Axon Engineering Inc.
Peter Trifonidis has channeled his entrepreneurial spirit into two separate, successful companies, both recently new to the Canadian business landscape and both successful in their own developments.
In 2007, Trifonidis guided his background in mechanical and electrical engineering to begin Axon Engineering, a full service mechanical and electrical engineering consulting firm.
It was one of the initial projects of Axon Engineering that would lead Trifonidis to start up his second company, Robust Roasters, the following year, in 2008.
Approached by a coffee company that needed a recently purchased coffee roaster to be reengineered, Axon Engineering redesigned the electrical and gas components of the roaster so it could be installed in Canada. As Trifonidis detailed, “We modified the roaster to meet Canadian safety standards and, because of this project, we were asked if we were interested in becoming a distributor by the manufacturer of the coffee roasting equipment. The company was selling its equipment in Canada but had no one to provide technical support. We could offer both sales and the technical service and thus Robust Roasters was born.”
Robust Roasters is a specialized company that designs and builds coffee and nut roasting plants. Engineering systems specific to coffee and nuts, Robust Roasters laid the groundwork in its first year of operation, attending trade shows across Canada and the United States with the mindset of preparing for future growth. This focus on marketing saw Robust Roasters become involved with two large plant projects in its second and third year of operations, in both Canada (Mississauga, Ont.) and the United States (Detroit, Mich.). Interestingly enough, that same year saw Robust Roasters conduct business as far away as India, where the company developed a pistachio nut roasting plant for an internationally renowned nut roasting company.
Trifonidis attributes the successful commissioning of these projects, and the ability of Robust Roasters to provide viable, turn-key solutions to any coffee or nut roasting plant as a reason why the company was able to establish itself and become recognized in the coffee and food processing industry in North America.
“We provide complete design and technical support; we are not just sales agents,” Trifonidis summarized. “We sell it, we design it, we install it, we commission it, we service it, and we train the client, so we provide the whole package. We are engineers and technicians so we offer a full service.”
Looking toward the future, Robust Roasters strives to grow its educational training courses already offered, extending industry knowledge to both experienced and new coffee and nut roasters alike.
Trifonidis would like to continue to grow his two organizations, yet recognizes that Axon Engineering is the foundation to its sister company Robust Roasters, as Trifonidis stated, “Without the engineering and technical service, Robust Roasters would not offer anything different compared to other sales distributors, so that’s what sets us apart.”
Axon Engineering prides itself on its commitment to one-on-one personalized service and support as a boutique engineering firm that focuses on its clients, a factor often lost with larger conglomerates. Trifonidis is not afraid of the competition. He noted something a client said to him once, “We don’t want to be the small client to the big consultant; we want to be the big client to the small consultant. I am always accessible to my clients. We don’t want to become an engineering firm that doesn’t tend to its clients’ needs. If there are problems, we want to solve them and not avoid them. We’re there to support our clients from start to finish. It is this mission which makes Axon Engineering successful.”
Another contributing advantage to Axon Engineering’s success is, as Trifonidis explained, “As a boutique engineering firm, we also offer both mechanical and electrical design services – many other firms only offer one discipline. Mechanical and electrical engineering go hand-in-hand.”
Client projects include everything from custom-built homes, to places of worship, to restaurants (EggSmart, Crabby Joe’s, and Coffee Culture). Axon Engineering is also often involved in projects across the commercial and industrial sectors. The company is excited about a recent arrangement with BVD Petroleum, an oil and gas company that will be building gas stations across Ontario, while Axon Engineering will be involved with two of its projects in Brampton and North Bay, Ont.
Born in a time of economic uncertainty, the two organizations have yet to witness the industry “hey days”, yet considering what has been achieved thus far, both Axon Engineering and Robust Roasters are seeing “robust” business growth escalate.
“Axon Engineering and Robust Roasters are very different companies but at the same time we use the same knowledge,” commented Trifonidis on his two startups. Trifonidis highlighted his technical background, and his family roots in mechanical electrical engineering and the construction industry, as the necessary practical experience required to initiate Axon Engineering and Robust Roasters. “I am not afraid to try new things and challenge myself with different projects. I took on Robust Roasters because it was something new and interesting and because I did it successfully I was able to start a company.”