Vektris Engineering Corporation Established: May 22, 1952 (as Lethbridge Machine and Metalworks) Headquarters: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada Vektris Engineering, a Canadian industrial gem and one of the most skilled firms in the world at the making of metal components of all sizes and materials, began in a humble manner, a machining firm dedicated to the production of metal components for farm machinery, trucks and railroad cars. Created by Adam Veksler and William Tristian in May 1952 for that purpose, the company began both for this purpose but also as a licensed dealer for parts and service for Robinson, Massey-Harris and Russell-Evans products, doing a brisk business in the 1950s as the local population grew and higher prices for farm products created a class of farmers who bought mechanized equipment in ever-larger quantities. Despite this success, skilled machinist Tristian and machine designer Veksler began to make their own equipment and attachments for Massey-Harris and Russell-Evans products in the mid-1950s, starting with better cultivators and plows, and the development in the late 1950s of combination of powered tiller and herbicide sprayer that reduced the quantity of herbicide used (and would be proven a good idea after the downsides of excess herbicide use became apparent in the late 1960s) that was designed to be easier on fields. As oil exploration grew in the area during the same time period, the company's machine shop proved capable of making virtually anything the oil industry needed, and the specialized built-to-order business became a company hallmark by the early 1960s. By the early 1960s the company had spread out to making tools and equipment out of all kinds of metals, and the prosperity of the time in Canada and the shifting needs of both industries, as well as lavish support from Petro-Canada, led to the company creating an express engineering department in 1963, initially hiring grads from Central Canada but quickly developing its own home-grown talent from Alberta itself. The engineering department of the company quickly saw the company divided into engineering, fabrication and commercial departments, and the company began to expand its operations far beyond the oil and farm implements industries. The company became known across Canada with the building of the Iroquois-class destroyers in the mid-1960s, as their revolutionary COGOG drive systems were designed and in part built by Lethbridge Machine and Metalworks, and the company also developed the drive system used by the UAC/CLC TurboTrain that began service on CN in 1965, both projects making the company's reputation for quality engineering. Perhaps more importantly, the company's engineering divisions developed their own fabrication tools and machines, which made the company's ability to take on specialized projects expand. The expansion into specialized engineering led to the name change from Lethbridge Machine and Metalworks to Vektris Engineering Corporation in 1974, and Vektris' abilities to make components of a quality and durability unmatched by others led to the firm growing into many new fields in the 1970s and 1980s, including everything from industrial machinery to metal pieces for construction projects to automotive industry components. Vektris through the 1970s and 1980s took on and successfully accomplished one task after another, building up a formidable reputation. They built the titanium-alloy chassis tubs for Walter Wolf's Formula One race cars, wheeltrucks for the CLRV streetcars for Toronto, structural steel components for the monorail for Expo 86 in Vancouver, frames for Cray Research and Pacific Alliance supercomputers and even a machine that produced surgical stainless steel and titanium jewelry chains for Michael Daniels. But the company scored its greatest 1980s coup when they convinced General Electric and the Royal Canadian Navy to outsource to them the production of the General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines that the Navy's Fraser-class air-warfare destroyers used for their primary power - the Fraser and Eagle class destroyers and the Halifax and Ottawa class frigates using LM2500s built by Vektris, as well as four LM2500s built for the aircraft carrier HMCS Canada. A company re-organization in 1986 separated the engineering division into the Heavy, Transport, Industrial and Specialized engineering divisions and separated the fabrication division into the Heavy, Commercial, Advanced Materials and Specialized fabrication divisions. This allowed the company to become a partner in other projects on smaller or larger scales, from audio synthesizers to movie props (most famously creating numerous props for famed science-fiction hits Terminator II: Judgement Day, Jurassic Park, Eraser, Armageddon and Total Recall) to parts for the Canadarm that flew on the Space Shuttle. Vektris manufacturing machinery was used extensively by Fairchild Semiconductor in the United States, Fujitsu in Japan and Cameron Semiconductor and Sierra Technologies in Canada for the making of computer chips (and often enough Cameron and Sierra-made components were part of Vektris machinery) and by Gildan Activewear for the making of clothing. A billion-dollar company by the time of Veksler and Tristian's retirement in 1988, the torch of the company was passed off to John Rosbart, who had joined Vektris as a fresh-out-of-college designer in 1964. Rosbart expanded the company way beyond its North American markets and dramatically-expanded the advanced materials divisions, resulting in the company working with Nortel Networks to create commercial fiber-optic communications network equipment in 1991 and one of the first commercially-available 3D printers, the Vektris Avatar, in 1994, while at the same time continuing its heavier-metal businesses. The company's industrial divisions developed (with Dilworth, Secord and Meagher) a second-generation of refueling system for CANDU reactors, this first being installed at the Darlington and Fort McMurray NPPs in 1994, while the opening of Studio Powerstation and MGM Studios Toronto resulting in the company opening up a specialized manufacturing facility in Pickering, Ontario, in 1996, the company's first facility outside of Alberta. The Pickering factory was followed by the Industrial Engineering division setting up shop a new facility in Richmond, British Columbia the following year, and the Transport Engineering opening its new facility in Hamilton, Ontario, in 2000. Today, the company is the single largest industrial employer in the province of Alberta, with over 85% of the company's 46,000 employees being in the Wildrose Province, and true to form, the company directly employs 22,750 employees in Lethbridge, contributing mightily to the city and province's economy.