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The electronics manufacturing entrepreneur

Jarred Knecht, BComm 07, MBA 11
November 6, 2023
By Samantha Rideout, GrDip 10

Portrait of a smiling man with close-cropped brown hair and a beard wearing a business suit.

Jarred Knecht is the president of Promark Electronics, which began as a family business in 1987. Thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit, it’s thriving in 2023.

The company, which engineers and manufactures custom wire harnesses, had historically served industrial sectors, but in the last ten years has expanded its focus into areas such as aerospace, medical devices and defence. Most notably, with Knecht at the helm, it has entered the burgeoning electric vehicle industry and become a division of the large multinational wire-harness leader Electrical Components International.

“We work on engineering and manufacturing with companies who are electrifying school buses, portable energy storage and everything in between: any products that are not a passenger car,” Knecht explains. “This includes trucks, buses, farming equipment and aircraft. We’re even working on the first electric mining vehicles. What’s really exciting is that all these applications for electric technology are just getting started.”

Career advice

“Get a great base from a post-secondary education: don’t skip that step. It teaches you a lot beyond just the topic at hand. It also trains you in soft skills, and how to learn new things quickly.”

Looking ahead

“I’m always telling my team to think about what manufacturing — and the businesses of the world in general — might look like in the next 10, 20 or 30 years. I remember the time when there was no internet and my father had a giant brick of a cell phone. To see where we are now blows my mind. To me, it’s important to contribute to the future. That includes helping to create a greener economy with fewer emissions.”

On embracing technology

“We recently built an AI software, KonnectAi, that uses cameras to inspect our products, determine their quality, trace them and log them — all automatically. Small- and medium-sized businesses need to lean into creative ways of using technology so they don’t get left behind. We don’t want to lose all the great companies we have in North America that are led by families or founders. The fact that we’re based in Quebec and doing some manufacturing here — not all in China or Mexico — is partly because we take those leaps.”

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