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Winning Against the Odds

"Tim Phillips, Gerry Watier, Tom Yu"

It's still quite difficult to sell Canadian manufactured products to companies in the Pacific Rim countries. They have certain advantages over us: closeness to market, lower interest rates and lower wages, to name just a few. So you can imagine how Tim Phillips, Gerry Watier and Tom Yu felt three years ago when the company they work for in London, Ontario, "Unifin International", an operating unit of "Intercity Products", (formerly I.C.G.-Keepright) was asked to bid on a contract to supply coolers for direct current motors to a Japanese manufacturer.

What made it tougher was the fact that the Japanese manufacturer owned a company in Japan that made that very item. In effect, Tim, Gerry and Tom were competing against the manufacturer's own company. Not quite a level playing field. Well, their Canadian ingenuity won out and they got the order. Then, they were asked to bid on a project in India. They won out again. They won out on a third major contract back in Japan. Unifin began doing so

much business in the Pacific Rim that they opened an office in Tokyo to service and sell their Pacific Rim customers.

It is said that influence flows from the top down. That is certainly true in the case of this company. Its founder, Bob Graham, started the company in 1956 when he was a 25-year-old stockbroker sent out to Winnipeg from Montreal to "look into" this new commodity called "natural gas". That was the beginning of I.C.G. which over the years has become one of Canada's most successful conglomerate companies.

When you talk with Bob and the people he surrounds himself with you quickly understand the success of "Unifin" and the company's other divisions. Bob and his people help prove that Canadian-made products and Canadian-fueled sales and marketing ingenuity can win markets anywhere, against any competitor.





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