Golder Associates

Celebrating 50 years of excellence

As reports of a slow upturn in the economy surfaced this February, Golder Associates had more than just boosted business to celebrate. On February 18, Golder announced that it had received Canada’s highest accolade for business performance: national recognition as a 2009 Best Managed Platinum Club Member. Platinum Club members have proven the ability to anticipate their clients’ future needs, show entrepreneurial agility, successfully manage growth over time, expand operations globally and maintain the right talent.

Golder’s President for Canada, Mark Brightman, said that the company was “extremely proud to maintain the status of one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies in 2009.” He explained that “people are the driving force” of Golder’s success, and from what Golder has said about its powerhouse expertise, it’s clear that the company deserves this award.

“This year’s recognition is a tribute to our people and their dedication to service excellence,” Brightman remarked, echoing the company’s long-held belief about their exemplary staff. It’s no wonder the company has had such a long, successful history—this year, the company will celebrate 50 years in business, and their client list keeps getting bigger.

Companies who have Platinum Club status are acknowledged for sustaining a standard of excellence and leadership in all areas of their business practices, and have qualified in the award program for at least six consecutive years—which is quite an accomplishment for a company in the service sector like Golder, and one that relies on the successful business of their clients to survive.

Success in good times, and in hard times

From our conversations with Leon Botham this month, who is Golder’s Canadian Mining Sector Leader and Associate, it appears that business is ramping back up after a stressful economic period. He says that “when the economy tanked in mid-2008 there were a number of project cancellations, and some of those are only still slowly coming back,” especially in Golder’s environmental business. However, he adds that “on the engineering side, we slowed down but wasn’t a critical slow down. Some offices, if anything, got busier. We weathered the storm very well.”

Botham says that although the economy was in bad shape, Golder’s resource evaluation and mine planning business (which was only developed 10 or 11 years ago) grew, and he hopes to see that growth continue. “We now have 30 people in Canada in this side of the business—so we want to continue on that area.”
Golder’s tailings management business is picking up pace. Golder has seen success in their work on mines around the world designing, building operating or closing mine waste management facilities. The company completes site selections, does background studies, and does environmental and social impact assessments. Other services include: mine waste deposition planning and design; tailings, thickened tailings, tailings dam design, water balances and water management plans, geochemical and water quality assessments, active and passive water treatment design, tailings distribution system design, hydraulic structure design, construction management, quality control, and quality assurance.

Sustainability still part of Golder’sbigger picture

Golder has always incorporated sustainability as part of their company mandate. The company is committed to providing environmentally sound, socially responsible and technically innovative solutions to clients. Golder insists on “embedding the principles of sustainability into project planning, design and execution, by delivering a range of strategic and practical solutions for development projects, corporate operations, or governmental initiatives.” Botham says that the company, without fail, “tries to build sustainability practices into all sides of the business.”

“We look at sustainability on all projects, on the environmental side or the water management side, and try to provide opportunities for local communities to get involved.” In the light of incorporating sustainability into everything they do, even the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations will reflect their commitment to community. As part of the festivities, Golder groups around the world are planning “legacy projects,” which are meant to provide benefits to local communities. One Golder office is even building a conservation area in its local region.

At a formal business level, Golder provides their clients with tools and services to help them be more sustainable. The company provides sustainable development policy and planning, audits and certification. They also complete metrics and reports and look at climate change impacts and adaptation on clients’ businesses. The other area of focus for Golder is site reclamation and site life extension. Botham says that mining companies are more recently trying to extend the life of operation sites, because “resources that may not have been economic to explore in the past are more so now.” He explains that Golder’s role is to look at techniques, working with regulators, to help companies expand what’s on site, and then expanding it.

This, as well as other mine planning sides of the business, is where Golder hopes to see the most growth in 2010. “Our first priority is to get business levels back to what they were before the recession. Then, we want to also see our mine planning group being successful and firmly established as one of the premier groups in the world, Botham says. But of course, Golder’s main focus always comes back to its customers, and client service remains number one for the company going forward. “We want to help our clients to be successful—when they’re doing well, we do well.”