By Ronald Podbielski
The humble and hard-working head of one of Saskatchewan’s most successful and fastest growing electrical companies leaves no doubt where he feels most comfortable on the job.
“I like to get to know our people, so honestly, I feel my favorite place is on the job site,” says Terry Tessier, President and CEO of Flyer Electric, the flourishing business majority-owned by a number of Indigenous Saskatchewan communities.
Despite its continuing growth to some 200 employees today, including 35 in its Regina office, Tessier, who joined the company as a journeyman electrician in 2005 in Birch Hills, still firstly regards Flyer Electric more as “a smaller tightly-knit group” rather than a sizable multi-layered business.
“Everyone can get in touch with me or have a chat with me at any point in time. Most people I deal with see me many times throughout the year,” he says. “We have good conversations. It’s more of a family vibe, which is why I think the morale is really high with our employees.”
The Regina office, which opened in 2016, has been central to that success story. Tessier believes the move was extremely wise because of the “deep pool of talent” and business contacts in the Queen City. While the company workforce fluctuates depending on how many projects are on the go at any given time, the Regina office now is home to some three dozen permanent jobs, including administration staff, key electricians, foreman project managers and Flyer’s Vice President of Operations, Doug Lutz.
The City of Regina’s new procurement policy, which will prioritize Aboriginal involvement and spend, provides another growth opportunity for Flyer.
“The City of Regina has always been a top-notch client to work with. They have treated our people very well and have been very fair to work with. I’m confident that relationship will only continue to grow in the future.”
Since its formation back in 1982, the focus on strong relationships has served Flyer Electric well, particularly when the global economic turndown in 2007 affected its core business working on uranium mine sites. The company was able to successfully transition to contracts serving potash mines, as well as to sewer and water infrastructure projects. Today, Flyer’s extensive portfolio includes projects in mining, power generation, water treatment, and oil and gas as well as a recent focus on renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
“If you do good solid work for companies, and you treat your employees and suppliers well, that reputation gets around,” Tessier says. “Saskatchewan is a small province, almost like a city really, and word travels fast. That’s a great advantage of being here. People seek us out quite often.”
Tessier’s passion is just as evident when he discusses Flyer’s status as Indigenous-owned company. Far from just focussing on the revenues being generated, he sees the company’s growth as a critical opportunity to transform lives for the next generation of Indigenous people.
“We can impact communities. A real goal of our ownership is to train people. Quite often, that leads to quality employment and giving them a career, where they can better their lives and the lives of their families.”
He’s equally enthusiastic about what makes for a great employee.
“I see a resume where a person might have a desire to be in the trades, but has no schooling yet. I’m asked ‘should we give them a shot’ and my answer is ‘absolutely’. The person will get the training as we go along. If you have that drive and ambition, then you’re going to succeed.”
He’s equally bullish on the future of Regina . . . and Saskatchewan for doing business.
“The amount of project work that has been announced already for the next five years is massive. We have the best team I could imagine and we’re going to keep on building those client relationships and our reputation to get that work.”
“I’m very positive for the future of the province.”