Member of the Month April 2013: Porcupine Engineering Services Inc.

Date ArticleType
4/1/2013 Press Release

When a large international engineering firm left town in 2004, it left behind three ambitious and seasoned engineers who decided to strike out on their own as Porcupine Engineering Services Inc. (PES) rather than follow their employer.

“We could have stayed with them and moved south, but there’s no way I could have enjoyed the same lifestyle that I do here in Timmins,” said Brian Emblin, co-owner and the firm’s lead mechanical engineer. “We decided to stay and do our own thing.”

Determined to pursue the unique opportunities that Northern Ontario affords, Emblin formed PES with structural engineer Mario Colantonio and electrical engineer Frank O'Donnell later that year.  

The multidisciplinary firm has since strived to provide innovative designs to its clients in booming and ever-changing heavy industrial sectors such as mining, forestry and power.

Creativity has since been top of mind for the firm, as its three founders have had to transition into their new roles of business owners after being employees of a large corporation.

“It’s not for everyone, but we’ve all really enjoyed having that extra level of control and taking a more personal approach to business,” said Emblin.
This shift has helped the firm to maintain its focus on providing top-quality service while building relationships with clients. This level of dedication rapidly earned them accolades from their peers, as they were named recipient of the New Business Award during the Timmins Chamber’s 2006 Nova Awards celebration.     

The scope of the company’s work has since evolved and expanded, its customer base growing throughout Northern Ontario alongside its own status as an innovative and dependable company.

“When people didn’t know us that well, they entrusted us with smaller projects,” said Emblin.  “Over time, we’ve built on that trust and developed a reputation as a business that can get things done.”  

Above all, the firm's success is tied to creative solutions to challenges that are unique to the region.

“There’s not much new heavy industrial construction going on locally, so we specialize in helping older plants expand by merging new equipment into them.  You really have to think outside the box with that kind of work.  Our guys definitely come back to the office with their hands dirty.”

Like so many businesses across Northern Ontario, the firm has faced its share of challenges in its pursuit of success, including the 2008 economic downturn which forced them to cut their staff nearly in half. However, their ability and determination has allowed them a strong recovery as they diversify throughout the province and beyond.

In recent years, PES has done work in Guatemala and Burkina Faso, while its most recent success is having been
awarded a detailed engineering contract for a graphite facility in the Mattawa area.  

“Timmins has been excellent to us, and it’s been great to broaden our customer base and project capacity, as well as our geographical presence,” said Emblin.

This measured success led the firm to open a Sudbury office in 2011, and it currently employs 37 personnel between its two locations. 

“We’re very pro-Timmins and more than 90% of our work is done in the region, so we’re always taking resumes.”

To help accommodate their continued growth, the company has plans to move beyond their long-time home above the South Porcupine post office. In the coming months, PES will be moving to 316 Spruce South, into the space formerly occupied by the Timmins Native Friendship Centre.

To learn more about Porcupine Engineering Services, visit them online at, stop by their current office at 200-81 Shamrock Ave. in South Porcupine, or call them at (705) 235-2110.

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