Galvanize Better

Written by William Young

Corbec is a Canadian family-owned galvanizing company now approaching 60 years in business. Founded in 1965 by Robert Hall, the company is now owned by his son John.

Company President, Nick Papas, recounts how Corbec grew from one small plant in a rented warehouse in Montreal to now operating five large state-of-the-art facilities, many of them automated. Three of these plants dominate the Quebec galvanizing market and the company’s more recent facilities have expanded its reach into the Maritimes and Ontario.

Papas affirms: “Always striving to do better is what brought us our success.”

Galvanizing is the process of creating a surface alloy of pure zinc on steel structures and components that are at risk of corrosion. The result is an unbeatable value equation, one that provides exceptional durability and long service life at a cost similar to or lower than lower-performing paint systems.

“Galvanizing protects our national infrastructure from corrosion, ensuring an exceptionally long and nearly maintenance-free service life.”

The company’s slogan is simply “Galvanize Better,” reflecting its expertise in the field and its desire to continually raise industry standards. According to Vice President of Sales, Marc Burrows, “Corbec’s prime purpose is to provide customers with trouble-free galvanizing services, providing them with the utmost in quality along with reliable service.”

For Corbec, the team is happiest when developing products side-by-side with their customer partners, an approach that has brought them a loyal clientele.

“We strive to develop partnerships with customers. We want to help them develop and grow their industries by supporting their need for product diversification,” Burrows says.

To this end, the Corbec team serves as an integral partner in a client’s product offer as opposed to an afterthought in the overall process—a spot to which galvanization is sometimes relegated.

A national name
“Corbec is a recognizable name in the industry, and we want to work on our visibility across Canada,” Papas says. The result is a new emphasis on marketing, starting with the launch of a new website at the beginning of June.

In all aspects, Corbec is ably meeting the challenge of national growth, with Papas and company very confident in their ability to become a recognized market leader.

Papas muses on the question of why galvanizing is therefore not better known and its use more widespread.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint one answer, but to be blunt, we as an industry must look at ourselves and admit that in an era of renewed push for environmental sustainability, we may have not been showcasing the benefits of galvanizing over other corrosion protection methods. As an industry, we also must be committed to modernizing our plants to take advantage of new technologies; this is one aspect where Corbec has made the commitment.”

Burrows expands on the Corbec difference. “[It’s] not just modern automated facilities, but also an unparalleled depth of specialized personnel to assist our clients. We provide support, from galvanizing compatible products right through to support for any kind of technical challenges that might occur in the process.”

Similarly, Papas points out another Corbec difference, stewardship. Corbec plants are unique in Canada in the extent to which their design protects both our environment and its employees.

“Looking at our new Hamilton facility, for example, the plant design incorporates millions of dollars of technology that isolates all the pre-treatment process from employees. These systems ensure excellent air quality both inside and outside the plant as well as redundant measures that ensure no contaminants ever reach the soil or aquifers. We are the only galvanizer in Canada that has this level of environmental and safety stewardship.”

2022 saw the opening in Hamilton of the largest and most automated galvanizing plant in North America. This major venture signals Corbec’s commitment to better serve the Ontario galvanizing market.

“Supporting all the company’s facilities are the most advanced information and process control systems in the industry. This allows Corbec to raise the standard of galvanizing service for our Canadian customers.”

Similarly, the recently acquired Corbec plant in Halifax is slated for a major expansion and modernization, ensuring an even higher level of service, capacity, and quality in the future.

Spirited 60
Burrows points out that despite Corbec approaching 60 years of service, the company embodies the spirit of a start-up with its commitment to continuous improvement.

“We follow through on our commitments to customers by investing in our people, in our plants, and in our technologies.”

Perhaps Papas sums it up best by saying that, “Galvanize Better” is the ultimate litmus test for any decision the company may make going forward: “Does it advance our ultimate goal of delivering added value to our customers?”

The way forward looks bright, as Corbec enters its sixth decade of operations, as enthusiastic and positive as ever about its future.



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