A week ago, one of Barrie's premier technology companies drew its core customers and founding friends together and lit 40 candles on its birthday cake.

Pavliks.com was born in 1969 as FPA Marketing Group, a fledgling advertising and marketing firm with two skilled entrepreneurs in the drivers seat. Flory and Wilma Pavlik founded FPA because they believed in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Why FPA moved from Brantford to Barrie has its story in an on-sale golf jacket. Flory and Wilma drove from their home (and home office) in Brantford to buy a golf jacket they'd heard about. While they were here, one of Barrie's new developments, the first push to the other side of Highway 400, was in its construction phase... houses were perking up along Daphne Crescent and Wilma and Flory liked Barrie and like what they saw on Daphne Cr. They moved to Barrie; Barrie and FPA have never looked back.

Flory had an advertising background coupled with the tenacity of a semi-pro ski career in Germany and he blended it with Wilma's hospital records and attention to detail as they began to be involved in Barrie's business life in 1970. They were involved politically; they cared intensely for their community. They volunteered. Wilma wrote a popular newspaper column in the forerunner of the Advance, the Barrie Banner.

It was logical when their son Ian could walk that he would also ski. He spent his youth on skis, first Nancy Greene, then more serious efforts as he moved from Snow Valley to Craigleith Ski Club and then to the Ontario team, racing for both World and Europa cups.

While Flory was getting up at 5 am and supporting Ian in his ski racing career, Wilma was doing the same thing for daughter Christa and her figure skating passion.

There was never any intention that the kids would involve themselves in the business. No intention at all. Which is likely why it worked out the way it did.

In the early 90's Ian was skiing all over Canada, the US and Europe, lugging a heavy laptop with him. As keen as he was on speed and skis, his nimble mind loved writing computer programs and solving problems. He started to do that for a few of FPA's customers.

But it wasn't until he took off in the proverbial van, tent and dog to just see Canada that the idea for significant work for FPA started to take shape. He called his dad from Yellowknife; Flory flew out and as they drove back to Barrie, they opened the laptop and hammered out the basic business plan that became Pavliks.com. Christa came on board with her finance and HR interests. Christa's husband Steve took on Operations and Logistics and recently Ian's wife Sarah has created a full time marketing role for the company.

Most strategically, as Ian and Christa stepped forward, Flory and Wilma stepped back. Key strategy.

Now at 40 years, Pavliks.com has 25 employees and strategic alliances with graphic design and web companies, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Symantec and other partners. As they planned their celebrations, they decided to make it a community gift rather than a company party. To that end, last Wednesday night, Pavliks.com hit 40 years and hit the launch button on www.techmakerover.ca

Pavliks is inviting companies, not for profits, charities--big and small--to enter their contest. The winner will receive $50,000 worth of technical makeover services... new logo, marketing material, server, web material, technology, computers, software, the whole works!

Entrants can submit through the website, explaining how this would impact on their business. No applicant is too small or too big, says Ian. What a terrific way to celebrate. To say thanks to the community that has helped them grow for four decades. To gather together the resources of their colleagues and suppliers.

Deadline to apply is the end of June!

Thanks, Pavliks.com! You continue to matter.

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