Management Profile: The Key to Success is a Dynamic Team
Team Drilling just celebrated its fifth birthday this summer.
And for its three owner/managers, Bob Fleming, George Presseault, and Al Lamy, the short time since Team Drilling’s inception has been an incredible journey.
In its first year of operations, Team Drilling was recognized by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce with an ABEX Award for Best New Venture. Starting with a staff of nine, the company has grown to employ over 200 people, has operations in Labrador, Saskatchewan, and Northwest Territories, is listed on SaskBusiness Magazine’s Top 100 Companies in Saskatchewan, and is trusted by some of the mining industry’s biggest companies to provide safe, long-term, and productive drilling services.
People said we wouldn’t last, says George Presseault, Contracts Manager, “Even though the entire industry is down, we’re still very busy – one of the busiest drilling companies in Canada. Clients know we can get the job done and done right. We give value, we understand what their needs are – we drill holes at the best price, safely and economically.”
“We are very good at what we do,” says Bob Fleming, President and CEO, “And we want to make sure we prove that over, and over, and over again.”
Bob, George, and Al have a combined total of over 80 years of experience in the drilling industry. And their passion for their work is very apparent when they talk about what they do. However, when they started in the industry, none of them intended for drilling to become their careers. Originally from Manitoba, Al started by taking a two week job because he needed the money. George, who comes from Ontario, took on a 5 month contract when he was 18. Bob, who was born in Saskatchewan and raised mostly in BC, got his start in the industry by taking a summer job with a major drilling company while going to college. Each quickly came to love the job. “I really enjoyed the lifestyle,” says Al Lamy, Surface Operations Manager, “Spending 3-4 months in the bush, somewhere different all the time. The money was good, traveling was great. It’s not for everyone, but those of us who love it, really love it.”
All three stuck with it, and over the course of their careers, their paths crossed and they ended up working together at the same company. Soon they began talking about running their own business. “We were talking about starting our own company for awhile before we actually took that step,” says Bob. “I think we all figured eventually we’d each do it, and if you’re going to have competition, you might as well bring them with you and work together instead. In 2008, we partnered with Athabasca Basin Development and met the challenge of running our own business.”
A love of a good challenge is something all three share. “We put our successes behind us quickly to meet the next new challenge,” says Bob. “When we do make mistakes, we tend to dwell on it – we kick ourselves and challenge ourselves to do better.” George agrees, and adds: “We’re only as good as the last job. So we are always, and I mean always, striving to improve our services.”
Hard work has been key, and the guys put in a ton of hours. “It’s really a non-stop job,” says Al, “We take it home with us. From 6:30 in the morning till 10:00 at night, 7 days a week. But if you love your job like we do, it really doesn’t seem as crazy as it sounds.”
In an industry that can have high employee turnover, Team has an impressive number of long term employees. 60 have been with the company for more than 3 years. “We have great employees, probably the top employees in the industry,” says Al. “I think we attract a lot of employees because of our company’s reputation, and because of our openness. We are frank with them. We respect them. We listen to them, and if they have a good idea, we put it out there. We need to treat them right because those are the guys who make the money for the company. They are our faces out there. When they leave a good impression, it helps our reputation.”
“A lot of people put in a lot of effort and time to make this company a success,” says Bob. “We work hard, but we’ve been very lucky in our business so far.
Some things have really fallen into place, and there are really so many people who helped make this company a success. Our employees are a huge part of it. Our guys in the field are top notch, and we have fantastic support staff in the shop and office; they work hard to help keep our company providing the best possible service. We also had the support of our partner, Athabasca Basin Development, and, of course, our clients. We had a lot of clients who put a lot of faith in us in the early days, and without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
According to Team Drilling, the secret to the company’s incredible success is a formula made up of hard work, passion for the job, knowledge of the industry, providing a top quality service, a strong relationship with clients, dedication to employees, and above all – the right team. The mutual respect they have for each other is very evident – none of the three would agree to being individually profiled for this newsletter. “We’re strongest as a team,” says George, “But we’re more than just a team; we’re a brotherhood. We always have each other’s backs.”
“We’re not motivated by money or individual success,” says Al, “We just love our work, and we love the challenge – especially when you work for yourself.”