Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Payworks one of nation's top firms in tech sector

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THE Winnipeg payroll and human resource management services company Payworks is the first local company in three years to crack the list of the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the country.Payworks was formed in 2001 by Barb Gamey and a couple of business partners after Ceridian and ADP consolidated the payroll services business in Canada by buying up the banks' payroll business.

She said the initital intention was that Payworks would target the small-business sector, but her first customer was a company with 135 employees.

"That business plan went out the window and since then we have been growing our business across the country and in every sector," Gamey said.

Payworks ranked 32nd on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list, growing by 508 per cent over the last five years. There have only been five other Manitoba companies who made it onto the list in the last 10 years.

Gamey said the company does not divulge sales figures, but to be eligible for inclusion sales must have been at least $5 million in 2008.

The companies on the list must also have been in business for at least five years, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology and invest at least five per cent of annual gross revenue in research and development.

Gamey learned the business as the sales and marketing vice-president for 15 years at Comcheq, the Winnipeg-based payroll company that was sold in the early 1990s to CIBC.

One of her partners is John Loewen, whose family owned Comcheq.

Payworks employs about 100 people with a national sales force of 23 people.

It started as an alternative to the large multinational service providers, but did not scrimp on innovation along the way.

While not necessarily a technology company, the payroll and human resource management business is increasingly technology driven.

As such, Payworks decided to use only proprietary technology rather than outsourcing solutions.

"This is a very conservative industry with information that is very personal and very confidential," she said.

"But companies are looking to get information in employees' hands more efficiently."

Payworks has developed a self-service platform where employees can access their payroll information online and is always looking to upgrade the service offering.

"We're working on a mobile application where companies will able to do their payroll business on their BlackBerry," Gamey said.

John Ruffolo, national leader of Deloitte's technology, media and telecommunications industry group, said, "Payworks is an example of the determination, drive and skill that will serve to position them for further growth and success as the economic recovery takes hold."

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 6, 2009 B3

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