products and services the company offers.

“I will use St. Lawrence College as an example because we have worked with them for a number of years as Johnson Controls has the automation contract there. All the mechanical equipment like fans, chillers, boilers right down to the vents, dampers or heating valves in the individual classrooms – all the devices that are controlling those, we supply the components for. We get them installed and wired. And that all comes back to digital controllers which we program. So you get all that stuff talking together and basically through a web-based we can not only see that campus, but also the campuses in Brockville and Cornwall,” he said, adding that they maintain all of that, as well as act as the trouble shooters if problems arise. The staff at St. Lawrence runs the system, but Calderwood ensures it runs properly and fixes anything that needs to be fixed.

Calderwood’s clientele is impressive to say the least, running the gamut from educational institutions, government facilities, factories and more.

“We work with Correctional Services Canada in the prisons, particularly Collins Bay. We work with hospitals and schools. We have done work on a number of military bases including CFB Kingston and Petawawa as well as RMC [Royal Military College]. And besides Goodyear we are also doing some work at the Proctor and Gamble plant in Belleville,” said Da Silva.

“And we have done a couple of churches where they have a boiler. We have done work at the County Memorial Building in Nappanee and a few other L&A County buildings as well as a little bit of work over at the Strathcona Paper Centre and the area up in Tamworth, as well as a library here and there,” added Nugent, saying many of these institutional clients are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings to help keep costs in line.

Such a high profile list of clients has benefitted Calderwood as it continues to expand its customer base.

 “It’s a competitive market and I like to think that we have built ourselves a good reputation. Some other companies have come and gone but we have been here for a while and have been doing it for more than 20 years in this area, even before Calderwood started. We have built ourselves up because people are like, ‘wow, these guys are local. We are used to waiting for a guy to come from Hamilton.’ We are local, we are quick to respond and we do quality work,” Nugent said.

Being located in Greater Napanee and L&A County has a lot of professional and personal advantages for the company and its staff.

“We are right in the middle of our main service area and we are close to the major transportation corridor for the region with Highway 401. And it’s also nice to see how the area, including Napanee, is really on the upswing,” Nugent said.

“I am biased I guess. I lived in Ottawa which is a good city but I always had that pull to come back home to this area. We basically moved back when we [he and wife Alida] had our first child. It’s just a great place to raise a family.”

And Calderwood, which employs eight people out of Napanee, has recently brought in another staff member to be their point of contact in Northern Ontario.

“The person is based in North Bay and places like Kirkland Lake and Kapuskasing are not used to having someone close at hand to handle the contracts. A lot of the business is being handled out of here, but the servicing is being handled remotely through our guy in North Bay,” Nugent said.

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