With the Regina community thriving in the Oil and Gas Supply Chain Sector—Brad Forster, Vice President and General Manager of EVRAZ Steel, sees opportunity to get involved.
“There are so many contacts in Regina for the oil and gas sector, and it's such a young and bustling community that, for somebody to get involved at this level, it's only going to get richer and better.”
Regina Work Ethic
It’s no secret, innovation is engrained in Regina’s attitude. “It's something that's been our culture since the beginning,” said Forster.
Forster attributes EVRAZ’s innovative successes to Regina’s strong workforce, and EVRAZ’s strong history of hiring talent, while training them to grow with the company.
“For somebody that wants to set up shop in Regina or Saskatchewan—we have the greatest workforce throughout the industry,” Forster said.
“The people that we can hire, and retain, are lifetime employees,” he added.
A Prairie Powerhouse
Forster has lived in the Regina community all of his life. He is approaching 30 years in the industry with EVRAZ, growing with the company and experiencing its evolution over the years.
Regina is home to the largest steel company in Western Canada. EVRAZ creates steel plate and coil, small and large diameter pipes, and oil and gas well tubing for the energy sector.
Forster is in charge of Regina’s steel department, which employs 400 unionized staff, and another 200 support and salaried staff. EVRAZ’s tubular department boasts 600 unionized employees, and about 100-150 support staff.
The company has been continually growing its operations since its founding in 1956.
“We started as Ipsco, and we were a small manufacturing company of steel and pipe,” Forster said. “On the backs of what we did here in Regina, we built two steel-making facilities in the United States directly funded out of the profits that were made out of Regina.”
Both of those facilities were multimillion dollar operations to build, and commission.
On the Leading Edge
This Regina powerhouse is looking toward the future of the Oil and Gas Sector, and is invested to stay on top.
“We just went through a $150 million upgrade here in Regina—where we put in equipment that will take us to the next level,” stated Forster.
Forster said with this investment, the company is set up to be viable in the oil and gas industry for the next two to three decades.
This also enables EVRAZ to continue to be a positive economic driver in Regina. “EVRAZ directly employs a large portion of the population of Regina, and indirectly EVRAZ has a lot of influence with our contracted companies and some of our third party contractors that are here on site,” Forster said.
An Innovative Push
Alongside EVRAZ’s pipe and tubing capabilities, EVRAZ holds the title as the largest metal scrap recycler in Western Canada—contributing to Regina’s Oil and Gas Supply Chain Sector.
“We now recycle about one million tonnes of steel per year, and in 2018, we will have melted about 40 million tonnes of scrap steel since 1960,” Forster said.
EVRAZ not only keeps an environmentally-conscious mindset in their work through recycling, but pushed through innovative work to become a zero water discharge steel company. “Which is very rare,” Forster added.
The company has also become the lowest-cost producer of steel coil in Canada. Forster said the company has achieved this competitive edge through commitment to innovative work.
“It's through innovation; it's through continuous improvement; it's through not ever resting on your laurels, always looking out for better and more unique ways of processing.”
Bustling Business Community
EVRAZ and the Oil and Gas Supply Chain Sector are able to access a strong workforce, within a small, prairie community. Forster has seen that community feeling flow through to the business environment when creating relationships with clients.
“It’s face-to face” Forster said. “Because it's such a small community, the ties that we have to... our vendors [are] personal.”
While Forster noted that EVRAZ has “fantastic relationships with the big pipe customers” the company also looks to the local supply chain.
Many of the ingenious and supportive businesses within the oil and gas supply chain that EVRAZ Regina works with are local, Saskatchewan businesses.
“We seek to keep our major projects or our capital expenditures here, locally in Saskatchewan,” Forster said. “We grew up here, and we have strong roots in Saskatchewan. We want to make sure that we see Saskatchewan, as a province, and EVRAZ succeed.”