Winnipeg entrepreneur says Centrallia helped his business succeed

Image: Cypher Environmental

Anyone who has driven on a rural road or worked in remote areas where oil, mining, forestry or other development is occurring knows that dealing with dust and unstable soils can be annoying.

Winnipeg-based Cypher Environmental, run by 34-year-old entrepreneur Todd Burns, has perfected an eco-friendly way to virtually eliminate that dust and to stabilize soils in areas like mine sites, where heavy truck traffic is a constant - and expensive - irritant.

The company has also developed a technology that uses bacteria and enzymes for wastewater remediation, potentially a multi-million-dollar market.

Burns, who has traveled to more than 40 countries to promote and market Cypher’s suite of technologies, was a 2001 graduate of Winnipeg’s Red River College when he saw the potential of a dust suppression method his late father had discovered. He also later studied environmental science at the University of Manitoba.

“The technology business operated out of my Dad’s basement,” he said. “We used to have the product made in China and were practicing absentee management. I brought the control of the manufacture of the product to Winnipeg, which allowed us to focus on our products.”

And the rest, as they say, is history—history that Burns credits in part to World Trade Centre Winnipeg and its Centrallia networking event.

While the firm only has a handful of direct employees now in Winnipeg, most are engineers and technologists who are dedicated to product enhancement and development, its tentacles reach out much more than that. With dozens of distributors worldwide and with a reliance on its own manufacturing capabilities, Burns says the company’s footprint is much larger.

“Indirectly we employ hundreds of people around the world.”

As product sales climb into the millions of dollars annually, Cypher continues to expand its Winnipeg head office staff, with plans to hire more engineering technicians and another business development manager this year.

Burns credits the company’s success to taking good ideas and hiring the right staff to illustrate to customers through data just how beneficial its technologies are.

From that nucleus the company has expanded its expertise in the areas of dust-suppression, road-stabilization and water-treatment products. All of the products are organic, biodegradable and non-toxic.

While the young executive continues to spend more time in airplanes than he would like to, considering he has a young family, he credits World Trade Centre Winnipeg and, in particular, the Centrallia event with helping his firm market internationally. Centrallia attracts entrepreneurs and trade officials from over 30 countries to Winnipeg for business-to-business networking.

“We are really excited about Centrallia because we do so many international sales,” he said. “It has been a big help to us.”

His firm, which has participated in past Centrallia events, will be an enthusiastic participant this May 25-27, when Centrallia is held at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

Billed as the equivalent of a “speed-dating opportunity” for small and mid-sized businesses, he said it gives his company the opportunity to meet one-on-one with businesspeople from throughout the world. In the past, the event, which is held every two years, has produced leads that later led to sales opportunities for Cypher, he said.

This year, in recognition of the young executive’s expertise in tapping international markets, he will be a member of the panel discussing opportunities in the Americas.

For more information about Centrallia, click here.

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