It is now January, so my year end message is now a year start message. I will take a quick look back at 2018, but the fun part will be looking at where we are going. It is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year!
The past year saw some changes in the leadership at PQA. It started with Nat Couture rejoining PQA as VP of Professional Services. Nat spent five years at PQA before leaving to join a startup for several years. In his first stint at PQA, he was part of the team that saw a fivefold increase in revenue. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but I expect the result to be the same this time. Kartik Venkatraman also joined us in 2018 as Director of Service Delivery, Ontario.
We also said goodbye to three senior members of the team. Heiko Peters left in May and is now running his own startup. John Santamaria, who was instrumental to getting PLATO on solid ground in Vancouver, left to take a senior role at EA. And Christin Wiedemann left at the end of August. From tester, to test lead, to VP, to co-CEO, Christin played a big role in all aspects of PQA during her time with us. With every change, there is an opportunity and, in this case, Christin’s departure opened the door for Mike Hrycyk to take on a bigger role in Vancouver as VP, Service Delivery.
What 2018 really did was lay a foundation for us to build on going forward. Many people took on bigger roles and proved they could do more. Several key clients grew significantly. The PLATO team got great experience and exposure. PQA and PLATO won national awards in recognition of the work we are doing and what we are achieving. The sales team is not only reaching into bigger opportunities, they are being approached by big opportunities that want to work with us.
2019 has started off with a bang. On January 7, Jennifer Rushton will join PQA as VP, Lottery and Gaming. She is the first employee based in Sault Ste. Marie, but she definitely won’t be the last. We will kick off our first training course there on February 4. We plan to have 20 people employed in the Soo by the end of 2019.
The other big news in the first week of January is that we have an agreement in principal to partner with FHQ Developments to create a jointly owned company, PLATO Sask. This company will be based in Regina and will partner with PQA to provide testing services in Saskatchewan and to create Indigenous employment opportunities. This is a new and exciting turn in the growth of PLATO.
I have come to accept that I am an entrepreneur. And to entrepreneurs, this year is always “The Year”. In the 21 years since I founded PQA, I have never been more certain that this is “The Year”. PQA has people throughout the company who are driven to succeed, who have learned through the development years, and who are capable of applying those lessons. We have wonderful clients and future clients. And, we are delivering world-class services while also delivering positive social impact. I can’t wait to write the 2019 year end message!
Founder and CEO of PQA Testing Ltd.
Founder of PLATO Testing