Celebrating 65 Years as Canada’s Choice for Industrial Coating

Park Derochie
Written by William Young

Park Derochie, a Canadian industrial coating service provider, was formed in 1956 by namesakes Jim Park and Merle Derochie. For its first few years, the company was primarily concerned with commercial painting but, around 1959, Merle Derochie had an opportunity to paint tanks for the Bowden refinery in Alberta. Thanks to this, the company pivoted into performing painting and industrial coating and, through other service opportunities, began to make its name as the provider it is today.

Now sixty-five years after its inception, Park Derochie is the largest industrial coating company in Canada.

Merle Derochie would later buy the company out from Jim Park shortly after but kept the dual-branded name. In 2008, Jeff Granberg and Mark Walker purchased the company outright, with Granberg as its majority owner.

Park Derochie offers services in its primary areas, shop coatings and field industrial coating, abrasive blasting, and intumescent and cementitious fireproofing. Park Derochie now includes further specialized services within industrial coating, like tank linings, high pressure water jetting, vapour blasting, metalizing, fibre glass work, and carbon fibre repairs, which are carried across Canada in various client facilities.

The company started performing mechanical piping and equipment insulation around 2005, as Park Derochie Canada, President Doug Barker remembers, with a further expansion into scaffolding in 2010, entering a partnership with Swedish scaffolding company HAKI in 2018 to become a North American distributor and installer of HAKI products.

Barker states that while Park Derochie never originally intended to offer the standalone services it does today, all these services supplement its main areas, with part of its identity revolving around working for itself while allowing the space to do direct work for owners and clients alike.

Over the last decade or so, Park Derochie has expanded across Western Canada. In 2010, the company established an office in Saskatchewan in a move Barker oversaw, and relocated from Edmonton to Saskatoon, and then expanded into Manitoba. The move was coupled with the introduction of new services like spray foam insulation, fire-stopping, fibre-glassing, and carbon fibre wrap. Additional expansions into British Columbia and Ontario have also taken place, and other work opportunities have seen the company provide services into the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

The company has also continued to grow in markets in the United States over the past four to five years, where it predominantly offered industrial blasting and coating, fireproofing, and myriad other services around Oklahoma and Texas.

Finally, Park Derochie is a member of the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC) and is the only company in Canada with QP1, QP3, and QP6 certifications, denoting shop coating, field coating, and metallizing, respectively. Park Derochie is one of only six companies globally with QP6 certification.

Barker attributes the company’s success over the past sixty-five years to “great ownership and good leadership,” explaining that the owners have always been close with the workforce and have always put a lot back into the company in the form of adding new equipment and technology and continuing to provide both internal and external training for employees at every level. Barker has had a long history with Park Derochie, initially serving in its fireproofing division decades ago before later returning as Manager of Business Development. He also worked as a Project Manager in 2003 and eventually became President of Park Derochie Canada, giving him a unique perspective on the company’s history.

The company’s roster features many union employees with long tenures like Barker, a sign of a workplace culture where, as a result of solid leadership and an open-door policy for communication, everyone feels good serving under the Park Derochie name. Many of these employees know what goes into a successful project and can be secure in the company’s ability to support them in providing the best service.

Barker mentions that a particular point of pride for the company is its involvement in its local communities, especially with the Indigenous communities of Western and Central Canada. Over the past five years, the company’s Saskatchewan office has employed a 25 percent Indigenous workforce, with Indigenous, Visible minority, and Female employment up over 40 percent and many of those persons in prominent company positions.

Park Derochie maintains important and valued relationships with the Pasqua and Metis First Nations and has recently established a partnership with an Ontario Indigenous partner, Cree Quest Corp, which represents three First Nations in northern Ontario. In British Columbia, partnerships and joint ventures include Haisla First Nation, Gitga’at First Nation, and Cheam First Nation, and the company continues to look at other First Nations to partner with. Barker outlines that in the past five years, Park Derochie has paid out over $30 million in wages to its Indigenous labour force. Park Derochie believes it is important to provide equal opportunity for our people and by hiring Indigenous people this puts money right in their jeans. Barker believes that by putting money directly into the jeans of the employee, this allows these individuals to become self-sufficient and help support their communities directly.

The company also gladly offers its financial backing and volunteering for local initiatives to provide backpacks with school supplies and sports equipment to underprivileged and Indigenous school children. It also speaks with youth at trade shows and in-school programs about the potential opportunities waiting in the building trades. In today’s marketplace, Park Derochie’s commitment to community, and especially to its local Indigenous communities, is something of a rarity.

As with so many businesses across North America, Park Derochie was hit with difficulties around the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Despite marking the tenth anniversary of the Saskatchewan office last year, it was hardly able to celebrate as workers were kept busy at every turn. Throughout the pandemic Park Derochie continued to work from its offices and remained active on job sites.

This March marked the sixty-fifth anniversary of Park Derochie, and there is much post-COVID regrouping happening after some necessary changes, such as the seemingly ubiquitous switch across all industries to Microsoft Teams and Zoom-led meetings. As a company Park Derochie continues to be an industry leader and has seen some new contracts with its multiple services capabilities. In the new world currently, the strength of ‘One Call One Contractor’ certainly has its benefit. Barker observes that the entire industry is still in recovery mode, and the effects of COVID-19 are still being measured.

“Some of our project dates were pushed back,” he says, “and some provinces have been quicker to recover than others.” The company has been forced to contend with an uncertain economy as investments in oil and gas have come down in the past year, and slowness persists in pockets of work. Despite these challenges, Barker and the company are observing positive activity in certain provinces and the strong likelihood of business picking up by Q3 2021.

As the second half of 2021 proceeds, Park Derochie will be looking to celebrate the things it has not been able to do throughout the past year and a half, from office anniversaries to the victory of provinces opening up. The company will be pulling all its groups across the country together to find new opportunities in different markets and more ways to sell its multi-service programs. Barker has noticed that there is more of an appetite for multi-service companies after the pandemic, as it is now favourable to have a singular company handle several different jobs for the sake of consistency.

The company will explore some non-traditional work that it can potentially add to its service roster and will continue supporting its innovation team and sharing expertise across provinces to sell its trademark “Best in Class Services” and determine where to deploy its best workers.

Park Derochie has built its brand on the principles of a strong work ethic, commitment to customer satisfaction, development of a skilled and dedicated workforce, and the belief that loyalty begets loyalty. The company has never faltered from these, Barker attests. “When we do a job, our work ethic is peerless. We don’t need to be managed; we price things to build a relationship and move forward.” These principles summarize the lessons learned over six decades of business and hint toward how the company will conduct business as it looks forward to the next great milestone.

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