Saturday, July 13, 2024

Nova Scotia manufacturer adding Wilmington site

Protocase, a Sydney, Nova Scotia-based manufacturer serving the aerospace industry and other sectors, and its subsidiary 45Drives, a data storage company, are opening an operation in Wilmington.

Co-founder Doug Milburn says the company plans to have about 30 employees in Wilmington in the next year and estimates it will have about 400 workers within five years with a manufacturing site. It makes box-like enclosures that protect electronic components and mounting hardware.

“Our criteria were No. 1, a place that is welcoming for business,” says Milburn. “The other thing is cultural fit, workplace culture, and proximity to customers.”

The privately held company looked at locations as far south as Florida. Wilmington was selected for the company’s ability to hiring workers from UNC Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College and other places, and the nearby military facilities.

“This is another exciting foreign direct investment story for us in Greater Wilmington,” said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development, in a statement. “Global companies continue to be drawn to our geography, workforce, infrastructure and leadership. We are excited about our partnership with Protocase and look forward to supporting their growth in the region for years to come.”

Milburn says opening a U.S. office will decrease the paperwork and cost that some of its customers experience when buying from a Canadian-based company. Protocase, which makes custom parts, works with 19 of the 20 largest aerospace companies, and 45Drives works with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, as well as universities.

“Fully domestic transactions will up our growth,” says Milburn. “Being fully domestic will get rid of that for our customers and our buyers.”

The companies have established offices in downtown Wilmington and have started transplanting some Canadian staff, mainly engineering and design services workers. It plans to hire locally to fill corporate and administrative support roles this summer. The company has four buildings in Nova Scotia.



Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at

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