It has been a decade heavy with challenges for businesses facing fluctuating energy markets, economic uncertainty and a global pandemic that brought many operations screeching to a halt. Despite it all, IronCreek has stayed the course since opening its doors 10 years ago and has pushed through the adversity to find growth and expansion on the other side.
“We’ve stickhandled through a lot of challenges over the last five years – half of our life—in an extremely vicious, competitive market,” says Scott Kerr, president and CEO of IronCreek. “But over the past year or two we’ve expanded our footprint into three really exciting business lines.”
The first new line is horizontal directional drilling, or HDD. This area has been on Kerr’s radar for a few years, but the downturn coupled with COVID-19 restrictions and complications didn’t make for fertile ground for growth. But this spring, utilization rates were high and the overall market was turning around, so the company could finally add HDD to its service portfolio. Among other jobs, IronCreek is currently working on a multi-year fibre build that is delivering high-speed internet to homes and businesses across Calgary. HDD uses specialized equipment that can drill boreholes between 18 millimetres and 12 inches wide with minimal surface disturbance to protect existing infrastructure and the environment.
“The HDD division was part of our strategic plan to diversify away from the oilfield division. It is complementary because our busy months in HDD are the slow months for the oilfield rentals, so we can ramp up production on HDD when the oilfield side is slowing down to help stabilize our business as a whole,” says Jeff MacPhee, HDD general manager for IronCreek.
To further diversify its portfolio, IronCreek has invested in a green initiative offering innovative generators that use excess flare gas (or in some models solar cells) in closed-loop systems to generate on-site power. IronCreek is the exclusive Canadian supplier of LifeCycle Power turbine systems, which feature a trailer-mounted turbine that runs off natural gas to eliminate reliance on diesel generators. These systems exceed all environmental and emissions standards and have proven incredibly efficient while vastly reducing maintenance requirements. As they are portable and customizable, LCP turbines can provide electricity to a range of sites from oil rigs to remote communities.
These clean-burning units, which have been in operation in the United States for a number of years, not only offer a state-of-the-art system run from the operator’s smart phone but also qualify for carbon tax credits.
“The company we’ve aligned with partnered with Caterpillar and General Electric to build these machines, so they are highly reputable companies,” says Kerr. “We’re bringing the technology to Canada and working with a number of our customers in oil and gas and outside the field for opportunities with the technology.”
While IronCreek is expanding its offerings, the company remains dedicated to providing the quality services that established it as a leader in the business. It offers premium rental equipment and services to clients across Western Canada, with a head office in Cochrane, satellite locations across the region and a shop and yard in both Rocky Mountain House and Grande Prairie. The company is known for its professionalism and quality and boasts an impressive catalog of excavator packages and products related to drilling and completions and surface equipment rentals covering everything from shale bins and pipe racks to rig mats and storage tanks. Great service and high quality products are key, and IronCreek sees its clients as partners who they are honoured to help succeed.
“Over our 10 years, the brutal environment and razor-thin margins have led us to become a very humble company that lives within our means in every aspect,” says Jason Lange, VP operations for IronCreek.
The team’s humility and hard work has contributed to its solid reputation in oil and gas and they are proud to service some of Canada’s biggest E & P companies in the industry. While it’s unusual for such A-list clients to put their trust in a smaller company, IronCreek has proven it’s up to the challenge and can deliver like a company twice its size. The team has worked hard to exceed expectations and remain a go-to company for these key clients. Kerr credits the incredible people on his team, who have worked to help grow the company through their dedication to quality, service and safety protocols, for the success IronCreek has enjoyed.
“I may be the quarterback but I’m passing them the ball and what they do with it from there creates the path for the whole company,” he says.
The result is a loyal team of professionals with a core management group that has stayed consistent over the years. Communication is key, both with clients and staff, and IronCreek maintains great support at the field level to ensure standards are met and that clients are happy. IronCreek goes the extra mile to support staff professionally and personally, and the atmosphere in the office is more like a family than a workplace.
“It’s like [Richard Branson] said, ‘if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.’ That’s IronCreek. The way they treat their employees really sets them apart,” says Jeff Herman, excavator operator for IronCreek.
People come first at IronCreek, whether those people are employees, customers or members of the communities in which they operate. It’s important for Kerr that they give back, so IronCreek sponsors a variety of minor sports teams, rodeo events, Paralympics, 4H clubs and causes like the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation.
After a decade, IronCreek is proud to be a trusted partner to its community and its clients and is looking ahead to the next 10 years with optimism and excitement. After a tough few years, the company celebrated the 10-year milestone by rebranding with a fresh look, new logos and a new website that better reflects the company’s direction.
“We’re looking to grow our different segments now, we’ve got more service offering lines and diversifying with further opportunities States side for some of our technologies,” says Kerr. “We’re excited to see what the future brings for us.”
That future, with the growth of its rentals along with the addition of turbines and HDD opportunities, is bound to bring outstanding things for IronCreek.
2B – 70 Railway St E, Cochrane, AB T4C 2B5
Rocky Mountain House
2 Gateway Way Drive, Rocky Mountain House, AB
Grande Prairie (Shop Address)
5-732010 RR62, Building B, Sexsmith AB T0H 3C0