2019’s Year in Review: A Year of Growth

A Message from the IWC Excavation Leadership Team:

With a new year comes a fresh perspective. At IWC Excavation, we like to take this time to evaluate our projects from the past year. To reflect on our achievements, and plan for both growth and improvement. With new projects increasing in complexity and scope, it’s important for us to continually define how we will succeed in delivering our projects on time, safely, and to a high standard of quality.

2019 has been our most successful year to date in terms of growth, both in the size of our company and fleet, and in the scale and complexity of the projects we’ve taken on. We want to share with you a summary of our most significant accomplishments in 2019, and how we plan to build on them throughout 2020 and beyond:

  1. Project Complexity and Scope
  2. Staff Growth and Development
  3. Equipment Investment and Improvement
  4. Safety Advancement and Commitment

In this summary, we’ll explain how these areas have contributed to our success and growth in 2019. How our investment in people, equipment, safety, and technology, has allowed our team to execute on complex projects in remote locations. At IWC, we pride ourselves in getting the hard work done the right way for our clients, and this year was a great example of that.

1. Project Complexity and Scope

It’s amazing to look back at when we first started IWC Excavation in 2006, providing excavations and backfills, that we’d expand to pursuing such complex projects on such a large scale. 2019 has been a year of unique, challenging, and exciting projects. When we look back at all we’ve achieved, we recognize how much we’ve grown as a company. Today, we can execute at the highest level in the most challenging elements.

To recap our exciting year, we want to highlight a few of the projects that really stood out to us and contributed to our growth:

Surf Grove Campground Construction

Over the course of 10 weeks, we serviced and developed 130 recreational, beachside campsites in Tofino’s Cox Bay. The scope of the project included creating a custom end-to-end solution in a challenging terrain on a shortened timeline. Services included excavation, underground utilities, and grading; all provided with minimal impact on the environment. Located on the picturesque Tofino coastline, our equipment operators and partners worked with complete care and attention, to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Wind Turbine Construction on Entrance Island

This was a truly unique and exciting project to work on, mainly due to its remote location, which is accessible only by boat or helicopter. The scope of work involved coordinating, building, and managing the structural base construction for two new wind turbines on Entrance Island. We worked with West Coast Helicopters to complete this build, flying in concrete from Berry Point on nearby Gabriola Island. The fly-time between the two locations was 10 minutes, for a total flight-time of over 6 hours to safely transport the over 16-cubic-metres of concrete required to build the structures for the wind turbines.

Madill Manufacturing Plant Redevelopment

A lengthy, detailed project that was over three years in development, we began this project with the demolition of Madill Forestry Equipment’s existing 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility, which included asbestos roof abatement and wood recycling. We also processed all concrete walls and footings into 3-inch aggregate, to be reused as gravel for new construction projects. Finally, we completed full site servicing for five new commercial lots, as well as a new roundabout and access road.

District of Port Hardy

A Federal Government project that’s been over two years in development, we recently completed Phase II of the new Port Hardy Airport, which included the installation of a new watermain upgrade. Located on Northern Vancouver Island, we were exposed to all types of weather conditions and climates.

District of Port Hardy Water Treatment Facility

For the development of a new water system for the District of Port Hardy, we provided the demolition for two existing water reservoirs, with full site servicing prep for two new water reservoirs. This also included installation of over 3,000 LM of 12-inch and 15-inch PVC pipe, and the installation of a water treatment system.

Village of Port Alice Parking Lot Upgrade

The Village of Port Alice Marina and Boat Launch required a new upgrade to their parking lot infrastructure. Scope of work included new sanitary, storm, and water services, new culverts and outlets with riprap, and new paving at the boat launch and park. Located on Northern Vancouver Island like Port Hardy, this project was challenging due to its remote location and weather constraints.

We’re grateful to work with so many general contractors that trust IWC Excavation, and that value our commitment to safety, quality, and service. Below are a few projects we’re excited to begin and continue working on in 2020, where we look forward to new opportunities that stretch us to meet our full potential:

Gold Mine Reclamation

This is a project that we’ve been working towards for a few years now. We’re already helping complete the archaeological testing, which includes exploratory trench excavation, as well as building access roads, and identifying borrow areas for capping and sealing the site. In 2020, we’ll be looking to safely excavate all contaminated soils for disposal and impoundment, to reclaim the environment for sustainable ecology.

Other projects in development for 2020 include:

  • University of Victoria – sanitary lift station upgrade.
  • City of Victoria – watermain upgrade (450 Lm of new watermain).
  • Halalt First Nation – watermain upgrade (350 Lm of new watermain).
  • Various Businesses throughout Vancouver Island – rock blasting and processing, full site servicing for multiple office buildings, warehouses, lot development.

If you’d like to be part of our growing team and work on exciting projects with the best in the industry, IWC Excavation offers excellent wages with long-term employment opportunities, an attractive benefits package, and retirement savings plan contributions.

2. Staff Growth and Development

It’s difficult to express the level of gratitude we have for our staff, whose talent, drive, and commitment have allowed us to grow to where we are today. Everybody on the team is proud of the work we do, and we appreciate the opportunity to work on it together.

Simply put: we wouldn’t be where we are today without the people we have in place.

Core Staff

We have maintained our core of over 100 employees throughout the past two years. We’ve been diligent in retaining our core staff during this timeframe, making sure we have the right people in place who share our same challenger mentality and commitment to safety.

