Sarnia-based Leadwave has been named one of Canada’s 50 best-managed IT companies.
The award comes from the marketing and events company, Technoplanet, and was announced during an online line event earlier this month. “When you look at the number of IT providers out there, and the quality of IT providers that keep popping up all over the country, we feel it’s a real achievement,” said CEO Mat Berube who formed Leadwave in 2006 with Aaron Weir, the company’s chief business development officer. “It’s a validation of our efforts in the last few years to really focus on process and developing a system that is scalable and we can work on to grow beyond our current size and market,” Berube said.
Based in Sarnia, with offices in Chatham-Kent and now London, Leadwave has 15 employees serving clients in 27 cities stretching from Newmarket to Windsor, Berube said. “We’ve primarily focused on Sarnia and Lambton when we started,” and then expanded to the Chatham and Windsor areas, he said. “And then, in the last couple of years, going a little bit more east and north towards London, and then north of that to Mississauga, Newmarket and so on. ”
The company’s London office opened in November. “We will be starting marketing efforts there in the next couple of months,” Berube said.
Leadwave was “just pretty well Mat and myself for the first year,” Weir said. He said they found a gap in market for business computer support. “There were a lot of people doing home user support but not a lot of people doing business support,” he said.
They landed their first client in the company’s first week, “and we still service that client,” Weir said. “Sarnia was really primed for this type of service,” focusing on small and medium-sized businesses, Berube said. “We’re really, in a nutshell, an out-sourced IT department,” Weir said. Whatever needs a large corporation would turn to its internal IT department for, “that’s what we are for small and medium-size businesses,” he said.
Acquiring two other Sarnia IT companies has helped the company grow, over the years. “Our next three to five-year goal is to really expand east of Sarnia,” and “really make an impact in all of southwestern Ontario,” Berube said.
Leadwave was deemed an essential service and has been able to continue operating through the pandemic, Berube said. “All our clients rely on IT on a daily basis, so we were definitely well-positioned to help,” he said.
The company was focused during the first few weeks of the pandemic lockdowns on helping companies move to operate remotely, Berube said. “We were extremely busy – probably one of the busiest times we had in our 15 years – getting people set up to work from home.” Berube added, “It has definitely been challenging to navigate those waters,” following pandemic protocols and maintaining both the safety of the company’s workers and the quality of its service. “The clients still have a business to run and we have to be there to help them,” he said.