Motorola sets up shop in Kitchener-Waterloo

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Mere days had passed since BlackBerry Ltd. announced mass layoffs when Google-owned Motorola Mobil declared that they would be opening up a new engineering office in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

The announcement came last week of major changes reported at BlackBerry, which is now operating under new ownership. Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, also recently stated his intentions to open up a Canadian office for his new company, Square.

This timely influx of tech companies into Waterloo Region raises questions about whether intentions are to absorb laid off BlackBerry workers.

However, according to Derek Phillips, the engineering director at Motorola Canada, this decision came from other motivations.

“We saw a lot of opportunity to hire people straight out of university,” he said.

“You know that when you’re starting at a small office and you’re wanting to grow larger, one of the best ways to do that is thinking long-term,” Phillips elaborated. “And that includes hiring a lot of people who are relatively new and are looking at opportunities to grow.”

Phillips referenced the Waterloo as “the best place” to generally grow a business, referring to its stellar university programs and lots of start-ups.

And according to Phillips, the plan to move to Waterloo Region was already months in the works before news of BlackBerry’s recent changes were revealed.

When asked about whether Motorola was planning on absorbing laid off BlackBerry employees, he asserted that the Google-owned company would be willing to consider any qualified applicant regardless of their previous employer.

“Some workers will come straight out of university and others will have worked at other companies and have lots of experience already,” he said. “As long as we can get people to come in and interview, then we’d love to hire them.”

Phillips also mentioned that Motorola is especially looking to hire software engineers, as the new office will be predominantly engineering-heavy.

“We’re ready to hire and are looking to grow for people primarily in software engineering,” he said. “Mainly people who are programmers, developers, people who are closer to hardware.”

The new Kitchener-Waterloo office has already set up camp in the Breithaupt block in downtown Kitchener, walking distance to Google’s current location in the Tannery Building.

Motorola is already open for business and is looking to hire immediately.

With the new office only a ten-minute drive from BlackBerry’s global headquarters, this may be not only a good move for Motorola, but a salvation for the unemployed.

“We want a real balance,” Phillips said. “And we’re certainly willing to look at people interested in working for us.”

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