Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 20, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why AltaGas Ltd. was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2018):
- AltaGas helps employees prepare for the future with contributions to a defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan (depending on employee group) and retirement planning assistance -- additionally, the company offers phased-in work hours for those nearing retirement and extends health coverage to retirees
- AltaGas invests in ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions (to $24,000), subsidies for professional accreditation, and financial bonuses for some course completions
- AltaGas supports a number of charitable organizations each year, focusing on health and social services, education and sponsorship initiatives (that offer access to the arts) -- additionally, the company matches employee pledge donations to United Way, to a maximum of $100,000 each year
AltaGas growth generates new opportunities for career development
AltaGas has come a long way since it was founded in Calgary in 1994, with just 21 employees. Today it is a diversified energy infrastructure company with interests in gas, power and utilities that employs over 1,600 -- and it is poised to grow again with the proposed $8.4 billion purchase of Washington D.C.-based WGL Holdings, Inc.
Fast growth means plenty of opportunity. "We have operations across Canada and in the U.S., so this is a great place to grow your career," says Michelle Dulmadge, Director People and Corporate Services, who started as a receptionist on a two-week assignment and 19 years later says she has never felt the need to go elsewhere to advance.
AltaGas places a high value on employee development, whether it's learning new skills on the job or returning to school with the help of an education grant worth up to $24,000 a year. It also provides a challenging, two-year New Graduate Development Program. After finishing university in B.C. with an engineering degree and an interest in renewable energy, Thomas Elgie returned to his native Calgary to enter the program. It was part homecoming, part eye-opening.
Elgie rotated through four of the company's key business segments, travelling across Alberta, B.C. and Nova Scotia. "I've had great mentors and learned more on the job than I ever anticipated. Nothing is a drill -- we're working on the real thing," he says. Elgie's passion for renewable energy remains, but the operations engineer is now also motivated by the bigger picture.
"It's about more than renewables, it's about decreasing the overall carbon footprint of energy," he says. In Halifax, Elgie worked on a natural gas storage project that will help reduce reliance on heating oil. "Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel. It has economic and environmental benefits," he says.
With many employees in high-risk professions in remote areas, AltaGas supports STARS air ambulance, as well as local communities it operates in. It also matches employee donations to United Way up to $100,000 a year.
"We work hard and we drive for results," says Dulmadge. "But we take time to acknowledge our successes and have fun." Family events include the AltaGas Cup show jumping at Spruce Meadows and the Calgary Stampede.
Elgie joins his colleagues for ultimate Frisbee in summer, stair running in winter, or just to stroll Calgary's walkways and grab a coffee. "We're very social," he says. "We tackle challenges together and we have a lot of fun."