Partnerships in the oil field
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“We definitely pride ourselves on the safety aspect of our business.” – Lee Wilson

Success stories in the Oil Sands: Lee and Chris Wilson

Getting it done safely and on time

For the owners of Birch Mountain Enterprises Ltd., the only thing more important than getting the job done on time is getting it done safely,  says Lee Wilson, one of three owners of the Fort McKay-based trucking services company.

In seven years Birch Mountain hasn’t had a single lost time injury; something Wilson believes is an enormous accomplishment considering the gritty nature of working in the oil and gas sector.

Wilson started the business along with his younger brother Chris Wilson and partner Ivan Bouchier in 2005. The company has grown a lot, and the fleet includes everything from high pressure steam trucks to hydrovac units to water carriers.

All three of the owners grew up as members of Fort McKay First Nation, and Birch Mountain employs about 70 per cent aboriginals.

The company was an early success, and won the Premier’s Award for Young Entrepreneurs in 2007. “It was an accomplishment we didn’t really expect at the time, being a fairly new business, but it was very rewarding,” Wilson says. He attributes his success to the owners’ ability to work as a single unit. “It’s just a matter of me, Ivan and Chris pulling our experience together.”

But their success didn’t come easy. As certified heavy-duty mechanics, Wilson and his brother were quite familiar with heavy industrial machinery, but needed to learn the mechanics of each individual truck in the fleet. That meant earning their class 1 and 3 driver’s licenses as well as learning the trucks’ specific engine specifications to help out on the maintenance side of the business. “We took it upon ourselves to learn the trucks inside and out,” Wilson says. “There isn’t any one unit in our fleet that one of us can’t operate.”

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