Campus Life

Local companies investing in southern Alberta’s future

The University of Lethbridge’s new Science and Academic Building is set to be the home of innovation for southern Alberta and beyond. The most sustainable building on the Lethbridge campus to date, the building will also showcase the work of some of southern Alberta’s most skilled trades and services.

Derochie Painting Ltd. is just one of many local companies who were awarded a contract on the building. Owner and operator, Bob Derochie, says being involved with a project of the new Science and Academic Building’s size and calibre is a credit to the reputation the company has built over the past 35 years.

“When my father started the business out of his garage in Coaldale in 1979, I’m not sure he would have envisioned where it’d be today,” says Derochie. “While the business has substantially grown over the years, our work ethic has stayed the same. If you’re honest with the client and work hard, the projects will come.”

Destination Project Program Manager, Brian Sullivan, says while it’s great to work with trusted local names like Derochie amongst many others, it shows that southern Alberta businesses can compete with large national companies on the bidding stage.

“As is required, PCL Construction Management Ltd. put the tender out for the construction of this building far and wide,” says Sullivan. “It’s been incredible to see so many locally-based companies coming in so competitively, not only in their price, but in the high standard of work they put out too. These local guys were up against some big names in the industry, so it was great to see them being awarded this contract.”

One other local business benefitting from the project is Floor Right. Owner and U of L alumnus, Darryl Moore (BMgt ’02) says being involved in the construction of the building is a continuation of a long-standing relationship with the U of L.

“Floor Right has been involved with every capital project at the U of L since the early-2000s,” says Moore. “It shows that we’re not only doing outstanding work but that we’re doing it honestly and maintaining a competitive edge.”

Moore goes on to say being involved with local projects is not only good for business but it’s good for the area.

“Being based in a city that is home to a university and college, you see the benefit of contributing to these institutions,” says Moore. “Each year, we see new growth in the population and with that comes new ideas and innovation. It’s exciting to think about the day my kids could be walking on the floors that I helped to install on this project.”

Working locally and investing locally is a sentiment Millwork Innovations III (MI3) owners, Willy Reger & Jill Chouinard, share with Moore. Reger came to Canada from Germany in the early 2000s and says southern Alberta has been a welcoming community and one he’s thrilled to be able to contribute to.

“When we get the opportunity to work locally, we’re always ecstatic,” says Reger. “Getting to help your community grow and expand is something we really enjoy and value at MI3. Our staff take great pride in being able to point to something in their own city and say, I helped build that.”

With more than 20 local trades and companies contributing to the construction of the new Science and Academic Building, the project is definitely an investment of more than just money in the local economy. The sense of pride and hard work that is shared between each of these companies is palpable and one the University is excited to be able to showcase when the building opens in the fall of 2019.