Moncton’s Fiddlehead Technology employs big data analysis to revolutionize food and beverage supply chains and help the world produce better food with less waste.
One of the keys to the company’s success was an early relationship with New Brunswick’s McCain Foods, which became Fiddlehead’s first major client. Earlier this year, the New Brunswick-based frozen food giant acquired a significant minority share of Fiddlehead, making their company and Fiddlehead Co-Founder and CEO Shawn Carver the only remaining shareholders.
ONB spoke to Carver to learn more about the company’s plans for 2021.
ONB: What does the McCain announcement from February mean for the company?
Carver: McCain was Fiddlehead’s founding customer and we’ve worked with them for over six years now. We began with forecasting work and have since added more bespoke data science projects. Their investment is further validation of our solutions and means we can continue to grow the business and our team. It was exciting news for us. Over the next 12 to 18 months we expect to double our staff and I look forward to working with more great talent.
Speaking of which, you’ve had success hiring international talent, tell us about that.
We have several international hires, in fact. One of our first hires, a senior engineer, is from China. He’s been an outstanding part of the team for five years now. One of our senior data scientists is originally from Iran and came to us by way of Malaysia. He was employed in data science overseas and wanted to make the move to this country. We were excited to be his first job in Canada and to welcome him and his family to New Brunswick.
In December we welcomed a new data engineer from São Paulo, Brazil. He has done a great job working with the team despite not meeting all his colleagues in person yet due to COVID-19.
We continue to look at talent from here at home and abroad, including one great recent candidate from Algeria.
What roles is Fiddlehead looking to fill in Moncton?
Data scientist is a key role, and we’re looking for talent with a background in things like applied mathematics or statistics. That could be in any field from physics to bioinformatics to actuarial science. Next, we’re looking at computer science skills such as proficiency with programming languages like Python. Finally, we want people with the ability to tell a good story. That’s important for our data scientists, being able to connect the dots for business stakeholders.
Then there is the Data engineer. These are the people that get data from our clients’ systems into our systems so that the analysis can happen and then get it back to the clients. They build the pipelines that move the data around, essentially. For those roles, we’re looking for a computer science background with proficiency in data modeling and architecture, schema design, databases, etc.
What does your recruitment strategy entail? What organizations have you engaged for help?
We leverage every great resource the province has to offer. Whether it’s working with the ONB team or PETL or the universities and community colleges. The truth is that the skill sets we’re looking for are both in high demand and difficult to come by, so we can’t afford to limit our scope or wait for the right candidate to find us.
We’ve been directly involved in helping one hire move to Canada as their first employer and that process went quite smoothly. There are plenty of resources for New Brunswick employers to avail themselves of, and plenty of people willing to help. ONB for example has helped us not only with recruiting and travel to key conferences but with financial support. That has helped somewhat de-risk the hiring of international talent from overseas, which is crucial.
McCain Foods have also helped us source talent using their own impressive network and recruitment strategies. They are an excellent resource for this province; the Global Technology Centre they have built in Florenceville-Bristol is truly amazing. What they have accomplished in terms of bringing great talent from around the world to that region is a huge feather in their cap and in the province’s. And again, thanks to their faith in us, Fiddlehead will be bringing more skilled talent to the Moncton region.
Update – June 2021: Fiddlehead will take part in the upcoming “Get to Know” webinar presented by 3+ Corporation and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, where companies can discuss HR concerns (including international talent recruitment) and get to know more about the services provided by ONB and Working NB. “At a rapidly growing startup, taking advantage of international recruiting seemed complex and unattainable,” notes Matt Shaw, Fiddlehead’s VP of Engineering. “With ONB Immigration’s hands-on guidance we were able to easily navigate the process and make two key hires very quickly. These individuals will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience not only to Fiddlehead but to the region in general.”
Register for the webinar, taking place June 16 from 8:30 am to 10:00 am, here.
Visit Fiddlehead’s careers page for current opportunities.
If your company is interested in hiring international talent, contact ONB Client Engagement Specialist Kim Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.