Tri-Gen Construction Ltd.
Tri-Gen Construction Ltd. (TGC) is a third-generation family business. Peter Szmyrko founded the business in 1972 with the goal of offering results-driven services to Alberta’s oil industry; his philosophy has been passed down through the generations: work hard, meet commitments and deliver results on time and on budget.
Peter has always loved the outdoors; a passion shared by all three generations and reflected in the company’s operations today. Peter’s son, Garry Szmyrko, purchased the company in 1990 and spent the next 20 years building a solid foundation. Peter’s grandchildren, Allen Szmyrko, Kevin Szmyrko and Allison Germain, now own and operate the company together.
“Our father took over the company from our grandfather and we purchased it from him in 2010,” Allen elaborates. “We grew up in the industry. I’ve been with the company full time for about 11 years, but I probably started when I was 12 years old. I worked in the shop or running equipment over the summers as a kid.”
A Diverse Market Share
While TGC has a history in oilfield construction services, the team has been branching out in recent years. “We have entered the civil market, doing roads and government contracts,” Allen explains. “Our oilfield customers include some of the largest E&P companies in Canada. Our civil work is often awarded by municipalities or the government of Alberta.”
With two offices Alberta, the company currently employs as many as 250 people in the peak season. TGC’s head office is in Boyle, Alberta, with a second in Fort McMurray. The two locations allow the company to serve central and northern Alberta, where the oil industry is expanding rapidly, as well as the surrounding towns that are experiencing growth in relation to the industry. TGC has found a strong niche in these markets and is working to build a third location that will allow the company better access to sites and clients.
The TGC team has been involved in a number of challenging projects for both of the company’s primary markets. Recently TGC upgraded 20 kilometers of the Chinchaga Forestry Road near Manning, Alberta, and performed cell expansions and landfill expansions for the Fort McMurray municipality. TGC is breaking further into the civil market, currently involved with twinning work on Highway 63.
With the company’s oilfield clients, TGC is a preferred contractor in the Fort McMurray area. “We’ve done several steam-assisted gravity drainage [SAGD] drilling pads,” Allen explains. “When the oil companies go out to access resources in the oil sands, we build large pads in the muskeg for the client’s process equipment. The oil producer will drill 20-40 well pairs for each pad. The company injects steam through one well and recovers oil through the other. The SAGD pads are always a highlight for me, as my efforts are concentrated primarily in our oilfield work.”
“My brother Kevin is exclusively involved with our civil division, and I think one of his favorites would be the Chinchaga Forestry Road project,” Allen continues. “Allison holds down the fort and directs the office so that our operations can run smoothly.”
As the company’s portfolio grows, management is focused on maintaining relationships with both clients and strategic partners. While TGC utilizes a majority of in-house equipment and manpower to complete the contracts, the business occasionally relies on subcontractors when the job necessitates outside services.
“We do most of our own contract work,” Allen says, “Though sometimes we will sub out a specialized service when it is part of a contract. Our relationships go a long way. It is important for us to make sure we are building connections with the right talent. That allows us to offer and provide an exceptional service and end-product to our clients.”
Ensuring high-quality performance to every client is vital. “We gauge our success on client feedback,” Allen continues. “If our customer is satisfied that means we have done our job. Our image and reputation in the industry is critical to our sustainability and growth as a business. There are plenty of new and interesting things that we can expand into. In order to continue in that direction, we have to keep a good reputation.”
The company’s reputation has held strong for more than 40 years. TGC has more than tripled in size since the recession in 2008 and managed to grow throughout the tough years. “We managed to pick up a couple of really good contracts,” Allen explains. “While other companies were scaling back, we acquired more assets and people to ramp up our operation.”
The management and staff are looking forward to continued growth and success in the industry. “There is a lot of potential for us,” Allen reports. “The local towns are expanding and we want to be part of that. The Highway 63 project will continue and it has become a company goal to be more involved in that. We are hoping that when the project reaches the stage where it is coming through Boyle, we can be the contractor to complete that stretch.”
With the third generation at the helm, TGC continues to chase down lucrative and challenging contracts. The economy is on an uptick, especially with the success of the oil and gas business, which is good for TGC. With a number of industries growing steadily in the region, including logging and energy, management is pining for a piece of the pie. The Tri-Gen Construction Ltd. team has built the necessary capabilities and the reputation to take on a growing number of projects in Alberta.