Air Extreme Inc. is a local, independent, family owned and operated business providing safety training courses (online and in person), safety equipment (for rent or purchase) and custom-built breathing air trailers and carts. The company was founded 20 years ago by Chris Parsons and family.
“It began as a chance result of requests by companies in the oil patch for SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) maintenance and supplies,” says Bonnie Alexander, Safety Manager. “It grew because some of our customers also required training and wanted Air Extreme to provide it.”
“Safety is our passion because we know there is no second chance when safety is compromised,” adds Leslie Hollas, General Manager. “Air Extreme is an ever-evolving business that strives to be a one-stop-shop for our customers. We hire the best instructors and staff in order to make this happen. We are constantly improving our business, which shows with our multitude of five-star reviews.”
Being a local, family-owned business allows Air Extreme to be agile in decision making and flexible when the unexpected occurs; the pandemic is a great example of this. When COVID-19 affected small businesses across the province, Air Extreme was in a great position to support customers and staff. The company also provided mask fit testing for essential workers such as doctors, anaesthesiologists, nurses, dentists and paramedics.
“When COVID-19 hit, we made sure to have non-contact thermometers, gloves, masks, etc. available for sale as supplies permitted,” explains Alexander. “We have also, for the last year, been doing COVID-19 rapid tests for anyone that needs them.”
There have been many highlights over the company’s 20-year history (see the timeline) and the flexibility over the past two years has shown great promise for the future. For the company, each moment of this journey has been special, but a few moments stand out.
“In 2014 we moved to a large, modern facility. A decision was made in 2019 to include in-house publishing. In 2020 while most businesses were struggling, we were able to offer additional services, notably a fall protection and inspection service,” says Alexander.”
Hollas states, “One of our greatest challenges is making sure to keep up with the times. We have reduced our carbon footprint significantly by shifting our student resources online and tracking all records digitally. We have successfully reduced our paper waste by 80 per cent. When the pandemic hit, we had to change our methods, but that has only spurred on the digital revolution at Air Extreme.”
Alexander points out the value of being an early adopter of online programming, long before the pandemic. “Our online courses quadrupled since 2020. The courses that must be completed in person require us to ensure all government COVID-19 protocols are followed stringently.”
She is happy to add, “As such we ensure our class sizes are small, we require our students and staff to wear masks and daily temperature checks are completed, along with a pre-screening form. Also, our facility is sanitized daily.”
Both explain what they love about working in the family business.
“I truly enjoy the people as well as the companies that we deal with,” says Alexander. “I really believe that our staff and management want everyone who walks through our doors to leave with a sense of accomplishment and be excited about the possibilities that they can achieve in the future.”
Hollas agrees, adding, “The most rewarding thing about Air Extreme is the people. From the staff to our customers – some of whom I have known for 20 years in the safety industry – they are universally great to deal with. I enjoy being part of a local family-owned company. When needed the family helps out with getting things done.”
It may be a local family business, but the level of services and products provided are on par with that of much larger companies.
“Air Extreme is able to accomplish amazing things with a tightly knit group of staff,” Hollas confirms. “We do training, of course, but we also service and fill SCBAs; we have a full rental fleet of gas monitors, fall protection equipment, confined space equipment and air trailers, plus staff to assist in the operation with everything we sell. We also are able to service and inspect gas monitors, fire extinguishers and fall protection equipment. In addition, all occupational testing is available including fit testing for any type of mask, drug and alcohol testing and audiometric testing. We are able to provide the above at our location and remotely.”
Everyone at Air Extreme cares about the community as much as they care about the team members and their many customers. This is why it’s common to see staff volunteering at healing ceremonies at Kâkesimokamik (Healing Garden) in St. Albert; at the Silver Skate festival; donating to The Mustard Seed and routinely working with Edmonton’s Food Bank, Edmonton Gleaners Association, Norquest Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centre and the Bissell Centre.
Caring about the community, team and clients is always top of mind for Air Extreme. The company is very proud of achieving 100 per cent COR certification in 2021 and is a proud member of ACSA (Alberta Construction Association), ESC (Energy Safety Canada), Complyworks and ISNetworld.
Alexander and Hollas conclude, “We are always growing and changing. We listen to our customers needs and requests and we adapt our business to provide the services they need. We strive to be a one-stop shop!”
Air Extreme’s 20 Year Timeline
Air Extreme is incorporated. It is one bay with equipment for serving SCBA.
Melanie Clarke Parsons (Owner) becomes certified to instruct St. John Ambulance First Aid courses, and also, with ACSA, to instruct TDG and WHMIS.
Air Extreme becomes a member of the ACSA.
Company expansion necessitates a move to a larger facility. The site is renovated to include four classrooms.
Instructor Dwayne Jenkins joins the company providing Energy Safety Canada courses.
Clarke Parsons gains NCSO certification.
Instructor Charlie Salisbury joins the company and heads the training for Corrections Canada.
Leslie Hollas is brought on board with over 10 years experience in the safety industry to grow safety sales and rentals and also to streamline the business.
Instructor Daniel Chavez joins the company. He is able to instruct every course offered at Air Extreme.
Air Extreme moves to a full 16,000 square foot facility with eight classrooms.
Lucas Parsons joins the company in a warehouse position, completing safety checks and maintaining high quality control standards.
Bonnie Alexander is brought on board to grow the occupational testing and safety certification portion of the business. She had many years experience with Wellpoint and Cala Safety.
Air Extreme joins Complyworks and ISNetworld.
Instructor Kathryn Sander joins the company allowing additional first aid instruction.
Nancy Jones is hired to assist in business development and customer relations. She has many years of experience in the training industry.
Air Extreme receives their first COR certification.
Instructor Aaron Andronyk joins the company. Aaron has years of experience with confined space entry and monitoring.
Paul Rushleau is brought on board to expand the safety sales, rentals and safety inspections. He has over 30 years of experience in the safety business from manufacturing to purchasing and beyond.
Instructor Wendell Allen joins the company, instructing ESC H2S Alive, fall protection and confined space. He also instructs ABCGA Global Ground Disturbance.
Lisa Drew joins the company to expand their administration capacity.
Instructors Kirby Lummerding and Jason Faichney join the company. Their addition allows Air Extreme to offer extra and varied courses due to high enrollment.
Air Extreme brings Haley Parsons to join the team to ensure high quality standards for sanitization.
Air Extreme achieves three-year COR certification with a mark of 100%.
FIRST IN SAFETY 780.439.3362