Technology and Media Winner 2007

Technology and Media Winner - Jack Gin, President & CEO, Extreme CCTV


Technology and Media Winner – Jack Gin, President & CEO, Extreme CCTV

His clients include the Queen of England, Academy Award winners, hall of fame hockey players and the U.S. military. His company’s security cameras can withstand baseball bats, bullets and even gas explosions. You’ll find them embedded inside metal traffic posts, tacked to the sides of towers, inside prison cells and even underwater. One particular model – the GVS1000, which is currently being used in Afghanistan – can detect fine detail a kilometre away in pitch dark. It’s nothing short of “delivering magic,” says Jack Gin, founder, president and CEO of Extreme CCTV Inc., a Burnaby-based company that designs, develops and manufactures surveillance equipment. When the 47-year-old first started the business 10 years ago, it was accepted that if a camera was filming a dark room, all you’d record is a dark image. Today developments such as infrared night vision and thermo-technology have enhanced security measures, which are in greater demand following 9/11 and ongoing terrorist threats. Gin took a big risk when he entered the market in 1997, putting his house on the line to provide working capital. “I wanted to run my own show and not be burdened with partners,” he explains. “We had to earn revenue right away, so we developed prototypes and started with sales. I wanted to invent products and get them to market ASAP.” Extreme reached its first million-dollar quarter within three years. It acquired U.K. company Derwent Systems Ltd. in 2001. In 2002 the company went public on the TSX, and in 2006 it acquired U.K. firm Forward Vision CCTV Ltd. Today Extreme employs around 140 staff across three offices. In the first quarter of 2007, Extreme generated its first $10-million quarter, and in the second quarter it delivered its third consecutive record-breaking quarter, posting revenues of $12.2 million, almost doubling revenue compared to the same quarter the previous year. Gin, a father of three, is a UBC engineering graduate who previously held senior positions at Weatherhaven and Silent Witness Enterprises Ltd. before branching off to start his own business. He has retained a 40-per-cent ownership of Extreme CCTV and is also a director of Derwent Systems, Forward Vision and Obzerv Technologies Inc. (a Quebec-based technology start-up of which Extreme retains a 31-per-cent interest). He also chairs the board of the public company. Gin is careful to protect the identity of his top-security clients. However, he hints, “many of the world’s wealthy have our equipment. When you want to protect your home, you don’t want to light up your backyard like it’s Fort Knox. We keep pushing the clarity level, raising the bar.” Even at its head office, the company isn’t taking any chances. Guarding its substantial warehouse filled with electronics are numerous cameras on both the exterior and interior of the building, including devices hidden inside light switches. Only a fool would try to break into a closed-circuit-television-camera company’s warehouse. At the back of the production room is a dark room where engineers test their infrared cameras and give outsiders a glimpse of how they work. One example on display is a product that’s able to take clear images of licence plates in a room so dark that you can’t even see your feet. Next, an engineer, Steve, switches on some 2,000-watt bulbs (representing bright headlights) and aims them at the camera. Whereas most lenses would immediately be blinded by the lights, this technology is able to balance out the contrast so the plates can still be read perfectly. Extreme CCTV has more than 125 models of cameras, each serving a specific purpose. The tetrahedral camera, for example, fits snugly into the corners of a room’s walls and is used in prison cells. “The camera can see the entire room in complete darkness. You can’t put a steel broom through it, and you can’t hang anything on it. No one else is doing the prison camera for seclusion cells in prisons,” explains Gin. “We like that because we’re extreme, and that’s our positioning and marketing shtick.” Runners Up: Robert Park When Bob Park and a co-founder first created FinancialCAD Corp. (FINCAD) in 1990, they had no money and no clients and drew funds from a line of credit. The company turned a profit only once in its first 13 years. Then Park took over as president and CEO. “Since then, mainly by building a great team, we have been able to triple sales,” Park says. Today FINCAD’s financial analytics software is used by more than 25,000 professionals in 72 countries. “We’ve done well by staying focused on financial analytics,” Park explains. Douglas Tronsgard The privately owned Yaletown-based Next Level Games Inc. is gaining a reputation for scoring big internationally. The company has created video games for Sony Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo Co. Ltd. Co-founder and CEO Douglas Tronsgard insists we haven’t seen anything yet. “I’m more excited about what’s going to happen five years from now than what’s happening today,” enthuses the 36-year-old. Tronsgard, whose background is in finance, left Black Box Games in 2002 to co-found Next Level Games, which today employs 117 and also has an office in Beijing. Winners:

Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Finalists Slideshow Pt. 1 Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Finalists Slideshow Pt. 2 Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Finalists Slideshow Pt. 3 Entrepreneur of the Year Judges’ Criteria Gala Event Slideshow: EOY 2007 Winner | Category Winners Gala Event: Winner’s Acceptance Speech