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- Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

What's the travel time between Owen Sound and the United Arab Emirates?
We may well be finding out soon as Wil McReynolds of KP9 Interactive collaborates on a project with the Museum of the Future in Dubai.

Toronto's MetaVRse has recently acquired Owen Sound's KP9 Interactive and is one of fifteen companies that have been selected to develop and pitch their visitor interaction technologies to the Museum. MetaVRse has some other projects lined up in Los Angeles and China.

Wil and his partner April Robinson worked in marketing and advertising in the area when they met. They have been fighting to stay here in Owen Sound near their families, but admit there have been challenges. Wil and his colleagues in tech know that communities as close as Hanover can provide the upload speeds they need – five times what Owen Sound can provide- at one-third the cost. They think the MetaVRse deal may prove what can be done in this city.
“KP9 is a true tech company,” says Wil. He and April want to grow the sector and employ and retain youth in the area. They like to call our future SilicOwen Sound.

Currently KP9 is a team of seven, all working on innovation. Some work is accomplished by partnering with other companies that provide complementary services, but as Wil says “you can't outsource innovation”.
April has been working full time at the firm since July. She is now doing international sales as well as “all the things Wil doesn't need to do” - payroll, HR, accounting.

For years Wil has had co-op students from local high schools, girls and boys, adding St. Mary's for the first time this year.
“I want to hear about their interests and help them along a career path”, he says, noting that students sometimes come to learn kp9coding and discover a real passion in innovation.
He has hired a number of his former co-op students who have gone on to different universities to study, to work for the firm remotely.

One of KP9's staff members was working at a golf course after graduation, unable to find a suitable job in his field. In his early 20s, he is already settling in to Owen Sound, calling it “one of the best places to live in Canada”.
“I can't believe I get to call this my job,” he says, but admits he would have to move if this job were not here.

 

Wil McReynolds himself is a spatial thinker with Asperger syndrome. The culture of diversity and accommodation in his business is obvious. He is currently looking for programmers and welcomes anyone with the skill set, including those on the autism spectrum.

KP9 is located in the heart of downtown Owen Sound, in one of our oldest buildings on our earliest transportation routes – the Sydenham River at the harbour.
They are proud to be at the intersection of our past and our future.


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