Written as part of Ignite Fredericton‘s Business Profile Series while employed as Economic Development Intern (June-August 2014)
Dale Hume, Founder – ThermTest Inc.
When it comes to the starting up and running of a business, Dale Hume is big believer in an organic approach.
Hume, founder of ThermTest Inc., started his Fredericton-based business the old fashioned way without any startup capital funding or assistance. Now ten years later, his company is thriving and operating debt free.
“We focused on generation revenue through things we were really good at, then came development. We started to develop as the money allowed us,” says Hume. “That took a couple of years.”
ThermTest innovates and develops laboratory equipment, which measures thermal properties, or the manner in which a material transfers heat. They manufacturer and supply various measurements systems for –solids, liquids, pastes and powders to North American and International markets. Hume describes his research laboratory as being unique in Canada, if not the world, in terms of diversity of measurement techniques. He also describes his company as very healthy with sustainable growth, drive and stability.
Growing up in Nova Scotia, Hume moved to New Brunswick as a teenager. After graduating High School, he went to school in electronics at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC). He gained experience with the production and sales of laboratory equipment during his employment with Mathis Instruments Ltd., and eventually left to pursue his own entrepreneurial goals.
“I decided starting my own company would give me more control over my time. I still work a lot, but it is a rewarding experience.” says Hume.
“What I have learned about doing business in New Brunswick is, you need to be lean, efficient and find team members passionate about their careers,” says Hume.
ThermTest first started in a 600 sqft space above Hume’s garage where he could work and take care of his newborn son. Ten years later after two moves and the construction of their own lab in 2008, ThermTest is now in a 7000 sqft location with a healthy revenue stream.
“The organic approach is not new. There was a time when you only had yourself and the wealth you could pull out of your own home or savings,” says Hume, who took personal risks when creating his startup. “When you’re spending your own money, you tend to be very frugal, you find innovative ways to get things done.”
“We look for the same attributes in our team members” says Hume. “Innovation thrives when given a chance, which is what we do”.
Hume is happy he chose to conduct his business in Fredericton. Recently, he was at a cross-road of expanding his business in another jurisdiction. Thanks to the intervention of Ignite Fredericton, Hume has decided to expand his company locally – adding three positions.
“The staff of Ignite Fredericton offered advice on growing my company and referred me to expansion programs” said Hume. “Thanks to the support we received, we are planning to expand and grow locally, and are excited about the future of our company.”
Hume offered some advice to starting entrepreneurs: have a mentor.
“Find someone you respect in a similar industry and create a relationship with those people, maybe go for breakfast once a month. Keep that relationship as a two-direction thing. There are ways through that relationship that you can help each other,” says Hume, adding that Fredericton has great academic infrastructure, a local talent pool and high-level people. “Some of the best advice, you don’t have to pay for.”
“Get yourself a good team of multi-skilled people, who will be the pillars of your company as you grow for years to come”
BY: Nicola MacLeod, 2014 ED Intern