New Brunswick’s Gaming Sector Gets a Huge Boost: Insights from BMM Testlabs
This week, Opportunities NB (ONB) was pleased to be a part of BMM Testlabs’ announcement of up to 1,000 new positions over the next five years, at its office in Dieppe, New Brunswick. BMM has tested and provided consulting for many of the world’s biggest gaming networks and systems, and has been testing and certifying casino products for over three decades.
The company was honored earlier this year as part of the New Brunswick KIRA Awards, the annual recognition of the province’s Knowledge Industry. BMM came away with the Economic Impact – oNB Award on the strength of its tremendous employment growth in the province.
BMM Testlabs Canada’s Director of Operations, Jean Corriveau, has been instrumental in growing BMM’s New Brunswick-based operations since its arrival in the province just a few short years ago. ONB caught up with Mr. Corriveau to discuss the company’s latest New Brunswick announcement.
ONB: For the benefit of our audience, can you give us a bit more of a background on BMM Testlabs? Specifically where the company began and more on what you do?
Corriveau: BMM Testlabs is the longest established and most experienced private independent gaming certification lab in the world, fully servicing the regulated gaming market. Formed in 1981, in Melbourne, Australia, BMM now operates in 13 global locations, providing testing & certification, regulatory consultancy and field services to customers throughout the world. I am currently Director of Operations for BMM’s Canada office and test lab.
ONB: How long has BMM Testlabs been established in New Brunswick?
Corriveau: BMM was first established in NB in 2011 and I was the first employee – tasked with business development for the Canadian market. In 2014 BMM was looking for a strategic location for a large new test lab; specifically somewhere with a local pool of talented and qualified graduates and engineers. We were looking for a community that wanted to invest in its people, and that was NB.
The growth we have experienced in the last 24 months has been significant not only terms of staffing and space expansion, but also in brand recognition for what we do..
ONB: Obviously with this big announcement today, BMM is displaying a great amount of confidence in New Brunswick’s skilled workforce.
Corriveau: Absolutely. BMM has been working closely with CCNB (Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick) to develop a new curriculum that launched this month. This curriculum provides training and education in the skills that BMM needs right now. This kind of education enables CCNB graduates to be ready to work at BMM in a much shorter time than in a traditional employment situation. Partnerships of this type are incredibly beneficial, not only to the employer and the college, but particularly to the student/new employee who can fast track their career progression from day one.
We hope that programs of this type will help the province to retain high-skilled workers. Software testers are one of the top 10 in-demand jobs this year, according to Fortune.
ONB: That’s great to hear. So what roles do you see being part of this workforce expansion? Is it mainly positions on the technical side, or will there be other areas expanded on as well, such as sales?
Corriveau: The majority of the new roles BMM is creating will be test engineers, but we will also employ project managers, HR, support and administrative roles.
ONB: Let’s touch on your own background. Are you from New Brunswick originally?
Corriveau: I’m from Edmundston, New Brunswick.
ONB: But you’ve left to work elsewhere, is that correct?
Corriveau: In 2007 I actually worked for BMM as a tester at the Las Vegas location. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed the company culture at BMM, but when my contract ended I decided to move back home. I love what New Brunswick has to offer, and that’s why I came back. As you can imagine, I was really pleased to have BMM look me up a few years later. Being able to return to BMM as we establish this presence in New Brunswick has been an incredible opportunity for me.
ONB: It’s safe to assume other regions were vying for these positions as part of this announcement. Why New Brunswick? Why has the province become such a key location for BMM in North America?
Corriveau: BMM undertook a very formal review and selection process over 12 months to establish this key engineering growth centre. Firstly, we reviewed all of BMM’s existing locations around the world. We came to the conclusion that whilst we had some productive opportunities, these operations were either too remote from North America or didn’t have the best cultural fit required to service the North American market. They were strong local market performers. Secondly, we identified key states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada that could be a partner for such a collaborative endeavour. After exhaustively reviewing seven possible locations we chose New Brunswick. New Brunswick is a hub for engineering talent. It is committed to new technology industries. It has a strong background in gaming and lottery. It has provincial leadership that is committed to the growth and future of New Brunswick. And BMM is the perfect company to collaborate and partner with New Brunswick to realize our shared goals. Based on my experience with our initial key projects here in the province, I believe that the quality of the work and the opportunity for growth here are both tremendous. BMM intends to build on that momentum.
ONB: You’ve been a huge champion for New Brunswick throughout your BMM tenure. We think you’d agree that New Brunswick offers a great quality of life. Is that a safe assumption?
Corriveau: I would describe life in New Brunswick as well-balanced. That’s the main reason I decided to come back, and certainly why I continue to advocate for the province. NB has a lot to offer as far as work-life balance. I’m fifteen minutes from a great beach. I like boating and I’m just three hours away from terrific fishing and hunting. Yes, winters are snowy, but that can be a great thing for an outdoorsy type. If you like snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding this is the perfect place for you. The community is lovely and pace of life just right. All in all, NB is a great place to work, live and raise a family.
ONB: You’ve been a great advocate for New Brunswick internally. We noted that you’ve really helped push BMM to expand on their New Brunswick operations, is that accurate?
Corriveau: BMM’s senior management have visited NB many times, and they really enjoy the people and the culture here. And the owner, President and CEO Martin Storm is a strong advocate for selective partnership and transformation. He believes that you can change a group, a team, a company, a community, a state or province, a nation and the world by total commitment to a worthy cause and being relentlessly persistent. He wants to change the world of gaming testing in partnership with the community of New Brunswick. Together, with his leadership and the Premier’s, we will all align to achieve this over the next 3-5 years.
ONB: And this is management from Australia?
Corriveau: BMM is truly a global company. It’s owner, President and CEO, Martin Storm is Australian but works between the U.S and Australia. He has played a critical role in setting the vision and tone for the relationship from BMM’s perspective with ONB and is currently here for the announcement. Also present are Travis Foley, EVP Operations BMM Americas; Wendy Anderson, Chief of Staff for BMM International – who are both based in Las Vegas; and Linda Lemieux – SVP, QA Testing who is based in Canada.
ONB: What role has Opportunities NB played in BMM’s New Brunswick operations thus far?
Corriveau: ONB was instrumental in attracting BMM here initially. We were impressed with the level of interest, effort and support that was provided. In establishing a new regional office we had a great many questions and ONB was able to assist us. The ONB investment team were able to ensure that NB’s offer was specifically tailored to BMM Testlabs’ needs and that it was aligned with New Brunswick’s vision for itself.
ONB: Let’s wrap up with what’s next for BMM now that this announcement has been made official?
Corriveau: There are plenty of opportunities and challenges ahead for BMM. We intend to build something extraordinary here in Moncton. A number of our customers are moving aspects of their work over here requiring us to grow our staffing and infrastructure. So we are looking for enthusiastic and skilled staff to join us. We are also looking forward to working with the local community and the province. It’s an exciting time for us all!