Thompson chamber presents winter weather testing plan to government, private sector in Winnipeg

The Thompson Chamber of Commerce wants to find 20 investors to form a corporation and an operating agency to aggressively grow the winter weather testing industry in Thompson over the next five years.

Chamber president Raj Thethy and director Volker Beckmann were in Winnipeg recently, where they presented a long-range plan to grow winter weather testing to over a dozen people, including provincial government officials and other stakeholders.

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Winter weather testing began in Thompson in the mid 1990s when snowmobile and car manufacturers began showing up to test their products in snowy and cold conditions. In the year 2000, the Chamber of Commerce formed a committee to attract more manufacturers to the city for winter weather testing. When Thompson Unlimited was formed in 2004, it took on the marketing and management responsibility to bring testers to Thompson, a role it continued to hold until shutting down in 2014. During that time, some automobile manufacturers built their own facilities in the area for conducting winter weather testing and the GLACIER jet engine testing facility south of town, a partnership between jet engine manufacturers Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, began operations.

The chamber’s plan to increase winter weather testing recognizes that testers bring revenue into the region that creates jobs and investments. The Thompson Chamber of Commerce hopes to host a major tourism event in 2020 to attract electric vehicle manufacturers to Thompson during the anniversary of the community attaining city status as well as Manitoba’s 150th year of existence.

Until such time as a corporation in charge of inter weather testing can be formed, the Chamber of Commerce is taking on the task of being the first point of contact for inquiries from companies interested in conducting winter weather testing. Anyone who wants more detailed information or to learn about the potential for growth this industry has can contact Beckmann at 204-778-7434 or Thompson Chamber of Commerce general manager Paula Yanko at 204-677-4155 or commerce@mts.net.

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