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AlumaSafway: Delivering Industrial Excellence For The Region

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When Aluma Systems Industrial Services and Safway Canada, two well-known multi-service industry providers merged this June, they did it for multiple reasons. Having obvious synergies was one, but a shared passion for community support was a driving force as well.

Founded in 1972, Aluma is based in Kennesaw, Georgia. It operates as part of Brand Energy and Infrastructure Services since 2005. With headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, Aluma opened its local branch in the mid-1980s and built its reputation on delivering turnkey equipment rental and erection and dismantling services to Canada’s petrochemical and power industries. From plant construction and shutdowns to industrial maintenance projects, Aluma provides work access, insulation, and coating services.

An industry leader since 1936, Safway provides scaffold and access, as well as insulation and coatings services to commercial construction, elevator, infrastructure (bridges, railroads, airports, shipping ports, stadiums, and arenas), manufacturing, marine, petrochemical, power, and oil and gas customers. Safway began operating in Canada in 2002, with executive offices in Calgary and corporate headquarters in Edmonton. The local branch started in 2005. The group has 115 locations in North America; and is headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

According to the merger press release, “at closing, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2017, the combined business will have annual sales of approximately $5-billion.”

Aluma has an estimated 1,200 Employees in Fort McMurray, over 1,000 of whom are tradespeople. During peak seasons, the number of Aluma employees can increase to as many as 1,600. The number of Safway Canada employees in the Fort McMurray region fluctuates between 800 and 1,000.

By working together, the new AlumaSafway will support customers’ maintenance, turnaround and refurbishment needs as well as new construction, capital-driven upgrades and expansion plans. AlumaSafway, which is part of Brand Industrial Services (known as BrandSafway), delivers high-performance multi-service solutions and boasts expertise in access, scaffolding, insulation, fireproofing, coatings, and forming and shoring.

Ken Sandmoen is Aluma’s General Manager for the Wood Buffalo region. He has been overseeing the local merger, and explains more on both companies coming together.

“As our clients gained a more global consolidated presence, both Aluma and Safway wanted to do the same. Our ownership was looking for someone with the same priorities – safety, service, and efficiency, Safway was a natural fit. Both Aluma and Safway focus on safety first and foremost. Keeping employees and customers safe is at the heart of everything we do. We tell our employees that their most important job is to keep themselves – and everyone else – safe on site,” noted Sandmoen.

Kathleen Furlong, Multi-Branch Manager with Safway agrees, adding, “both companies develop unique products for the major oil sands companies, which now makes us stronger as a corporation.”

The unique products are a result of both companies boasting extensive Research & Development departments, which integrate products to provide innovative insulation, coating, and blasting technologies.

“This means our customers now have access to two world class companies to serve them. We will continue to better service the industrial market,” adds Sandmoen, who has been with Aluma for 13 years, and a Fort McMurray resident for two years.

Speaking of Fort McMurray, as aforementioned, both companies are actively engaged in giving back to the community. Whether it is minor sports, The United Way of Fort McMurray, or education, helping sundry causes remains a priority. 

“Aluma makes sure globally to be involved in any community we are in. We support minor sports teams, because our employees have kids too, who are the future of AlumaSafway,” explains Mike Mayuk, who is the Area Project Manager for the Wood Buffalo region, and joined Aluma in 2001.

Fostering this sense of community was crucial to the merger too. Both companies ensured the merger was led by local residents.

“We are not a fly in fly out leadership group. We want to make this a community for all of us. The merger does not change our community support, it enhances it,” added Sandmoen, who has been in town for two years, and sits on the United Way of Fort McMurray’s board.

“One of the first conversations we had when the merger discussion started was about the community. We enjoy giving back. Fort McMurray is our home. Safway has sponsored multiple events, and programs around town. Aluma had a similar approach. Whether it’s schools, Keyano College, or sports – with AlumaSafway – all of this is going to get stronger,” Furlong adds.

Another aspect of supporting the community is working toward growing a long-term and stable local workforce. AlumaSafway is focused on getting more high school graduates into industrial service trades.

“Many of our employees are raising families in town. We have strong roots in the region.”

“We want to give these high school graduates stable employment year-round now that we have access to AlumaSafway’s combined client we serve,” notes Sandmoen.

For Mayuk, who was born and raised in Fort McMurray making him a 35-year resident, it’s also about fostering a healthy lifestyle for employees.

“We’ve been huge supporters of MacDonald Island - helping Canada’s largest community recreation, leisure and social centre. I’ve sat on their board and helped lead the Northern Kickoff in 2015. Our philosophy – to pay it forward – can be seen with many initiatives we support,” Mayuk continues.

And, as AlumaSafway does just that Sandmoen wraps it up well, “We believe in strengthening Fort McMurray by raising awareness of different causes, and providing personal commitment to help make a difference. We want to give our employees a life, and a lifestyle so together we can thrive in the community.”


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.