A Strong First Impression

A world of opportunity awaits Fredericton business LuminUltra, but there’s no substitute for in-person connection

Pat Whalen, CEO LuminUltraIt’s been a record year for LuminUltra, driven largely by the company’s rapid development of a range of COVID-19 testing solutions for clinical use, surfaces and wastewater — and as a key supplier of COVID-19 clinical testing reagents to the Government of Canada.

Pat Whalen and his team at LuminUltra have accomplished a lot from a distance during COVID-19, but the CEO of the Fredericton-based biological diagnostic testing company is definitely looking forward to flying again.

“There’s something lost in that translation,” says Pat, of replacing in-person business meetings with video conferencing, phone and email. “So YFC reopening is going to be very important to us. Being able to get out and see those customers and have them visit is going to be exponentially more important than it was before.”

Along with dramatically–and quickly–expanding its state-of-the-art manufacturing capacity in Fredericton, the LuminUltra team has more than doubled, from 70 to around 150 people. While most employees are in Fredericton, others are based elsewhere Canada, the U.S. and even Europe and Australia.

Before the pandemic, Pat and some of his colleagues were very frequent flyers, travelling the world to connect face-to-face with new staff, clients and partners.

“I was very familiar with doing business in person, and I’ve got a sales team of 30 people that are used to doing the same sort of thing,” Pat says. “It was a challenge for us not to be able to go where our customers are and where the opportunities are.”

On a recent tour of YFC’s renovated new terminal, Pat was impressed by the size of the renovated building, and the modern design.

“The degree of natural light, open spaces and just the overall footprint is beautiful,” he says.

For LuminUltra, a modern, convenient local airport is a key element to business success.

“If we have business partners and customers that are coming into Fredericton, then their first observation is the airport,” Pat says. “It’s important to us that they get a positive first impression, which then starts the relationship off in a great way.”

YFC New Check-In Hall