Business View Magazine - October 2018

222 223 a balanced approach; ensuring your infrastructure is being addressed as you’re expanding and mak- ing sure you’re ahead of the curve, rather than trying to catch up. The growth is not only public infrastructure –water, sewer, roads, etc.–you have to look at the development of schools, parks, and recreation. All of those things compile into a balancing act.” Long before Harder took office, an earlier Mayor, Henry Wiebe, prompted the basis of a strategic plan for the city, when he made this statement: “For every student we graduate, we need to ensure we have a job available.” That has never been truer than today in Winkler, where 800 to 850 students graduate every year.With the ex- pansion of education through the establishment of Red River College, there is a tremendous op- portunity for employing skilled graduates in the community. The health sector has also expanded. In 1980, Winkler had one medical clinic operated by six doctors. Currently, there is a clinic with 46 doctors and a new medical facility between Winkler and Morden called the Boundary Trails Health Centre. Harder reflects, “The educational, the medical, the industrial, the agricultural, the commercial… when I look at a balanced approach to our com- munity, those are the five cornerstones.” The remarkably consistent growth has mostly come from within.While national retailers like Wal-Mart, Superstore, and some chain restaurants have moved to the city, the majority of industrial growth is homegrown. Businesses that started small in the community have been very success- ful in reaching out to the North American mar- ketplace. Of particular note: Triple E Recreational ICON Technologies is the largest supplier of aftermarket thermoformed and roto- molded plastic parts for the North Amer- ican recreational vehicle industry. In addi- tion to the largest selection of fender skirts in the aftermarket, ICON produces a wide range of skylights, tubs and shower pans, air conditioner shrouds, fresh and grey/ black water holding tanks and a variety of related accessories including wind deflec- tors for tow vehicles. ICON has developed a strong network of international distributors and dealers to deliver its products, primarily in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The business also includes overseas customers as far away as Japan. RV owners can also buy directly through and have the product shipped straight to their door. John Loewen founded ICON Technologies in 1997. Growing up in Winkler, Loewen learned the art of design and manufactur- ing from his father, an exceptional crafts- man and pattern maker. Starting in what Loewen calls a “1,600 square foot glorified two-car garage.” the company has been growing steadily ever since. In 2018, the company tripled its footprint with con- struction of a new 105,000 square foot state of the art manufacturing plant and warehouse on 17 acres of land in Winkler’s Cloverdale Industrial Park, consolidating its operations under one roof, in one location, with room for expansion. As a supplier to the North American mar- ket, Winkler is a good spot to be. ICON is minutes from the United States border and about equal distance to the outside perimeter of North America. “Geograph- ically, Winkler is truly in the center of ev- erything when it comes to accessing the North American market”, says Loewen. Winkler also offers ICON a deep pool of experience and skilled labor to draw from both for its own employees as well as related manufacturing services. Expertise in wood, metals, and composites manufac- turing are available just around the corner and fresh perspectives to solve the most difficult manufacturing problems are avail- able right in the community. One thing that Loewen speaks proudly of is the company culture at ICON. “I believe this is what makes the company excep- tional. We take care of our employees by providing them with an enjoyable environ- ment – a clean and modern facility where they can excel in their work. In order to provide great quality products you also have to have great quality equipment and technology. We believe that if our employ- ees feel they are being treated well, they will in turn treat our customers well.” This combination of hard-working staff, a comfortable environment and state of the art technology has been the key to build- ing a strong brand in the market and a bright future for the company. CITY OFWINKLER, MANITOBA