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By Donovan Nielsen, P.Eng., President, Scovan

What makes a GREAT company? What allows for that great company to truly make an impact and be able to realize their Purpose or Vision? How do we create organizations to meet the needs of today and the opportunity of tomorrow?

Vision. Grit. Agility and Timing.

When we founded Scovan in 2010, it was with the intention to do things differently. We recognized that the industry and the world at large were changing and we saw the opportunity to approach projects for the energy sector from a new perspective. We wanted the ability to chart our own course, to create a strong vision for the future, and to disrupt the industry for the better.

With most great technologies and innovations, success hinges on timing. Look at Airbnb, Uber, Google or any company that is a case study on how to successfully innovate and disrupt an entire industry. It is seldom that the most successful business is the first to conceive or market a new concept. Rather it’s the convergence of several societal and industry-specific factors and the availability of the critical elements required for success. This is what we are seeing in the energy sector. A collective drive to be better. An emphasis on environmental, social and governance applications. And the availability of technology that supports what we want to do, how we want to do it and the innovation surrounding it. The timing for real change is now.

We founded Scovan nearly 13 years ago and since then we have been pursuing our vision of A New Energy and creating a project solutions company that our industry wants today and will need for tomorrow. We started off with a commercial model and fit-for-purpose application to the engineering world where our services were sold based on the value being offered and not by the hour. Scovan was focused on becoming experts in our target market and offering services based on outcomes, results, and at the heart of it, solutions to challenges. But this was only the beginning. 

In 2012, Scovan acquired Strive Engineering to expand our services, expertise and offerings for gas processing. In 2018 we created Hive Innovations as a central hub of EPFC services that was focused on offering turnkey solutions and innovative, integrated projects in the oil sands. Next, we purchased the long-standing fabrication company, Gemini Fabrication, who’s 40-year track record allowed our group to have direct control in executing quality products for our clients. We created our internal culture of innovation with our commitment to Fresh Fridays and invested into transformative technologies that include HipVap and ORSIL and programs such as PadX. In 2022 we hit another milestone, growing into one united organization with a combined track record of thousands of successfully completed projects across Western Canada. And in doing that, we renewed our focus in collaboratively developing the next generation of standardized, modular, sustainable and intelligent solutions for the emerging energy industry, allowing Scovan to respond to the ever-changing energy landscape. 

Our company is realizing the opportunity of tomorrow through the people we are hiring, in the processes we are developing, in the emphasis we put on our culture, and in the technologies we are developing. Our vertically integrated model and our investment into people and products is our commitment to making projects better. Vision. Grit. Agility and Timing.

I’ll be the first to admit that Scovan is not perfect and that there are many opportunities to continue to improve. The last 9-12 months have seen an unprecedented ramp up in the industry and all workplaces are re-evaluating what the future looks like. Workplaces do not have an established play book on how to navigate the combination of new working arrangements, an extremely competitive labour market, supply chain challenges, and rapid inflation all at the same time. We are all forced to figure things out one day at time and to work together to remain aligned. New challenges pop up every single day, and sometimes these distract us from other important tasks, but Scovan is working extremely hard and remains 100% committed to meeting the demands of our industry. Vision, grit, and agility are more important now than ever before.

However, great things happened over the course of the last year. This includes:

  • Demonstrating our agility in our project planning to support project schedules that became very aggressive in nature due to market conditions. We weren’t perfect all the time, but we adjusted to achieve targets that many would deem unreasonable.
  • We pivoted to adjust to market conditions in order to minimize the impact on schedule and costs. Sometimes this required us to change our approach, or tweak our design, or to have conversations with our clients about how to best achieve the objectives of their projects.
  • We hired several absolute rock stars that are well on their way to reaching their full potential and that are impacting the future of our organization. These people, combined with the already exceptional staff at Scovan, represent the future of the industry.
  • We re-organized the structure of our company to better support the types of projects we are focused on. This included realizing that we can’t apply the same expectations to all projects and be successful. Different types of projects require a different type of fit-for-service approach.
  • We relaunched our Fresh Fridays to be intentional about investing into personal career development, to build the bonds of trust that result in a strong sense of team, to accelerate the onboarding of new staff, and to be intentional about getting better every single day.
  • And ultimately, we re-aligned our businesses under a single brand (Scovan + Gemini) to drive unity, alignment, and improve communication and productivity knowing that this has the greatest potential to impact the value we offer on projects in the short term.

Disruption for the better is core to who we are. And while the last couple of years came with a lot of uncertainty, we took steps to improve the value of what we offer. Scovan continues to be bullish on the future of our industry and the role that Alberta will play in emerging energy.

Scovan is investing into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning to accelerate schedules, improve quality, and create the future of digital projects. We are now over three years into our commitment to this technology and have dedicated resources accountable for progressing this. Scovan is using AI to create structured databases and automate the creation of digital twins by simply scanning our P&ID’s. This includes the automation of Line Lists, Equipment Lists, Instrument Indices, Single Line Diagrams, Fugitive Emission Reports, and more. The short-term victory is improved efficiency and automation of engineering deliverables. The long-term opportunity is creating a digital platform that plans, measures, predicts and optimizes performance to reduce emissions and make you more money.

We doubled down on our investment into industry programs like PadX. Scovan progressed PadX designs, ordered new inventory, and are taking steps towards first production of on-spec modules in January 2023. This program has more importance now than ever before through standardization, securing of long lead equipment, agility in execution, reduced pricing, allowing everyone to elevate their most precious commodity – people to solve more pressing challenges, and shorter project timeframes. The program will allow us to further reduce our engineering fee by nearly 40% on PadX well pad projects.

And we formally began the commercial demonstration of our revolutionary Produced Water Boiler technology called Hipvap. The results of the early testing are encouraging, but regardless of the outcome it demonstrates Scovan’s commitment to innovation and improving the long-term success of your projects. We remain committed to being innovative and being intentional about bringing new solutions to you and your team.

Our vision is to play a significant role in the current and future success of our industry. Scovan is being intentional to create an organization that meets the needs of today and the opportunity of tomorrow. Thanks for being part of it.

Originally published in Scovan’s IGNITE Vol. 5