As the company celebrates its 30th anniversary, take an inside look at the oil sands company and its work in the community.
In 1986, the Fort McKay Group of Companies LP (FMGOC) began doing business with one single janitorial contract and six employees. Today the company, wholly owned by the Fort McKay First Nation Band, has worked hard to gain credibility into the oil sands region by establishing several service-based companies.
As the company celebrates its 30th anniversary, I had the unique opportunity to garner an inside look at the makeup of the company, how it does business, and its work in the community.
“Since our inception, we’ve expanded to address the growing need of the region in the energy industry,” shared Adam King, CEO of FMGOC. “The Group of Companies has become an active contributor to the economy with a significant impact and broad reach in business through employment, spend, investment and tax contributions throughout the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and beyond.”
The large oilfield construction and services company in Northern Alberta is comprised of three limited partnerships including Fort McKay Strategic Services LP, Fort McKay Logistics LP, and Steep Bank Earth LP. A logistics division and a strategic services division form the foundation for the FMGOC.
Fort McKay Logistics LP has over 20 years' experience in logistics, warehousing, and materials management, and partners with industry leaders such as Acklands Grainger, Vallen, and Day & Ross to successfully service its clients.
“The continued success of FMGOC businesses is only possible through mutually beneficial collaboration, which has become a defining model for business development,” shared King. “We value the collaborative partnerships we have with our suppliers and strategic partners and continue to develop relationships based on trust and mutual respect resulting in increased business opportunities.”
With locations in Edmonton, Fort McMurray, and Fort McKay Industrial Park, Fort McKay Logistics LP can provide a fast and efficient delivery service to and from Fort McMurray and all oil sand sites, as well as delivery freight service for Edmonton, Calgary, and beyond.
FMGOC’s strategic services are wide ranging, providing customers with quality solutions in the industry. The earthworks division has a fleet of over 100 pieces of heavy equipment that is available and allows them to provide mining services to oil sands projects in the region. Regardless of if it is a long-term contract or short-term project, FMGOC offers heavy equipment operators, grounds keeping, coverall delivery, flagging, guardrail repair/installation, and general labor services, to name a few.
Fleet maintenance services rely on good old-fashioned customer service provided by dedicated employees on the maintenance team. From regular service and seasonal tire change to troubleshooting and diagnosis, FMGOC ensures its customers’ vehicle repairs and maintenance are worry-free.
“Through continuous quality improvement we strive to deliver reliable and dependable services while maintaining a competitive cost advantage,” said King. “We will continue to develop a strategic business platform to address the changing market conditions and respond to the needs of our clients.”
It’s easy to see the company’s contributions to the oil sands industry are vast, but perhaps most telling of FMGOC’s success is its continuing commitment to the community of people the company serves. As a First Nations company, FMGOC feels a unique responsibility to the community, the land, and its people.
“FMGOC has strong cultural roots and a deep respect for the environment, which continues to provide the community with employment opportunities, infrastructure, and health and social benefits,” King shared. “Our vision is to provide excellence and success for the future generations of Fort McKay First Nation.”
Some of the profits generated by FMGOC go towards supporting several programs and initiatives in the community. Over the years, the company has worked closely with schools on several aspects including hot lunches, a backpack program, school bussing, support fundraisers, and sponsor awards. FMGOC is also focused on ensuring community members have opportunities for employment and provides on-the-job training and mentorship.
Community health and safety initiatives include donations to regional health centers, operations of the community Dorothy McDonald Centre, local Health Centre, and local fire department funding and sponsorships are initiatives that the Fort McKay First Nation, together with FMGOC, are able to support.
And it doesn’t stop there.
“The Fort McKay First Nation and their strategic partners have also been able to build and develop the Elders Center, Youth Centre, Dorothy McDonald Centre and Community Arena. A long-term care facility is also under development,” King said.
“Our community, our clients, our suppliers, and our people are all engaged in the business on some level. We believe everyone contributes to our success. We reach our goals by working safely, acting reliably, and delivering quality services. Interacting with respect, care, honesty, and demonstrating strong ethics is the cornerstone of our company.”
When asked to reflect on the last 30 years in business, King talked mostly of FMGOC employees and how the ongoing attraction and retention of the “best employees in the industry” are the company’s greatest assets.
Retention is achieved in part by maintaining a strong safety record; the business has been recognized in the industry for their safety commitment. FMGOC was the winner of Syncrude’s safety award in 2014—Contractor Safety Performance Most Improved—Large Company. FMCOC is a diverse organization, aiming to reflect the makeup of the surrounding population. The company strives to maintain its goal of a minimum of 20 percent Aboriginal employment within its workforce.
“Employees are our greatest resource and we value their contribution towards the success of the organization,” shared King. “We work hard to develop a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship between management and staff.
“We believe that every employee counts and that by creating a stable work environment, giving employees a defined career path and focusing on our core values—safety, integrity, and quality—we have developed an outstanding organizational culture where everyone can attain success.” But perhaps my favorite aspect of the FMGOC is its involvement in the Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch. It’s a joint venture between Syncrude Canada Ltd. and the Fort McKay First Nation. In 1993, talk of reclaiming some of the land utilized by Syncrude’s past mining operations evolved into the idea of introducing large mammals to test the land’s sustainability.So for much of the FMGOC’s history, a herd of over 300 Wood Bison has been growing and thriving on over 450 hectares of reclaimed grassland.
So for much of the FMGOC’s history, a herd of over 300 Wood Bison has been growing and thriving on over 450 hectares of reclaimed grassland.
The bison is a symbol of strength and has significant cultural importance to First Nation communities, where the animal provided food, shelter, and tools for thousands of years. Increasing the Bison population symbolizes an important part of rekindling First Nations culture in Canada and FMGOC has been contributing to these efforts.
Fort McKay Group of Companies LP has built a reputation as a preferred supplier and currently provides services under long-term contracts in heavy equipment operations, warehouse logistics, roads & grounds maintenance, environmental services and land leasing operations. Fort McKay Group of Companies LP started out with just a single janitorial contract 30 years ago and has consistently grown and expanded their scope of work to become an influential Aboriginal enterprise servicing the world leaders of the oil sands industry in many diverse fields.
Making safety our top priority has allowed the Fort McKay Group of Companies LP to earn the trust and respect of our clients. We emphasize on company training, safety programs and a proactive HSE handbook with a focus on the ultimate goal—a zero percent incident rate. Safety is non-negotiable and as dictated by our corporate mandate, we work to ensure that our employees return home to their families safely after each and every shift.
At the Fort McKay Group of Companies LP we believe that employees are our greatest resource so we foster an environment of safety and teamwork.