From clear blue summer skies to darkened, snowy winter days, Glen Noseworthy has made the same daily commute on Highway 63 between Fort McMurray to Syncrude’s Mildred Lake site for the past 17 years.
And while the decal on Glen’s company truck has changed during that time, his commitment has remained consistent. “You work safely and effectively to deliver real value as a contractor,” says Glen, who now oversees about roughly 450 workers as BrandSafway Infinity’s site manager. “That value hasn’t changed even though the name on the door is new.”
BrandSafway Infinity – a partnership between the multinational industrial services provider and Infinity Métis Corporation, the business arm of the McMurray Métis Local 1935 – signed a five-year agreement with Syncrude last month to provide scaffolding, insulation, sandblasting, coatings, fireproofing, rope access and refractory largely in the Mildred Lake upgrading complex.
The new partners share common values. “We came together with Infinity Métis because it was a great fit,” says Ken Sandmoen, BrandSafway Infinity’s director and general manager. “BrandSafway, which used to operate under other names, most notably as Aluma Systems and Safway Services, has had a presence on Syncrude’s sites for more than 20 years.
Outside the plant gate, we are committed to the Wood Buffalo region and the community of Fort McMurray. We sponsor a lot of minor sports teams and school trips.
– Ken sandmoen
“You’ll see our staging and fencing so the public have safe access for different events around the region. Our employees volunteer in the community because they live and work here. And both Infinity Métis and Syncrude share those values.”
The contract will also see benefits for members of McMurray Métis Local 1935. “When we partner with a corporation such as BrandSafway, they help our community by providing training, education and other opportunities, such as summer employment for students so they can be exposed to the opportunities provided by industry,” says Shawn Myers, CEO for Infinity Métis Corporation, which has partnerships with eight other corporations.
It’s not just about making money. It’s about helping the Métis communities in this region prosper and grow. We want to be leaders in building this region and industry.
– Shawn Myers
And while our primary focus is always going to be here, having a partner with a large presence across the country can help us provide opportunities for Indigenous people outside the region as well.”
The new contract is part of Syncrude’s increased focus in seeking opportunities with Indigenous-owned businesses, including partnerships such as BrandSafway Infinity.
“It fits into our larger goal of ensuring Indigenous people in Wood Buffalo share in the opportunities created by oil sands development, which includes developing businesses that can supply goods and services,” says Doug Webb, Syncrude’s Business Liaison. “Syncrude has invested significantly in the growth and success of many Indigenous companies in the Wood Buffalo region. We now do business with more than 50 such suppliers.
We are committed to working with our suppliers to improve their competitiveness so we all have a sustainable future.
– Doug Webb
Syncrude has spent nearly $5 billion with Indigenous vendors since 1992, including a record $672 million in 2020. “We also recognize the importance of local suppliers to the region as we’re based here, too,” Doug says. “And it’s good to work with local companies who understand the industry.”
BrandSafway Infinity also recognizes it’s important to deliver value. “We share Syncrude’s commitments on operating safely, responsibly, reliably and profitably,” Ken says. “Delivering on that will ensure both Syncrude and BrandSafway Infinity continue to succeed for the next five years and beyond.”
And that’s something that remains uppermost in Glen’s mind as he drives down the highway to work every day. “Every one of us brings that value by working safely and effectively on every task on every shift,” he says. “When you do that, you can feel very good when you leave through the plant gate at the end of the day.”