Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI), located on River Road in Portage la Prairie, will be closing its doors at the end of July.

The consulting firm specializes in agriculture, mining and transportation, with several unique pieces of test equipment. They're able to test the limits of what can mechanically be done by a piece of equipment. 

President and CEO Leah Olson outlines what brought about the closure.

"We had seven consecutive deficits and posted our first surplus in 2020/2021," explains Olson. "We are looking at our business model and needing to change how we operate. After much consideration, management, with the support of our Board of Directors, but also with the support of other key stakeholders, decided to consolidate our physical footprints and fundamentally change how we collaborate and provide service to clients."

Olson notes they're excited to continue to offer services to organizations based in Manitoba. 

"The majority of our team is going to be co-located with other industry leaders in Winnipeg, Portage and also Brandon," continues Olson. "We're so excited to see how that will involve relationships, not only with those stakeholders, but also for those in the agriculture, mining and transportation industries."

She explains they notified their employees first, seeing as the change impacts them most directly. 

"We've also let our clients know that the testing services and mechanical testing services will cease to be offered out of the Portage location at the end of July," says Olson. "There are two roles that are being terminated as a result of this decision, and those two roles will be terminated at the end of August."

Olson adds this gives their employees and clients time to adapt, stressing it's all about changing how they operate to continue to be able to provide valuable services to their clients. 

"The one employee that works out of the Portage office is being co-located with another industry partner in Portage la Prairie," continues Olson. "That won't change that individual's commute to work. The building and land are being sold."

She says PAMI is making a unique step with this move, acknowledging it's a definite change in how they operate. 

"We did some market research earlier this year," adds Olson. "We had Nanos Research talk to our clients and help us understand what our clients value, and where do we help them. That was a key piece of work for us to know that we do have clients that really enjoy doing work with us and that we do add value to them. So, the question for the management team and organization as a whole really became; how do we focus on what we did really well, and what do we need to change to be able to function and to continue being able to provide these services?"

Olson says it was a decision made after much consideration and one in which the majority of their Manitoba team will remain in province, which is important to them.

"We employ a lot of engineers, technologists; people that are highly skilled and specialized," notes Olson. "When clients come to us, they typically come to us because they need an extra hand in terms of engineering, but because we also have the ability to weld and fabricate. It makes us a one-stop-shop for them. What we found out through the market research is that clients really valued that one-stop-shop,. Throughout the pandemic, what we found was that our team, many of them, were working from home. There's a couple of roles that can't work from home because they're dependent on the physical test equipment."

She adds, for the most part, that enabled them to offer their services and realize opportunities with their own team, seeing as it didn't really matter where their team was located.

"What mattered most was being able to access the skills and talk to each other," continues Olson. "If we look to the future of PAMI, we're very excited to be able to co-locate our team with others in the industry, because we see great potential in terms of being able to do that, as do they."

PAMI's head office is in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.