January 19, 2018
Local manufacturers are building on their growth from 2017 while exploring new opportunities.
While the bulk of Medicine Hat fabricators’ invoices are made out to the oil and gas industry, they are branching into other sectors and plan to continue with those new projects in 2018.
A relatively new business in Medicine Hat’s fabrication sub-sector, Red Arc Manufacturing moved into a vacant building in Brier Park Industrial Estates in 2017. Within six months, co-owners Dustin Ziegenhagel and Ryan Hazelaar have hired eight tradespeople and expanded the shop’s footprint from 9,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet.
Red Arc specializes in fabricated metal products with a client base that includes clients in oil and gas, and military defence. As they continue to grow, they have their eyes set on expanding into the construction sector.
“We could easily add more journeyman welders and we will eventually be looking for a machinist,” says Ziegenhagel. “Our business grew quickly last year and now we are focused on stable growth.”
Red Arc isn’t the only manufacturer experiencing growth. Dynamic Industrial Solutions was looking for more welders in 2017 to help with the fabrication side of the business.
“Last year was great and 2018 is shaping up to be a good year, too,” says Harold Scholz, operations manager.
After building eight 40 million BTU frac heaters in 2017, Dynamic already has orders for four in 2018, which will be delivered before the end of February.
Like Red Arc, Dynamic is also looking to diversify. The search continues for mechanics to keep up with the company’s move into Volvo servicing. Dynamic is the only service centre for heavy duty Volvo trucks between Regina and Calgary and a journeyman mechanic would have the opportunity to get certified.
Red Arc and Dynamic’s growth is indicative of Alberta’s manufacturing sector, which experienced a sales and employment recovery in 2017, according to ATB Financial. The bank reported that 124,500 Albertans worked in manufacturing as of November 2017, an increase of 14.2% compared to the previous year.
Economists are also forecasting a year of steady growth for Alberta’s economy in 2018. The Royal Bank of Canada expects the economy will reach a “cruising speed” and grow by 2.3%.
2017 was certainly a good year for Medicine Hat’s fabricators, mirroring a trend seen across Alberta. Optimism for 2018 means manufacturers will carry on with an eye on managing sustainable growth.