When Gemini Corporation was established in 1982 it was a private company with 10 employees providing engineering expertise on small jobs. Through the years, the projects grew and so did the company. By 1990, it had become a full-service engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) firm working on a variety of projects across the oil and gas sector. In 1999, the private company became public. Then in 2012, with a new forward-thinking major shareholder in Coril Holdings, Gemini became focused on doing things a bit differently.
“Now, 35 years in, we are a full-service multifaceted regulatory, environmental, engineering, fabrication, construction and maintenance company,” says Bob Pavan, Program Manager at Gemini Corporation.
The company has implemented a unique business model that has proven very successful. As a mid-sized boutique firm, Gemini offers a one-stop shopping experience for clients with small and medium-sized projects. It has a diverse suite of services and can fulfil one element in the process, like fabrication, design or environmental assessment and then integrate it back into the client’s project, or it can deliver every stage of the process as a fully-integrated project.
“We service the asset life cycle for our customers, so we can start at the very beginning of their pre-construction and regulatory and then be with them through to maintenance and to the point where they decommission their site and then we can provide reclamation and remediation,” says Suzanne Checkryn, Director of Business Development.
In the past, this kind of process would require separate divisions to hand off the project to the next in line. However, the company now employs a much more integrated approach. A project manager follows the project through the stages so if the clients have any questions or concerns, they know there is a single point of contact at Gemini who is familiar with the project’s history and requirements. This maintains continuity and efficiency to allow the Gemini teams to better service client needs.
“People are going to rotate in and out of these teams but we try to maintain internal continuity with the hand-off without losing that knowledge base,” says Pavan.
This creates more of a partnership with the client, as the team understands the nuances and requirements of every project and can make changes and suggestions easily given their familiarity. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time, which makes for a more cost-effective and efficient project for the initial or subsequent projects.
After all, that’s the goal of Gemini – to be a client-centric company, embracing long-standing relationships with valued clients, that finds ways to streamline processes in order to save clients money and to extend the life of their assets. To do that, the company does the unthinkable; it not only works for end users but also other EPC companies that would, in other circumstances, be seen as competitors.
“We can come to a customer and add value by working together, so it’s not necessarily about trying to do it all, even though we can offer that to customers. We’ll work with them to deliver the suite of services they need, whatever that is,” says Checkryn.
Gemini is dedicated to meeting clients’ needs, whether that is engineering expertise, field services, environmental sustainability and lessening their carbon footprint, or fabrication requirements. The professional services firm has a very senior core team made up of experts in their fields who add value and help customers make good decisions. If the experience is a positive one and the company delivers quality work on time and on budget as promised, customers will come back again. Gemini’s impressive list of long-term repeat clients is proof that the staff’s hard work has paid off.
After all, you can’t have good teams without good people, and a successful company needs good teams to grow. With a staff of more than 200 across branches in Calgary, Ponoka, Fort St. John and Fort Saskatchewan, Gemini has grown into a go-to company for clients and a first-choice employer for professionals. Employees appreciate the opportunity to do something different and be exposed to all aspects of the work, all the while benefiting from the experience of mentors who have been with the company for decades.
“We have young engineers that are moving around from projects, technical, estimating, the fab shop, and we’re grooming and growing young talent,” says Checkryn.
From offering internships to University of Calgary students to attracting the best young professionals, Gemini is dedicated to developing talent so it can grow the company as well. The culture of collaboration, creativity and innovation has served the company for decades and the importance of that culture has been reinforced after the latest economic downturn.
“We have really adapted our business models to the market changes and conditions,” says Angela Thompson, Director of Regulatory, Environment and Land for Gemini.
Everyone at Gemini Corporation understands that as Alberta claws its way out of the recession, it can’t go back to business as usual again. Instead, the company is re-emerging with a mission to help the market overcome what wasn’t working and partner with clients to help them move forward in a different way. As a change leader in the industry, Gemini is focused on flexibility, adaptability and sustainability while challenging the old way of thinking and doing business.
Gemini staff are encouraged to take chances, try new things and seize opportunities. The industry is experiencing a major shift and it’s important the company continues to be innovative to find better ways to make the market flourish.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for people. We’re saying bring your brain to work, bring your best ideas to work, because we’re going to fix this together,” says Terry Martin, Chief Operating Officer.
And with the strength and foundation provided by the old guard and the drive and dedication of the young hires, Gemini is in a great position to help change the industry moving forward to create a healthier, more sustainable system.
“It’s been a very different recession in some ways,” says Peter Sametz, President and CEO of Gemini. “We’re having to do something different because of the downturn but it helps differentiate us. In some ways we’re back to being project consultants as opposed to a formal EPC.”
The diverse services, flexible model and expertise mean Gemini is nimble enough to perform smaller, quick projects as well as the more detailed, larger ones that often follow them. The entire company works together across divisions to ensure the client is satisfied at the end.
Gemini has operated according to its core values for 35 years – people, safety, relationships, quality and community. Now it’s adding a sustainability value in which environmentalists can go beyond the regulatory minimum to further reduce emissions or environmental impact on client projects. It’s also adding an innovation value, whether that is technical, procedural, technological or process innovation that will push the industry into this new post-recession reality.
“We want the customer to see us delivering a model that’s different than what they’re used to; a more successful model. And we should grow as a result,” says Sametz.
After 35 years of growth and adaptation, Gemini Corporation is coming out of the downturn armed with strong, smart people, diversified services and clients, and a new approach that will lead necessary change in the industry. With out-of-the-box thinkers and innovators at Gemini leading the charge, the industry will be in great hands.