It all started with a mountain bike. Thanks to the diverse recreation Kamloops offers, Wayne Cochran the founder of Axis sold his mountain bike as seed money for the start of the company. Axis Forestry Inc. started in a garage of a house in the Sa-Hali area of Kamloops in 2011 and has grown into an award winning, 20 employee international business. Wayne says of his company’s growth, “I sold my mountain bike to get some parts manufactured that I sold to friends (logging contractors) and reinvested every penny of sales income to rapidly grow.”
Wayne chose Kamloops for a number of key reasons. The geographical location is ideal for a logging equipment manufacturing business thanks to the BC timber industry. Kamloops is a central shipping location to the north, south and eastern Canada. Also, Kamloops offers the right blend of work and play to raise a family and have a good career.
Axis Forestry Inc manufactures parts to fit forestry processor attachments. The company comprises of 50% manufacturing and 50% technology products. TRU and Axis work together to supply Axis with co-op students which eventually convert into full time employees. It’s a mutually beneficial process because students get to work in Kamloops in their field of study, plus Axis gets to teach students how to apply their learning in a business environment. Cochran says, “by integrating technology into a traditional resource sector business, we’re able to hire youth into the business and grow. We have many fields of study that work at Axis, such as welding, machinist, computer science, parts person, heavy duty mechanics, electrical engineering and more.”
Fully invented in Kamloops, Axis has developed a new computerized control system that allows a machine operator to function forestry equipment with intuitive software and hardware. The product will be launched in the spring of 2018 and Axis will spinoff its tech division into a new start up company called Cypress Robotics Corp. Cypress will be responsible for supplying the worldwide market with computer systems for new and existing forestry equipment.
The number of people employed in Kamloops is estimated at nearly 49,000 and is projected to increase to nearly 51,000 by 2022.