Boulton new regional trade rep

After years of arranging exports to the U.S. for Norfab Building Components here, Bill Boulton has broadened his scope to building business relationships of all sorts early last month with his new job as a senior trade advisor for the Northwest-Midwest Alliance—a program of the Northwestern Ontario Development Network (NODN).
As the senior trade advisor, Boulton’s first priorities will include one-on-one consultation with local companies interested in exporting to the U.S., identifying and formalizing linkages with key contacts south of the border, initiating dialogue, and pursuing direct trade-related business opportunities for northwest companies.
“A lot of businesses have a product that’s marketable, but don’t know what to do after that, how to take the first step,” Boulton noted last week.
“I’m looking for anybody that has the will and capability to do it,” he added, noting the types of products could range from food to furniture, and that the prospective producers could be based anywhere from Marathon to the Manitoba border.
Since he started the job Jan. 6, Boulton has been busy, working at offices both here and in Thunder Bay as well as attending a trade conference in Minneapolis last week with associates from the Rainy River Future Development Corp. and economic development officers from various regional municipalities.
“We’re off to a good start,” Boulton said of his progress finding leads for potential exporters so far. “The ones I have met, we’ve formed good, solid connections with.”
And he expects the pace to stay hectic for at least the next few months as he travels not only across the region to find Canadian companies to export their goods, but to the U.S. to scope out prospective markets.
For instance, he’ll be heading off on a trade mission to Chicago with other delegates from the region at the end of this month.
According to NODN, Boulton’s proven track record working in sales and business ownership for more than 30 years provides him with a vast array of knowledge and experience to share with other companies throughout the northwest.
Having worked with Norfab for the past seven years, which shipped 75 percent of its product south of the border, Boulton is no stranger to working within the vast markets of the United States.
Boulton also has been involved with the local Chamber of Commerce as well as the Northwestern Associated Chambers of Commerce (NOACC), and has a good sense of Northwestern Ontario business issues and opportunities.
“The Northwest-Midwest Alliance Program is a key component for strengthening the economy of the northwest,” NODN president Don McKay noted in a press release.
“The companies within our region that are now exporting are very successful.
“With this enhanced program, along with the support of Industry Canada, corporate sponsors, the export champions, and our new senior trade advisor, we can encourage and nurture more companies to explore market opportunities south of the border, create jobs, and diversify our economic base,” McKay added.
The Northwest-Midwest Alliance program is a collaborative community economic development initiative implemented by the NODN.
With the financial assistance of Industry Canada/FedNor, stakeholders, and sponsors, the Northwest-Midwest Alliance facilitates export and investment opportunities between Northwestern Ontario and the Midwest United States, with a focus on creating sustainable employment and economic opportunities throughout Northwestern Ontario.