Notable milestones for some of our key employees include:

  • Dennis Kambeitz, General Superintendent, 8 years
  • Jason Whalley, Site Superintendent, 7 years
  • Rob Ripley, Site Superintendent, 4 years
  • Kevin Couwenberg, Site Superintendent, 4 years
  • Mike Stepaniuk, Project Manager, 4 years
  • Jason Clark, Project Manager, 4 years

Leadership Team

Since developing our leadership team, along with our dedication to creating a rewarding and respectful work environment, we’ve noticed minimal staff turnover compared to five or ten years ago. With a strong leadership team in place, we’ve been able to challenge ourselves with increasingly larger, and more complex, earth-moving projects..

Seasonal Staff

Beyond our core group of staff, the spring, summer, and fall months of 2019 saw our seasonal staff increase by an additional 50 to 60 employees. This is to account for the exponential increase in projects during these busy construction months, as well as accounting for some of the remote and camp work.

New Hires

Notable new hires in 2019 include adding a new Senior Estimator, with extensive experience in highway, earth-moving, and utility projects. We also added another Project Manager and Project Coordinator to help keep our growing portfolio of projects well-organized, as well as a Fleet Coordinator to support the Service Shop and Equipment Managers with ongoing maintenance and documentation.

Now Hiring

For 2020, we’re looking to hire two additional experienced Project Managers, to complete a range of Civil Construction projects, as well as an additional Estimator. Beyond that, we’re always looking for talented, hard-working, dedicated people to join our team, so if that sounds like you and you’re interested in the work we do and the direction we’re headed, we’d like to hear from you.

3. Equipment Investment and Improvement

When we started out in 2006, we had one excavator and one backhoe. We wouldn’t be able to complete the amount or scope of projects we did throughout 2019 without owning a full fleet of equipment. And by continually adding to our fleet of over 50 pieces of heavy machinery, we’re able to complete these projects on time, even when schedules and timelines overlap.

Notable new equipment purchases include:

  • 2 CAT D6T Dozers
  • 2 Hitachi ZX 350 Excavators
  • 1 Hitachi ZX 245 Excavator
  • 1 Hitachi ZX 135 Excavator
  • 2 Bobcat Skid-Steer Loaders
  • 1 Peterbilt Lowbed Tractor
  • 1 Peterbilt Dump Truck and Quad Trailer

Another investment we made to improve our operational efficiency included adopting SiteMax construction software, allowing us to conveniently manage multiple projects at the same time. Especially for projects in remote locations, our field teams are able to submit daily reports, issue purchase orders, and manage safety compliance, all from their phone.

This investment in both equipment and software will allow us to take on more complex earth-moving projects, in more remote and challenging locations.

4. Safety Advancement And Commitment

Each year we’ve been in business, we’ve made significant advancements to safety. 2019 was no different. We completed an external COR (Certificate of Recognition) audit last year, where a qualified, third-party safety professional assessed our health, safety, and injury management systems against the BC Construction Safety Alliance COR audit standard.

We also attained SAFE Certification through the BC Forest Safety Association, which applies to work in forested terrain. This ensures our remote teams have the training and resources to complete complicated jobs in a safe, organized manner. This is a huge step for us to accept more projects in remote areas of the province, that are challenging and complex in scope.

We also upgraded the way we manage our safety documentation with SiteMax’s construction software. This keeps all our daily safety inspections, hazard reports, and our full health and safety program all in one place, conveniently organized and easily accessible.

By leading with a culture of safety, we’re able to attract, train, retain, and develop the best staff available, who perform better on the jobsite. As a result of our strict self-auditing and accountability process, we’ve been able to reduce incidents and injuries, deliver a high standard of quality, and meet deadlines with consistency.

Thank You for Over 14 Years of Support

IWC wouldn’t be where it is today without the continual support of industry leaders, who believed in us and gave us the opportunities to do great things. We are forever grateful for the advice and camaraderie we’ve received from people we consider mentors, who have instilled the confidence necessary to aim as high as we do.

And so, in the spirit of giving back, we want to reiterate what we’ve learned, so that other entrepreneurs that are starting out can enjoy the same success that we’ve had:

  1. Make no mistake, your people will be your greatest asset. Invest in your team early and often. Grant them your trust, treat them with respect, reward them for their accomplishments, and allow them every opportunity to reach their full potential. Our investment in our people is what has allowed us to retain and grow our team of dedicated employees, and IWC wouldn’t be where we are now without them.
  2. Make safety your number one jobsite priority. A culture of safety shows your team that you care about them above everything else. Safety will also your greatest teacher, where you’ll learn how to form good day-to-day habits, and how to be prepared for any obstacle that comes your way. A team that prioritizes safety respect themselves, each other, and the communities they live and work in. Safe workers become reliable, consistent, and efficient.
  3. Put in the time to challenge yourself and your team. IWC wouldn’t be where it is today if we weren’t continually looking for new opportunities, that pushed us to learn new capabilities and reach new heights. Listen to your employees at every level, and encourage the exploration of new ideas. Our challenger mindset is the reason we’ve be able to complete an increasing amount and scope of complicated earth-moving projects over the years

Thank you all again, to all our employees, partners, and clients, for supporting us throughout 2019. We look forward to building on our success in 2020, sharing our accomplishments and what we’ve learned as we continue to grow!

If you have a challenging earth-moving project coming up that you’d like to talk to us about, or if you’d like to learn more about any of the information we provided above, please reach out to connect with us at any time.