Committed to innovation and the community
By Emily Innes
The president and general manager of Oil Boss Rentals Inc. had been working on the oil rigs in Alberta for a few years when he recognized a need for more innovative equipment in the industry.
“Working on the rigs and moving up through the positions, I soon realized that if I wanted to have a family and see my kids grow up, there was going to need to be some changes,” explains Gerry Casorso on the company’s website. “As the operator on the service rigs I recognized immediately how much time (I spent of my own time) dropping off the garbage, picking up fuel, dropping off the guys and loading up with supplies each night after work. So I built some skid units in 2001, they had a portable toilet, and a garbage disposal including being able to recycle the oil absorbent pads, contaminated soil, and used motor oil. One unit turned into four and then I needed the support equipment for the Enviro Bins.”
Fifteen years later, Oil Boss has grown to be recognized by Alberta Oil Magazine as one of the top 50 service companies in Alberta. They now have their headquarters in Rocky Mountain House, a second office in Lac La Biche, Alta., and a few satellite locations in Western Canada.
“There have been some struggles, but we have been pretty fortunate through a few economic downturns,” Casorso told Business Elite Canada. “Once we got started, the clientele always preferred a one-stop shop. They said, ‘If you also had this, we would rent it from you’, and we went from there.”
Diverse and innovative equipment
Oil Boss Rentals offers a range of oilfield rentals including, but not limited to, active prime pumps, fire suppression/water units, office trailers, light towers, Enviro Bin trailers, portable catwalks, hot tub units, rig mats, heater trailers, and more. They also offer a complete line of trucking and logistical equipment, including tractor trailer units, winch tractors, and medium and large duty cranes.
Committed to meeting customers’ needs and being innovative, Casorso said they incorporated numerous pieces of equipment into packaged units, along with combo trailers. Also, to help combat the harsh conditions of Alberta’s winters, Oil Boss Rentals designed and engineered 30,000-litre hot tub units that can keep fluids warm.
“We really built a unit that contains its own environment and it is heated through electricity. It is super efficient for the amount of energy we get out of it,” said Casorso. “That way, instead of fighting Mother Nature, we are working with her for the most part. It is a lot more efficient and reliable than it is to try to heat a steel tank with no insulation and no cover when it is minus 50 degrees (Celsius).”
Another example of Oil Boss’s ingenuity is developing a wastewater treatment facility. It is an above-ground septic system that allows water to be evaporated, which reduces trucking and disposal by roughly 90 percent, said Casorso.
Oil Boss Rentals has an in-house research team that continually evaluates the organization’s products to determine what they are missing or what could be improved. Once an idea is born then the engineering begins, the product goes through the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) process, and when approved, is offered to customers.
Being an environmentally friendly company is important to Oil Boss. As such, they have an AER-certified waste transfer station with Alberta Energy Regulator. “They hold us to standards to ensure that everything is disposed of properly . . . Then we also carry that forward and offer those same services to our customers and to our primary contractors,” Casorso said.
Challenges to the company
While the fluctuation in oil prices has hit some companies hard, Oil Boss Rentals has managed to stay afloat. Casorso attributed this to their ability to diversify, offer competitive pricing (guaranteed five-percent lower than competitors), and maintain strong customer connections.
“You need to keep looking forward and moving sideways. You need to be diversified so you are not pigeonholed into one industry group, especially within Alberta,” said Casorso. “With the majority of the industry coming from oil and gas then you definitely need to keep relationships up, (which) is our key focus. Business is built on the relationships and then with those we are able to provide the equipment and services that are needed.”
Another challenge for the company over the past almost 15 years, according to Casorso, has been finding skilled labourers. He said that though the new generation is skilled when it comes to technology, they tend to lack experience with machinery.
To assist with increasing the amount of skilled labour in the industry, Oil Boss Rentals is a member of the Petroleum Service Association of Canada (PSAC), which provides training and courses online for the company’s new hires. Together they have also developed apprenticeship programs.
Oil Boss Rentals is an attractive company to work for because they offer consistent schedules and days off — features that according to Casorso are unusual for the oil industry. They also provide competitive salaries and benefit packages.
“I think at a good portion of our competitors, (people) work until they drop for the most part,” he said. “That or when they are assigned to a piece of equipment, if that equipment is working then they are working, whereas our guys are working irregardless — there is always something for them to do.”
Giving back to the community
Oil Boss believes in being a good community partner and over the years they have contributed to many groups and organizations including Relay for Life, Rocky Kinsmen Club, Rocky Minor-Novice and Bantam teams, Rocky Rodeo, Red Deer Strive Dance Academy, and more. The company also purchased a bus that can be used for free by community groups such as local sports teams, church groups, clubs, or dance groups. “It did not make sense where you had 20 families on a team and there are 20 vehicles going in one direction,” said Casorso. “It is something that has been utilized very well.”
They are also part of First Nations joint ventures and contribute to powwow celebrations with 10 percent of Oil Boss Rentals’ gross sales going to the joint ventures. The proceeds are divvied out to the community’s hospitals, libraries, and other non-profit organizations.
Casorso said he is open to as much growth as possible. “I think the opportunities are endless, especially in our (joint venture) partnerships, and it is just a matter of being patient and being prepared because opportunities really start coming to a quality company.”
For more information, visit oilbossrentals.com.