Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 19, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Valard Construction LP was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
- Valard Construction lets everyone share in the company's success with profit-sharing and offers a number of additional financial benefits, including signing bonuses for some, generous referral bonuses of up to $5,000, and discounted company products and services
- Valard Construction offers a wellness spending account of $500 per year to encourage employees to partake in wellness-related activities outside of the office
- Along with supporting ongoing employee development, Valard Construction supports the education of the next generation with academic scholarships for children of employees, to $1,000 per child
Safety is top priority for rapidly growing Valard
As a stringing supervisor with Valard, Kass Shilleto practises one of the most dangerous trades in the world - stringing and securing overhead power transmission lines across large distances.
"You literally trust your life to the people you work with," says Shilleto, who joined Valard 11 years ago. "As a result, you have each other's back and you become like family."
At Valard, you also learn early on that safety is your top priority.
"Safety comes first," Shilleto says. "Take it easy, take it slow, and production will follow. I learned that from my construction manager and I pass it along to all our new hires."
As the largest utility contractor in Canada, Valard has the expertise and resources to take on any project, of any size and complexity, anywhere in the country. Founded in 1978 (incorporated in 1979), the company has grown rapidly over the past decade; Valard currently has about 3,000 employees.
Throughout all that growth, the company's operating values have remained consistent, says Adam Budzinski, president and CEO.
"Our original values statement was put forward by my dad, when he was CEO," Budzinski says. "It said: 'Everything, everywhere. Safety, quality, productivity. Don't stop growing.' "That sounds like a bit of a haiku, but it pretty accurately reflects our mission and values. We are willing to take on anything within our expertise in any region. But we will never do anything to compromise quality and safety."
The biggest challenge of growth, Budzinski says, is maintaining a close-knit workplace culture. While the company's headquarters are in Edmonton and its major project office is in Calgary, most of Valard's operations are in remote areas across Canada.
A former field worker himself, Budzinski makes a point of meeting regularly with frontline employees. "I like hearing from diverse points of views," he says. "It helps me make better decisions and it reassures employees that upper management is engaged in what they are doing and in helping them succeed."
Shilleto, who joined the company as a labourer, credits Valard with giving him the training, guidance and support to earn his apprenticeship and move up through the ranks to his current supervisory role.
"The opportunities at Valard are endless," he says. "You're paid well and you get to see the country. I've worked from British Columbia to Labrador and my co-workers in all of those places are now some of my best friends."