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Greystone Builds Environmental Systems Locally, Sells Globally

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Greystone Energy Systems is one of those companies that often only exist in the dreams of economic development professionals.

However, luckily for Moncton, Greystone does exist as an industry leading manufacturer and technology developer. Greystone has been operating from their Moncton Industrial Park location in Moncton's West End since the mid-80s.

Not only is Greystone an economic developer's dream company, it is a real company engaged in the manufacture and marketing of over 2000 items used for managing and monitoring the environmental atmosphere of office buildings, industrial plants and commercial facilities of any size. Their sales offices link from Moncton to the US and recently to China, capturing a domestic local market and a growing global market concerned about air quality and how to manage building interiors.

"Today, we are Canada's largest independent manufacturer of HVAC sensors and transducers for Building Automation Management Systems. Our vision at Greystone is to design and manufacture a wide range of products for sensing measurement and transmittal of data related to temperature, humidity, pressure, current, air quality, and hazardous gases", says William Robblee, company President.

What makes Greystone an even better dream as a model export company seeking global markets is the addition recently of a sales branch office in China, one of the World's most recognized marketplaces for future business growth potential. Greystone expanded into China in 1989 after an initial expansion outside of Canada, first to the United States in 1987 for export sales and subsequently overseas to Europe and Asia.

What Greystone does, when described in the simplest of terms, is develop products and procedures that help take the guesswork out of maintaining the optimum operation of a building's interior environment for it's inhabitants. Sounds simple, but ventilation has progressed beyond opening a window, or vent. Air inside and out is increasingly being monitored and managed by computer sensors, which are integrated with building operating systems. These systems automatically measure and think in cubic feet per minute (CFMs) air exchange ratios and during these activities, response commands are processed by software code written by Greystone's engineers and programmers.

Moncton based Greystone is right in the middle of where air refresh quality meets automation and environmental control systems, all of which are tied to a computer based operating system for buildings.

"With the kind of systems we are developing today, you could monitor the quality of air capacity in buildings anywhere in the World and have an operations centre that is thousands of miles away from where the motor is that opens and closes the valves", says Robblee. "Remote monitoring and remote management are as possible as turning up the thermostat in a building by a person was 40 years ago," he adds.

According to Greystone, leadership of the interior environmental management systems industry is a sweet business spot to be in. Much like the overnight singing sensation, who has been practising their songs for 25 years for today's instant pop record recognition; the recent growth and profile of Greystone is the result of years of investment and careful product development.

"Greystone manufactures and distributes sensors and transducers for the commercial HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) building automation industry.

These devices include temperature, humidity, pressure, current, hazardous gas sensor and signal conditioners. Our products sense the parameters and the signals are sent to a computerized controller that regulates the ventilation equipment," says Scott MacKinnon, Greystone's Marketing Manager.

Greystone was founded in 1983 and has been growing steadily since then and moved into the Moncton Industrial Park in 1988. The company is an ISO 9000-registered manufacturer with 9002 certification.

"We have recently opened our first sales office in another country. This sales office is located in Shenzhen China," says MacKinnon.

Shenzhen (shen'jun'), is a city (1991 est. pop. 2,385,000), in Guangdong Prov., SE China, and is located on the South China Sea, just N of Hong Kong. One of China's first designated special economic zones (1979), Shenzhen has experienced enormous economic growth. Manufactures include electronic and computer equipment, chemicals, processed foods, textiles, construction materials, and pharmaceuticals. A superhighway linking the city to Guangzhou opened in 1994.

For our efforts in exporting New Brunswick technology expertise to China, we have recently been recognized by the Canada China Business Council in their magazine, China Success, titled Canadian Companies and their China Business Stories, says MacKinnon.

He adds, "We have around 45 full time employees in our Moncton office and plant and 4 more at our sales office in Shenzhen," says MacKinnon.

For Greystone, the future is all about the efficient and reliable delivery of a quality building environment. One that employers want to provide for their workers and for their customers provided in a reliable and cost effective manner using the control automation products that come from their Moncton manufacturing plant.

Build locally and sell globally is the dream of many of the new Internet economy companies and Greystone is counting on this new business model to continue their business success.

August, 2000

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