Jacques-Alexandre Fortin, vice president of Rackam Inc., spent the week of February 15th in Sacramento, California building and strengthening business partnerships. He attended the Food Processing Expo 2016, a tradeshow which gathered 260 exhibitors specializing in processing techniques and 2,000 visitors from the world of Californian food processing. During this business trip, Jacques-Alexandre was able to promote Rackam's solar concentration technologies as they apply to the production of industrial process heat to the Californian industrialists of food processing.
Jacques-Alexandre Fortin, tell me about your return from California. Did it go well?
Yes, it went well - far beyond our expectations! My mission in California was to strengthen partnerships for distribution and representation. But this trip to Sacramento allowed us to significantly increase our potential customer portfolio. We expect several contracts for Rackam as a direct result of this business trip. We are also expecting an imminent signing of a demonstration project in the South-western United States.
You attended this very tradeshow last year without it being such a success. How would you then explain this year's craze for Rackam and its business solutions in California this year?
We developed partnerships at a distance throughout the past year, but by meeting those people in person, we developed trust within those relationships.
Last year, we also did not have local partners. Our technology interested people, but that was as far as it went.
This year we have several well-known active partners in the US, with whom we have good, solid and trusting relationships; a fact which gives us a lot more credibility. Our partners are the ones who sell the project to the client and also coordinate the integration and installation. Meanwhile, we focus on production and solar engineering. I attended the salon as a technical collaborator of one of our Californian partners, and there was considerable interest in Rackam. Our distribution and representation partnerships will allow us to greatly increase our production and strengthen our position in the Californian market. Also, the market is ripe for solar concentration technologies. The California Solar Initiative (CSI) now allows the subsidization of the installation of solar concentration related solutions, and customers know it. In addition, restrictive legislative measures have been taken by the State of California to limit the emission of greenhouse gas as of 2020 and consequently companies are preparing for that. As a result, this is excellent timing for Rackam.
The parabolic solar concentration applied to industrial process heat therefore has a bright future in California, particularly for the food processing industry?
California, in addition to being a major agricultural producer, is a major player in the global market for food processing. The enormous solar potential of the region, which is already beneficial to agriculture, is also very suitable for solar concentration applied to industries. Rackam has already demonstrated that its technology is perfectly suited to the food processing industry with projects such as that of the Chagnon Dairy in Quebec and the potato chip factory Papes Safor in Spain. In California, Rackam will increasingly rely on a pioneering environmental sensitivity. In addition to incentive legislative measures, it is clear that California is a very promising market for Rackam in the very near future.
Technically, we have received a lot of interest for the production of steam in general as well as for its integration into all stages of processes. In addition, a very promising new application for which we offer potential solutions is the treatment of water, both in regards to wastewater and to desalination. This need is particularly relevant in California, where environmental pressure for water management has now become a critical issue.