With a 100-plus year history of providing solutions to its clients, FLINT Corp. is a leading service company in Canada’s energy and industrial markets. Providing construction and maintenance services and asset integrity products to the oil and gas, petrochemical, mining, power, agriculture, forestry, infrastructure and water treatment industries, its purpose is to help its customers bring their resources to the world.
“We’re very proud to be a service company and provide solutions for our clients,” says Barry Card, CEO. Appointed as Interim CEO last March, Card formally took over the CEO position last August after serving six years in an executive role with the company. “We strive to be a Tier 1 service provider in everything we do. That is structured around our full lifecycle strategy for our clients.”
This lifecycle, he explains, starts with FLINT’s environmental division, which provides environmental assessments and services. The next stage is the fabrication division, where various types of pipes and other products are fabricated. From there, the cycle moves to construction, where FLINT constructs its clients’ assets and facilities. Then is day-to-day maintenance (steady-state services) of those assets and facilities, whether it be the full complement of trades including pipefitting, welding, electrical and instrumentation or other specialty services.
“Another key part of maintenance is planning for outages and turnarounds which occur on a typical cycle for our customers,” Card elaborates. “We help plan, schedule and ultimately execute those turnarounds. This seasonality to the business creates some large spikes in our hiring and revenue.”
FLINT also manufactures and supplies its branded product AssetArmorTM – a weld overlay product – for use at facilities and plants.
“It’s a full cycle offering,” Card explains, “ultimately rounded out again on the environmental side, since we have the ability to decommission the asset, reclaim and remediate the land back to its original state.”
The company’s maintenance and construction services comprise approximately 95 per cent of the business, while the weld overlay services make up the other five per cent.
Today, FLINT has over 4,000 employees, 3,800 of which are in maintenance and construction services. Two-thousand employees joined the company just last year, as it came out of the pandemic. “The last two years have been really quite positive for us,” Card reflects. “Last year, we fulfilled all our contractual commitments safely, and we successful onboarded 2,000 people. Our total employee count of over 4,000 people is a new high for our organization.” This year, FLINT has already hired another 650 employees.
“We’ve also continued to grow our clientele base,” Card continues. “We’ve diversified our service offering and grown into new markets with new clients. We’re quite pleased with that. Our typical clients are mid-cap, blue chip type clients, with whom we share similar values. That’s what allows us to grow with them.”
These clients are located across Canada. FLINT services them from a combination of 20 offices, operating centres and fabrication shops located across Western Canada. It provides the AssetArmorTM products throughout North America.
Their shared values are typically around safety, quality, community sustainability and overall continuous improvement. “Safety is paramount in everything we do,” Card states. “We have an industry best safety performance: our 2022 Q4 total recordable incident frequency (TRIF) was 0.28, which was a significant improvement year-over-year and a 33 per cent decrease from Q4 of 2021. We are best in class.”
“Both safety and quality are core values of our business,” he continues. “They are cornerstones of our operating methodology. We believe that any service or product we offer starts with safety and quality. And if you effectively build a plan that integrates both, we’ll deliver a service or product that meets or exceeds our client’s expectations. And at the end of the day, we’ll have a happy client.”
This result is reflected in FLINT’s financials. In 2022, for example, its revenues were $605 million, an increase of $215 million (or 55 per cent) from 2021. For the first quarter of 2023, revenues are again up by $41 million (or 37 per cent) from Q1 2022.
“The growth trajectory is very positive and pretty exciting within our organization,” Card admits. “We have arrived at this point as a result the hard work of our employees and through working very closely with our clients. We have been successful in winning new work, whether it be with our existing clients or new clients, in new and diverse end markets. Our client relations are absolutely critical for our ongoing growth.”
A successful rebranding in December 2022 (to FLINT from the previous ClearStream) unified all legacy companies under one brand, an exciting finish to last year.
And this March, FLINT released its inaugural sustainability report, the culmination of several years’ progress. The report highlighted the intention to increase women in senior leadership roles and in the overall workforce, to increase underrepresented groups in the workforce, to continue to invest in and support local and Indigenous communities and to reduce its carbon footprint.
“We’ve also increased access to equity, diversity and inclusion training company-wide,” Card notes. “The training piece is critical to help bring awareness to why these things are important to our organization and how our ESG roadmap ties into our long-term plans.”
Partnerships, particularly with First Nations and Indigenous groups, are key to FLINT’s strategy. “They are part of our core values, part of our strategy,” offers Card. “We continue to expand our presence and formalize relationships in the communities in which we work. We believe in being excellent community stewards and building trust with local stakeholders.”
FLINT is currently in joint ventures with the Fort McMurray First Nation Group of Companies, the Blueberry River First Nations, and is a partner in Bison, a joint venture between FLINT and Nesokmahtan Enterprises, a Metis Region 6 company.
The company supports local communities it operates in by participating in community events, either through charitable giving or attending charity events, and through sponsorships and scholarships. “We’ve been really well received,” Card says. “We want people to hold our brand in a positive light.”
Looking to the future, Card sees FLINT’s core services as poised for growth: “We will continue to grow and enhance our construction, maintenance, turnaround, environmental services and AssetArmorTM asset integrity products including weld overlay. Those services supporting the energy market are easily transferable into all other industrial-type end markets. So we see growth across the board in those core services.”
This is predicated on continued strength and growth in their clients’ businesses. “The Canadian energy industry is truly first class,” he says. “We should be proud to provide and operate services for the energy industry here in Alberta and throughout Canada. Our industry is one of the most ethically responsible producers.”
“We have a long history in Alberta of innovation, philanthropy and entrepreneurship,” he continues. “We have a can-do type attitude. I believe that has positively shaped our province. And with that as the backdrop, Alberta is great place for the energy industry or any other industry that wants to call Alberta home. You can really thrive in this environment.”
With a new name, a commitment to quality and safety, dedicated leadership and strong industries to service, FLINT has a bright future ahead.