Nordex Explosives Ltd. of Kirkland Lake: Ontario’s Top Entrepreneur

"And the Winner is…"


Nordex Explosives Ltd. received the "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award at the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations' Conference recently. At the awards ceremony were Carmen DeMarco of FedNor, Paula Mangotich of Kirkland & District CDC, Jim Taylor of Nordex Explosives Ltd. and Jeff King of FedDev Ontario.

As the CEO and President of Nordex Explosives Ltd., Jim Taylor has a good sense of humour. When people tell him he's doing a 'bang-up' job running a successful company in Northern Ontario that manufactures blasting products, he takes it well in stride. Jim Taylor has also taken home a prestigious award from the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations after he was named Entrepreneur of the Year in September.

Nordex Explosives Ltd., a Kirkland Lake-based manufacturer, is the only Canadian company that produces explosives for use in mining, quarries and construction. The publicly traded company has steadily built a reputation as an industry leader in the manufacturing of high quality explosive products for its own clients as well as for other explosive distributors and manufacturers. It's a far cry from when Mr. Taylor first joined the struggling company in 2003 with only three part time employees and a plain white pick-up truck. "Consider how far we've come in roughly ten years", Taylor told the audience at the Annual Conference of Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in Huntsville where he received the top entrepreneur award. "Today, with 75 full-time employees, we have just over 40 trucks on the road, from large transports to pick-up trucks."

Nordex was nominated for the award by Kirkland & District Community Development Corporation, one of 24 not-for-profit Community Futures Development Corporations in Northern Ontario supported by FedNor. It offers free business advice, workshops and commercial financing to entrepreneurs looking to develop or grow a business in the Kirkland Lake region. "With Jim's vision, a unique product and proper management, we were confident we were investing in a company with a future", says Paula Mangotich, Executive Director of Kirkland & District Community Development Corporation which provided loans to Nordex in 2004 and 2012. "The company continues to modify and modernize in order to meet the industry's needs."

Preparing to Blast


A Nordex technician lays a one-piece, coiled charge used for rapid loading of perimeter boreholes in surface and underground mines. The precision blasting product is specifically designed to create smooth walls and have a safer controlled blast on the surface or underground.

When Nordex modernized its plant in 2009 with a fully automated production line to manufacture a new and specialized blasting product, the company needed to train its employees from the assembly line to the field technicians to be able to operate in an efficient and safe work environment. That's where FedNor was able to assist through a manufacturing initiative that provided support for the technological education and skills training required. "In order to diversify and expand our business, we need specially trained employees", says Bill Taylor, Nordex President and CEO. "FedNor's support helped us to acquire the resources necessary to move forward as a company". The company was then able to hire additional staff to meet the growing demand for Nordex Explosives' unique products and services in Northern Ontario and beyond.

Nordex Explosives continues to expand with satellite operations in key locations to better serve clients in the mining, quarry and construction sectors. The company also reinvests in new products, and designs and manufactures its own equipment, including prototypes for new loading systems intended for underground mining operations. With plans to build new facilities in British Columbia and talks underway for potential expansion into the United States, no one is joking when they say that 'business is booming' for Nordex Explosives Ltd.