Amos Friling (above) and his family moved to Quispamsis in 2015, and he got right down to work, opening QPROS – a Canadian location for an Israel-based software company, in Brick Park. We chatted with him about what moving to Saint John meant for him and his businesses.
Can you tell me a little bit about your company?
QPROS simplifies SAP (Systems, Applications and Products). We take this enormous and complex system, being used by more than 80% of the Forbes fortune 2000 companies, and make it simple for the users and the supporting IT.
The company was started by my partner in 2004, when he left his job as an R&D manager at SAP and opened a consulting company Dicomano, named after a beautiful village in Italy.
Over the years, he and his partners identified the same pain point with all of their customers, and he decided to establish a software company to create products that would help solve these problems. They named the company Dicomano Products, or DPROS. In 2017, we established QPROS, (a shortened version of Quispamsis Products) named after the beautiful town of Quispamsis.
Can you speak to the strength of the workforce in Saint John?
My family and I arrived at Quispamsis from Israel in August of 2015. We had a company that provided consulting to large companies in Israel, and we’ve continued to grow it here. During these two years, I have encountered and had the pleasure to meet many people on the IT and business community of Saint John. I think that the willingness to help and help with networking is something exceptional to this area.
Why move to Saint John, over another Canadian city?
My family and I were accepted via the Jewish Community provincial program, but we come from a small town in Israel (Kibbutz Magal), and we were looking for a small community rather than one of the big cities. We felt at home in Saint John.
What has been one of the best lessons you’ve learned about opening an office in Saint John?
In Israel everything is hectic, and nothing can be taken for granted. That way of life makes people extremely agile and adaptable but like everything in life, it has a price, and in Israel, the price is lack of strategic thinking. In Canada, I’ve learned the value and power of strategic and long-term thinking.
What would you say to other companies looking to establish a presence in Canada – to make them choose Saint John above another spot? What sets this city/location apart?
That’s an excellent question that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. I think that the two greatest values that you have here are the people and nature. Companies are made of people, and there’s got to be a win-win-win for the city, the company, and individual involved. For someone looking to raise a family in one of the most beautiful places on earth; for someone who loves nature, this could be the perfect place. For a company, the low cost of living (aided by some incentives from the government) provides added value, as well as being located close to the United States. The benefit for the city, is that it gets more people, more business, a more skilled workforce.
In your time working/visiting Saint John – can you speak about the network of people you’ve met who are doing interesting things within the cluster? Has anyone stood out? Do you foresee any potential partnerships or cross-pollination opportunities?
Wow. That’s a big one. Here are a list people who I’ve had the pleasure to talk and helped me along the way in the business (there are many others who helped us in our private lives, or even helped me with the business without even knowing it – and we owe them a lot): Bill Thompson, Bruno Lafont and Jonathan Dunnett, Jeff Keith and Fred Bullock, Dan Elman, Armand Iratunga and Chris Weir, Dave Grebenc and Marc Coffin, John Swan, Curtis Howe, Nestor Gomez, Janet Scott and Rahul Chaku, Bernadette Fernandes, Tracey Keleher, and Arthur Melanson.