Corporate Excellence in Projects and Safety
By Anna Guy
Western Pacific Enterprises Ltd. (WPE) has been widely recognized as a leading electrical contractor for over four decades, working on some of the west coast’s largest projects. Even those unfamiliar with the electrical industry will recognize some of WPE’s most notable projects, such as any public transit line in B.C., and the Vancouver Convention Centre, for instance.
Since 1973, WPE has changed the landscape of Western Canada through innovative and comprehensive electrical expertise, with a legacy of contributing to the biggest projects across the industry thanks to a highly diversified team. Now a second-generation company, WPE has grown to become one of the largest contracting firms in Western Canada with cross-sector capabilities. But despite its growth, WPE is as sought out by employees as it is clients due to the ability to maintain employee-centric corporate culture, implemented by friends and founders Dieter Fettback and Ernie Moore.
WPE has a remarkable roster of projects. Whether performing work for utilities, commercial, residential, institutional or other clients, WPE has a proven track record of success in highly complex, expensive, and logistically challenging projects. “We do it all,” admits Vice President of Operations, Ron Fettback. “We have tackled a range of construction projects across Canada, and we believe each experience has made us uniquely prepared for the next big project we face.”
WPE was responsible for electrical installations at the Main Street-Science World Skytrain station in Vancouver, BC; Winnipeg’s Women’s Hospital; Edmonton LRT Valley Line Expansion, Stanton Territorial Hospital in NWT; the Johnson Street Bridge Replacement Project; and the Cache Creek Landfill Gas Utilization. The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA), on which President David Fettback is a board member, recently awarded WPE projects a gold and two silvers. The Gold Award to Johnson Street Bridge Project and the Silver Awards to Deltaport Rail Maintenance Building Project and Campbell River Water Treatment Building Project.
An exhaustive, cross-platform training program for the company’s 500-plus electricians is a key component to WPE’s growth and success; as it results in reduced downtime and increased stability for employees and clients. “We don’t just stay in one market,” says Ron Fettback. “We are able to reach out into different avenues because we have such a diverse work force. Our team is highly trained so if one sector is slow, we can shift manpower to where there is a higher demand.”
Culture of Safety
When you say the name WPE to someone in the industry, their reputation for safety is one of the first things that comes to mind. A culture of safety is foundational at WPE, as evidenced by having one of the industry’s lowest “days lost” rates.
As an active member on the board of BC Construction Safety Alliance BC and the Council of Ontario Construction Associations, COCA and BCCSA, Director of Safety & Procurement, Wayne Fettback shapes and influences the safety industry beyond WPE’s borders. In addition to awards for project specific excellence, WPE is regularly recognized for outstanding safety innovation and accomplishments. For the third year in a row, WPE achieved a Zero Frequency Injury Rate (Trade Contractor 200,000 or more person hours), which was acknowledged by the VRCA Awards of Excellence.
It’s notable that WPE’s project and safety success go hand-in-hand—Wayne Fettback believes you simply cannot have one without the other.
“Safety is a silent cost driver of a company,” he says. “We are invited to jobs because of our safety records. Safety is an important part of our company for many reasons. It promotes a strong culture, sets us apart in the industry, and allows us to inspire and encourage our partners to develop a program as successful as ours.”
WPE focuses on continuous improvement in safety. Recent examples include deploying a centralized software system to record safety stats from all work sites, which aids in greater collaboration, communication, and identification of trends that help to improve safety performance. The trend data helps mitigate re-occurrence, enabling employees to work across the organization to make safety a top priority. These implementations have been instrumental in WPE receiving the 2018 Lieutenant Governor’s Data and Digital Technology in Technical Safety Award—another example of an industry-leading safety culture.
“We demand perfection,” says Fettback, “and that brings us to level of detail and standards are so high.”