“It’s been a great place to be in business,” says Kerry Heid, the ever-affable President of Saskatchewan’s Magna Electric Corporation (MEC). “I don’t know another place in North America where you could have this much business.”
MEC has been as good to Saskatchewan as the province has been to it. The company has made an impression in the business landscape, providing core engineering and technical services, electrical testing, high voltage and relay testing with an in-house electrical contractor division. Heid and his partners have been running the company for 15 years, having started out in 1996. Now, he says, the team’s accumulated experience and excitement can be credited for the company’s upward trajectory and reputation among its peers as one of Saskatchewan’s best electrical engineering companies.
Late 90’s taught valuable lessons
The province’s outlook was not always so bright, says Heid, and surviving the late 1990’s taught the MEC team how to make the most out of a good or bad economy. “We survived and did very well from 1996 to 2006, an era when there was not a lot of low hanging fruit. We scrapped over every project and did a lot of work outside the province, in Alberta and the U.S.,” says Heid. MEC continues to be in high demand out of province, although the majority of the work is still in Saskatchewan.
One of the turning points for MEC was a changing of the guard in the provincial government in 2007 which opened up the province for business and created a substantial windfall for the company. “There was so much more activity in the electrical world, in infrastructure, utility, mining, pipeline companies, and the steel industry,” says Heid. At that point, the company was operating at full capacity, in mining particularly.
Strong technical support
“We have always been noted for our technical services group, from the day our company was started,” says Heid. MEC has put only the most technically-trained people in the field to do electrical startup, electrical and maintenance testing, which has always been MEC’s trademark. As the largest Canadian company in the InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA), not many companies have the depth and strength of MEC’s electrical engineers and engineering technologists.
MEC has since seen a double of revenues in the past three years and has experienced exponential growth by adhering to its core services and maintaining superb customer service.
Heid describes it as a “double-edged” sword, his business being so busy, that plans for expansion have been delayed somewhat. “We would really like to be a nationwide service provider,” says Heid, “and able to provide our services to the electrical field from coast to coast; [that is] is something we would like to do. Saskatchewan is a great place to be, at the same time we are branching out and diversifying, we need to focus on our good clients right here.”
MEC is focused on running a smooth operation. Heid never takes his eye off the ball in this department. “Your systems have to be able to keep up, you must recruit people, financially manage the projects, schedule them, cost manage, administration, keep accidents at zero…all things you really have to work on to make sure you are ahead of the curve when you see the next level of growth, so you are ready to handle it from all of those angles.”
This approach’s success has received recognition from MEC’s peers, landing the company on the Top 100 Companies in Saskatchewan as listed in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. The list is a ranking of public and private companies based on their gross annual revenue from the previous fiscal year. MEC’s exemplary safety record earned them this and another distinction: The InterNational Electrical Testing Association NETA’s 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award. NETA defines the standards by which electrical equipment is deemed safe and reliable. NETA Accredited Companies are responsible for conducting the tests that ensure this equipment meets the electrical industry’s stringent standards.
On the horizon
With a new 30,000 square foot manufacturing building in Regina and a gateway to the east office opening in Mississauga, MEC is on the brink of achieving a new level of success. Heid’s short-term goals for the company include expanding services in the southern Saskatchewan area and, long-term, looking to grow offices outside the province to increase its manufacturing capabilities. With a big year in construction coming up for MEC, CBJ anticipates only more success for this high-watt company.