Leading Manufacturing Group
Operational since 2010, Leading Manufacturing Group (LMG) specializes in design and fabrication of steel storage tanks. Sizes range anywhere from 100 BBL up to and including 4,000 BBL. LMG can custom build to accommodate any capacity.
Operating from Vermilion, Alta., the company was formed in response to an industry need to provide high quality steel storage tanks to clients across Alberta’s booming energy sector. Through its short history, LMG has capitalized on its unique strength as a team of experienced industry professionals to develop its own market niche.
“The challenge of a new company is that it takes time to build up. Some customers will say, ‘You’ve only been in business for two years’. That is our biggest challenge,” Lee Gottschlich, President of Leading Manufacturing Group, told The Canadian Business Journal. “We started site work three years ago and we went into production six months later. We have now been in operation as a manufacturing facility for just over two years.”
LMG points to its team of people as its greatest asset and the primary reason for the company’s early success. An organization may have the best facilities and equipment, but having the proper team in place is the most important element in order to deliver high quality products on time, each and every time, and to build a trustworthy brand in the industry.
“I began to get calls from my old employees and customers who felt there was a need in the industry. That is how we all came together to look after customers’ interests and to build what we have here today,” Gottschlich explained. “We have hundreds of years of combined experience within our company. Our people are the key to our success.”
With its manufacturing operations based in Vermilion, 200 km east of Edmonton, LMG is ideally situated to serve the Western Canadian petroleum industry. Vermilion is at the crossroads of Highway 16 east/west and Highway 41 north/south. Both highways are high load corridors for over-dimensional loads. This also locates the facility in the heart of the oil industry. Bonnyville is within an hour, and Wainwright and Lloydminster are within half-hour, with great access to Fort McMurray and all other locations.
Attracting skilled workers has always been difficult in any region of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The town of Vermilion has the asset of Lakeland College, which has put many local people through various trades such as welding, pipefitting, etc., hence a lot of the local tradespeople have joined the LMG team. Other personnel have followed management and relocated to Vermilion. LMG offers a welding apprenticeship program to people of all ages in and around the community. Presently, 15 apprentices are enrolled in both plants. This training as well as use of the latest welding and cutting technologies and a safety-conscious environment make LMG a very desirable place to work.
Within this two year startup, LMG has purchased a facility in Nisku, Alta., where all incoming material is processed with a high definition plasma and then shipped to the Vermilion Plant. This location is also the head office for LMG. LMG encourages its customers to use only waterborne paint and coatings and blasting done with non-silica products to keep the shop environmentally friendly. This added to the existing facility of 40,000 square feet, seven overhead cranes, of which five are 20-tonne with 50-foot under the hook makes this facility a leader in the industry. Additionally, 12 acres of raw land was purchased next to the existing eight acre Vermilion site and is now fully compacted, graveled and tied into the plant site for customer long-term storage. LMG has just completed a land swap with the town of Battleford, Sask. This 20-acre site will be LMG’s next expansion project.
“We build anywhere from 100 to 4,000 barrel tanks, where we have the capacity to build in our shop with overhead cranes and out of the elements. The size of the tanks that we build advances us above the rest in the industry. There isn’t another shop in Western Canada that can build that size of product and keep it inside 12 months of the year,”
Gottschlich summarized. “That puts us above nearly any fabricating facility in the province. Many companies have to build outside where their operations are subject to weather and other conditions, whereas with our indoor shop that doesn’t slow us down, so there is no limit.”
As a registered member of the Canadian Welding Bureau as well as the Alberta Boilers Safety Association, these professional accreditations give LMG added strength and recognition in the industry, particularly as a newer organization. As well, LMG will have its COR Certification completed by December. Nevertheless, the leadership behind LMG has given the company a unique strength, in that its team can look to its past experiences and lessons to know how best steer the company forward.
“We have taken a lot of years of experience to create a company and facility that is very unique,” Gottschlich concluded. “We have been through the learning curve in our ‘former life’, so we know what works and how to make it work better. We had a vision and we knew that we could make it happen. Today, we are a very successful company and we are looking no place but up.”