Family, Safety and Doing the Job Right
By: Eric Wickham
There are times in every business’s lifespan where a business owner is presented with an ultimatum; adapt or be left behind. Companies that succeed long-term are the ones that not only successfully adapt, but also recognize the direction their field is going before it does. The desire to stay ahead of the curve, alongside the willingness of every employee to do what is required of them is integral to Maple Creek Endless Tubing’s continued success.
Maple Creek Endless Tubing is a Coil Tubing Service company operating in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. They specialize in completing any variety of downhole services required of them. Tubing services can be required for well servicing, repairs, or completions, as well as perforations, extractions or additional drilling.
From humble beginnings as a single truck operation, Maple Creek Endless Tubing has grown into a business with 13 active rigs and 3 mobile field offices.
Equipped to travel up to 3200 metres underground, and in any direction the increasingly sophisticated wells may take, Maple Creek Endless Tubing is at the cutting edge of the continuously evolving coil tubing industry. “You have to be willing to learn and adapt to your conditions,” says Joel Holmedal, Safety Coordinator at Maple Creek Endless Tubing. “You get with the times or fall off the map.”
Maple Creek Endless Tubing was founded by Dan Holmedal in 1987. Dan began his career in the oil industry at the age of 15. As a teenager he moved to Medicine Hat and began work on a drilling rig with his uncle part-time. The decision to help his uncle turned into a full-time job and spelt the end of Dan’s academic career, but the beginning of a lengthy one in the oil industry.
In 1987, Dan decided to strike out on his own, and established Maple Creek Endless Tubing. This move was not without risk, as in order to afford the costs of a new business he had to gain investors, invest his savings and take a mortgage out on his house. In its early years Maple Creek Endless Tubing relied on family support to maintain itself, and in return it promotes a pro-family atmosphere within its ranks of employees. “My mom told us a story of loading us 3 kids in the back of her old Buick, driving out to location so she could back dad up to a well so he could work a night shift on his truck.”
Derek, Joel’s older brother, and himself – like their father Danny – began their foray into the oil industry at a young age. By the age of 15, they both were already helping their father out tearing apart spools at his Maple Creek yard or building chains, and at 18, they both began to work full time for the company.
The appreciation for a calculated business decision has not been lost on Derek or Joel. In 2008, Maple Creek Endless Tubing was an exclusively shallow gas coil tubing company. The decision to switch the company’s focus from shallow gas to other forms of oil has allowed Maple Creek Endless Tubing to continue to be at the forefront of the Tubing industry.
This emphasis on innovation has also led to the increasingly sophisticated technology in Maple Creek’s Endless Tubing’s possession. “A few years ago, our guys made the most out of our equipment via the hydraulics and their skill-set, now the guys have at their disposal sophisticated computers in the trucks telling them a whole array of different measures they have to take and prediction software as to what they will encounter at different intervals of the well,” says Joel. “You can’t be bad with computers on these trucks. You either learn or get left behind.”
It is clear to the observer that Maple Creek Endless Tubing takes pride in their ability to provide the highest quality service to their customers. Part of that is seen in their industry leading focus on innovation, but it is also shown by their commitment to getting the job done.
“Construction companies can be proud of a building they made, Engineers can be proud of something they designed,” says Joel. “If I can be proud of anything, it’s the guys that work for us, and being told that the boys did a great job drives us to never stop innovating for them and the companies we work for.”
Maple Creek Endless Tubing’s commitment to their work is also highlighted in the simple fact that every person, from the top down, is expected to do the work required of them. “We only have titles to have something to put on our business cards,” states Joel. Every employee is expected to do the job in front of them at Maple Creek Endless Tubing, even the President and Founder Dan Holmedal.
This commitment to work is balanced with their commitment to family. Family is one of the key factors in the success of the organization and Dan’s mother-in-law played an important role in the early days of the company as an investor. Families continue to play an important role in Maple Creek Endless Tubing, making sure employees more often than not take jobs close to home.
Not long ago, it was rare for Maple Creek Endless Tubing’s employees to have to take jobs further than 150km away from their homes, but with the growth of their company this has changed. Now some workers have to stay for weeks in hotels for certain projects, but only if absolutely necessary. “We would like everyone to come home as often as possible as it makes a better home life for the guys with families.”
This quote takes on an additional meaning when it is taken to account the type of work that Maple Creek Endless Tubing engages in. When working with wells that can be kilometers deep, situations can get dangerous, very quickly. The potential for danger is not lost upon Maple Creek Endless Tubing, and is reflected in their prioritization of safety.
Since 1995, Maple Creek has been the annual recipient of the WCB Achievement award for safe workplaces in Saskatchewan. This is in part due to the extensive safety training provided to all of Maple Creek Endless Tubing’s employees. Each worker has received extensive safety and technical training, and to the established adage of Danny Holmedal “I want everyone going home at the end of the day healthy and well.”
Maple Creek Endless Tubing is a shining example of a company that found success through innovation, hard work and a penchant for safety. They have become a successful business through their calculated business risks while prioritizing the safety of each individual employee. And at the end of the day, everyone getting home is the most important thing.