Edmonton’s Rally Engineering is a multi-discipline engineering company launched in 2006 to service the Alberta energy industry. Due to its early success, the company has since diversified its workforce beyond Alberta. In 2012 it created an office in Fredericton, New Brunswick, home to one of the largest concentrations of engineers per capita in Canada.

VP of Business Development, Gord Crawford, says the company saw opportunity in New Brunswick both to tap into a skilled workforce and find work beyond the energy sector.

“The oil industry can be volatile; things get very busy, then get fairly slow. Having an eastern office able to tackle more stable sectors had great appeal. Fortunately, the New Brunswick workforce is highly capable; they’re familiar with Canadian codes and winter conditions, and have been a pleasure to work with.”

ONB spoke with Crawford to learn more.

ONB: Why choose New Brunswick for investment? 

Crawford: It began with a designer who served as our Piping Design department head for a time. He was a Fredericton native and had worked at a local engineering firm for years before relocating to Alberta. He made us aware of the talent pool in Fredericton. We looked into the region and saw potential to land both local work and an opportunity to support Alberta work from the East. It all came together from there.

You work with ONB now, but a New Brunswick expat really did the work in bringing you here. 

That’s true. ONB wasn’t involved in the early going, though you’re a partner now as we plan for growth. New Brunswick’s people ultimately sold the province themselves. Once we investigated, we knew the human resources we needed were there.

Safe to say that our workforce is the biggest advantage the company has seen here?

The big draw was that capable workforce, no doubt. New Brunswick fit well with our corporate culture of keeping things simple, working hard, and doing a great job. We found our company values reflected in the great people we’ve found here.

The company has plans to continue its Fredericton growth. Tell us about that.

There’s a lot of pressure on the industry, both here and abroad, to look for ways to diversify our workforce and expand our talent pools. Rally would prefer to do so in Canada rather than outside. Many engineering companies—certainly foreign multinationals—look to places like India or China to expand their labour pool. We are very much committed to a made-in-Canada solution.

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) produces an incredible amount of engineering talent, so that’s an asset for us. We will certainly hire some new grads, but a significant portion of our talent will be junior, intermediate, and senior engineers. We require a wide range of skilled workers, so we maintain relationships with both the University as well as the Community Colleges.

Those clients being supported from New Brunswick, where are they?

We currently do work with major NB companies like Irving Pulp & Paper, McCain Foods, and AV Group in Nackawic, as well as with smaller local businesses in Fredericton.

When we opened the NB office it was doing work mostly for Alberta while we built new local relationships. Now it’s moving toward a 50/50 split. That’s good as it allows us to keep both locations busy. We need that flexibility to help ensure we can keep people employed in a sustainable way.

What’s next for Rally Engineering?

There’s been a tentative recovery in the oil and gas sector. That should get everyone busier, including our New Brunswick office. Our efforts to develop relationships with New Brunswick industry are gaining traction every day. We’re getting more requests for estimates from companies like McCain, Irving, and more. We are gaining real momentum here, so we are focused on a conservative expansion of the Fredericton office. This all depends largely on the energy sector of course, but it looks like positive things ahead for us.

Written by Jason Boies

Images: Rally Engineering