Best Managed Companies 2021

Eddyfi/NDT

This company is pushing science to the next level

Headquartered in Quebec City, Eddyfi/NDT is a private test-and-measurement-technology group with a focus on non-destructive testing (NDT), which is used to inspect and evaluate industrial-infrastructure materials and systems for defects and irregularities without doing any damage in the process. As the company’s mission statement reads, Eddyfi/NDT is in the business of “health-care diagnostics for the industrial world.”

When the company was formed in 2009, co-founder Martin Thériault’s goal was to develop an enhanced eddy current array (ECA) technology, a form of NDT that would allow for faster inspections and easier analysis than was possible with standard NDT tools at the time. ECA can be used, for example, to assess heat-exchanger-tubing defects or for detecting cracks in stainless-steel materials. Initially working with the nuclear and power-generation industries, the company expanded to serve the oil and gas, aerospace and transportation markets, among others. Today, it offers one of the most advanced ECA systems commercially available, and its portfolio of NDT instruments includes everything from sensors to robotic solutions.

“The objective has always been to push science to the next level in our field and, through that, advance the causes of our clients and allow them to be more successful in their fields,” says Thériault, who holds the title of chairman and CEO. “We kept this same vision from the start until now, a decade and eight acquisitions later.” With more than 1,000 employees and 25 offices around the world, Eddyfi/NDT is now a huge operation.

Thériault credits the company’s success to listening to its customers — a group that includes General Electric, SpaceX and ExxonMobil. “About 80 per cent of our growth, innovation and ideas comes from our clients,” he says. “They have all sorts of challenges and, very often, they’re very big challenges. Because we’ve been proven to be an advanced-solutions vendor, they keep coming to us, which has actually been a great way to fuel our innovation.”

A month before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, the company made two major acquisitions: Ireland-based NDT Global and Norway-based Halfwave, both developers and suppliers of pipeline-inspection technology. While the pandemic led to increased production costs and delays, and Thériault admits that the acquisitions felt “crazy” at the time, in retrospect, he says, “we did the right thing to acquire these companies.” As an essential service, Eddyfi/NDT continued to operate during the pandemic. With growth and demand on the up, as well as new timelines and costs to consider, the entire team worked remotely to develop a strategy for maintaining a focus on the customer while keeping an eye on emerging technologies that could be useful in an increasingly contactless world.