Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have family and friends who have moved out west to find employment but for Wally Haas, director of Engineering at Avalon Microelectronics, coming to St. John’s to start a fibre optic communications company was a natural move. Mr. Haas sees a bright future setting up business in St. John’s because of low operational costs, high-quality talent coming from Memorial, and proximity to customers in both North America and Europe.
Avalon Microelectronics is currently located at the Genesis Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The Genesis Centre is a business support network for high growth technology companies.
“Telecom equipment manufacturers are building ever-faster systems to handle the rising amount of internet traffic attributed to the movement of video data through rich media content on websites and through peer-to-peer file swapping,” explained Christopher O’Brien, Avalon’s manager of Sales and Marketing. “Avalon's technology is also suitable for super-computing applications and network storage applications where movement of large volumes of data requires very high-speed transmission across optical fibre.”
Mr. O’Brien said that, “With increasing time-to-market pressures and very high up-front costs of traditional "application specific" approaches to developing electronics, Avalon Microelectronics' field programmable electronic products are helping customers get their product to market faster, while being cost effective for the low product volumes that exist in the high-speed data transport market. “Our company's components can be reprogrammed after deployment of a typical communications system allowing carriers such as Aliant, Bell and Verizon to deploy their networks faster, at considerably less cost from their suppliers.”
While in the early stages of this high-speed data transport market, Avalon’s founder Mr. Haas feels that there are many factors pulling the industry towards the need for products like his company offers including recent post-Enron corporate reform measures and business continuity requirements that are increasing the need for faster data transmission on existing optical fibre. He also said that “carriers want to take advantage of existing infrastructure, as well as reduce operational expenditures. All these factors are pointing in the direction of Avalon’s optical communications technology.”
Growing pains do exist however one of the challenges Avalon faces is finding the right talent to help bring their products to market. They are currently considering energetic and motivated individuals with electrical engineering and arts backgrounds to take on product development, sales, and marketing roles. In return, they are offering the opportunity for ownership and the chance to be part of a hot new start-up technology firm with a global customer base and a fun and dynamic work environment.