Casman Construction Group of Companies
Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo are best known for oil sands. But since 1980, the continually expanding Casman Group has made its mark, hosting a broad range of construction services across the industrial, commercial and residential sectors.
The scope of Casman Group includes specialty companies within the Group that deliver the mechanical systems, facilities maintenance support, and some highly specialized services that the region demands.
Casman now stands as one of the largest residential construction companies in an area that is projected to see significant population growth by 2020.
According to credible projections, the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo area will double its current population to 200,000 in the coming years.
Part of what makes Fort McMurray a unique development landscape is that its Provincial Crown Lands are released for sale somewhat erratically. When land does become available, the residential development and building sectors must respond quickly.
“We’re hoping [that the Provincial Crown Land issues] will be permanently resolved over the next 24 to 30 months and it will provide consistency for delivering houses to the market going forward,” said Jeff Fitzner, President of the Casman Construction Group of Companies.
Recession brought refocus
Many sectors felt the waves of the recession, and the construction sector was no different. Accordingly, the new economy brought a new focus to the organization.
The recession most noticeably impacted the industrial arm of the Casman Group. In response, the organization moved to modify and expand the services it provides. “The services we provide changed in that a lot of the major new projects were put on hold,” Fitzner explained. “However, [our clients] didn’t want any of the [in-progress] projects to deteriorate, so we ramped up our maintenance services to support their investment in existing capital projects and facilities.
“Our maintenance group actually grew significantly [during the recession].”
With a new focus, the Casman organization restructured in order to be responsive, and to be the size of company it needed to be in order to fit its revised projections.
“We restructured to deliver these positive outcomes,” Fitzner beamed. “As a result, not only did we not have a losing year, we didn’t have even a losing month during that time.”
Community undergoes major capital infrastructure
As previously mentioned, the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo area has forecasted another population boom, reaching 200,000 residents by 2020. In the past, previous projections have been exceeded significantly, and that may be the case this time around as well.
“Doubling in size would mean a phenomenal amount of construction, both in building the infrastructure, and in terms of the major capital construction,” Fitzner said.
Construction has started on a $250 million airport project in the community, in addition to two $160 million interchange construction projects, with a third similar project in the works. The municipality is also moving ahead with plans for stadiums and recreational facilities. Among these is a $200 million recreational sports complex which offers one of the Top 3 swimming facilities in all of Canada. The community will play host to the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games. A big reason why the Fort McMurray won the bid is because of the various state-of-the-art facilities at its offering.
In the industrial sector, “tens of billions of dollars” have been invested in significant expansion, approved by energy conglomerates like Suncor, Nexen, and Albian Sands. Fitzner summarized, “We have a lot of things happening on many fronts.”
Not your ordinary construction group
There are a variety of unique, positive characteristics about the Casman Group, and one of those characteristics is that the organization is one of only a few construction companies in the region to carry ISO-9001 quality assurance, having done so since 2004.
Fitzner believes that the Casman Group has a responsibility to not only its own available resources, but also a significant responsibility to the environment.
“Environmental responsibility is one of our core corporate values, along with our mission to build multi-faceted communities in a sustainable manner,” added Fitzner, who believes that these values create the fabric and structure guiding the sustainable growth of the Casman Group over the last 30 years. And it’s one of many advantages that pushes the Casman Construction Group of Companies to the front of the pack.
Fitzner also emphasized the work/life balance values of the Casman Group. “Our mission is to build fully functioning communities. Part of our commitment is to ensure our employees and organizational leaders are active in the community, participating and donating to a variety of community initiatives and providing leadership in not only our organization, but in the larger community as well.”
The immediate future
“In the last year, we have bought three companies and we currently have a letter of intent in work to add another,” Fitzner concluded. “Our positive growth continues to be fuelled through our acquisitions.”
Overall, the mandate of the Casman Construction Group of Companies has been to grow the organization in a sustainable manner. This they have accomplished by never losing sight of their mission, vision, and values.