BY RYAN WELLICOME
Smoky Trout Farm Limited’s successful integration of the Google Apps for Work cloud platform into their business has turned heads at the tech giant.
Located approximately 22 minutes northwest of Red Deer, Smoky Trout Farm Limited is a family business that specializes in breeding and selling rainbow trout for pond and lake stock in addition to sustainable water management systems.
The business began using Google Apps for Work in order to take some of the load off and the business successfully transitioned.
So successfully, in fact, that Google decided to create a video for its YouTube channel showcasing the business’s story.
“I gave (Google) a good (customer service) review and they came back and said, ‘You guys sound like your business is interesting, we would be interested in featuring you guys on our YouTube channel’,” said business development manager Ray Menard. “Really, what appealed to them was the sustainability that we sell.”
Google then flew out two representatives from New York along with two videographers from Calgary to create the ad over two days using hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of video equipment.
“We were pretty shocked when they, A – first approached us and B – were willing to fly people here,” said Menard. “They really went out of their way to make it happen.”
Smoky Trout Farm has joined the ranks of companies and organizations like the appliance manufacturer Whirlpool and National Geographic as a Google Apps success story on the YouTube page.
“It was really interesting to us that a company like Google would say, ‘Hey, lets take this small Alberta fish farm and say these are people that we want to show that we work with,” said Menard.
Google Apps for Work are cloud-based business tools that allow collaboration and communication between employees and business owners at a fast, accessible level.
Some of the tools include Gmail, Drive, Docs and Calendar where data is all stored in the cloud and can be accessed remotely from numerous devices, eliminating the need for physical storage.
Smoky Trout Farms Ltd. began, primarily, as a trout farm that would sell fish stock to customers to stock their ponds and lakes.
Since its beginning in 1998, the business has grown to incorporate sustainable water management systems as well.
“We started off as just a trout supplier for the pond stocking market, and about four or five years into that we started running into water quality issues with our customers and so that led us down the line of starting to provide aeration systems and other products to manage the water quality,” said owner and aeration designer Max Menard. “Now the (water quality) product is generating more revenue than the fish for us.”
Smoky Trout Farm’s customers would purchase fish and release them into their water, but, come winter, the water, without being aerated, would become toxic to the fish and the customer’s stock would die.
This led the company to create aeration systems that would allow the customer’s fish stock to grow in number and size over multiple years instead of replenishing every spring.
Pond aeration is the process of increasing the oxygen saturation of a body of water.
This is done by infusing air into the bottom of the body of water or by agitating the surface using a fountain or a releasing air under the surface and letting it rise. This process allows the release of noxious gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sulfide.
When a lake or pond’s oxygen levels become low it severely decreases its capacity to support life.
They also supplies stock to the Len Thompson Trout Pond in Lacombe and participate in the Lacombe Fish and Game Association’s Youth Fishing Day where a truck full of trout is brought in and children in the community participate in releasing the stock.
“We usually have about 100 kids lined up at the back of the truck and we give them one bucket at a time with fish,” said Ray. “A lot of these kids have never caught a little fish before let alone seen a rainbow trout that’s 12 pounds.”
Along with Lacombe projects, they also work with the City of Edmonton on wastewater management and efficiency projects.
The video can be seen on the ‘about’ page<span class="Appl