Global reach in Okanagan Falls

Not many locally know it, but a business in the community of Okanagan Falls is making big moves internationally.

Unit Electrical Engineering Ltd. employee (top) welds in the manufacturing plant in Okanagan Falls.

Not many locally know it, but a business in the community of Okanagan Falls is making big moves internationally.

In fact, those living right across the street from Unit Electrical Engineering Ltd. (UEE) don’t even know what goes on behind their walls. When a delegation drops in for a visit from another country they often literally raise the visiting country’s flag.

“We raised the Chinese national flag and our reception received a phone call from a resident asking what is happening. It is great that neighbours are taking an interest and we could tell them what we are doing,” said Mark Burleigh, president of UEE. “It’s such a small town, yet people don’t know us so having further local exposure is great.”

UEE is an electrical manufacturing and solutions company and their work can be found worldwide. Their team of over 100 electrical and mechanical specialist and production staff meets the exacting demands of the mining, renewable energy, transportation, industrial and commercial markets. You can see their designs and equipment at the Vancouver Convention Centre, mining projects in places like Africa, Russia and China and Canada. UEE holds an exclusive agreement with Bombardier Transportation to manufacture their linear induction motors used in transit systems in places such as Vancouver, Malaysia, Yong-In, JFK International Airport in New York and the Beijing Airport Link. Their run-of-river power solutions deliver electricity without needing to dam, providing clean power in Greenland, the Caribbean and B.C.

“Business is going really well for our company. We have a long-term plan of stable growth and we have done exceedingly well through tough economic times,” said Burleigh of UEE, which has been located at the former Sun-Rype plant in Okanagan Falls for about 13 years.

Currently a lot of their work comes from the mining industry and large industrial projects. Burleigh said UEE is working on completing a multi-million dollar project for China as well as power equipment for the extension to the transit system in Calgary. UEE also does work in Australia and South America and is looking at a large project in Panama. Because of its growth plan, the need came to purchase an adjacent property in Okanagan Falls to expand production of modular building and switchgear manufacturing allowing for two shifts to operate.

“Okanagan Falls is a small area and the costs of doing business here are favourable. And it is a great environment to live and work in and the employee base we have is fantastic. We do provide training in-house as well so individuals that come in from a different trades that have industrial know-how can be developed into the electrical industry,” said Burleigh.

Doing work internationally, it would be easy to assume that being situated near a major port would be ideal. But, Burleigh said being so close to the border, Vancouver and being able to purchase their own land makes it just as simple being in Ok Falls.

“Through our long-term business growth strategies and continued success of our company, we are hopeful to continue to provide steady employment within the local economy, which provide higher-level wages than some other jobs in the valley,” said Burleigh.