Terry Jennett forged a career in painting quite by accident. As a University of Calgary geology graduate, he quickly discovered there were few jobs available amid the oil price crash in 1986. What started as a way to earn money in university turned into a post-university career. Jennett purchased an old truck, threw in his ladder and painting tools, and Terry Jennett Painting was born.
Over the next 35 years, he grew the company from a small truck-and-ladder outfit to a large commercial painting firm that employs over 200 people during its summer peak. Much has changed since the early days; Jennett changed the name to Calibre Coatings, expanded operations and added satellite offices, and merged with another company to make Calibre Coatings one of the biggest painting contractors in Western Canada. What hasn’t changed is the dedication to customer service and producing quality work that has carried the company through the decades.
It remains the mission of Calibre to serve its commercial clients the best they can, meeting their needs while exceeding their expectations. One way Jennett found to do that was through a merger with Venture Painting in November of 2017.
“Terry and I got to know each other through the Alberta Painting Contractors Association and had the same views on various aspects of the business. After months of discussions, it made sense to join forces and move forward as a team rather than competing against each other,” says Chris Kulbaba, formerly of Venture Painting and current chief operations officer for Calibre Coatings.
Both companies offered the same services and shared a dedication to ensuring customer satisfaction whether it was a small, touch-up job or a massive school board or hospital project. Each company was known for excellent results in a variety of commercial and light industrial projects, from vinyl and graphic wall coverings to pressure washing and concrete sealers, architectural coatings and floor coatings to industrial protective coatings and abrasive and water blasting. The union created a forward-thinking team that has helped grow Calibre in the province and beyond.
“When Chris and I merged, we did make some changes. We looked at the positives of each company and made adjustments to enable us to better serve our customers,” says Terry Jennett, founder and president of Calibre Coatings.
Processes are streamlined, making Calibre teams more efficient on jobs. The company is able to handle large projects for clients and has a long and proven track record of quality outcomes on even the most complicated projects. Calibre has worked on numerous notable projects in Edmonton including the Stantec Tower in the Ice District and the University of Alberta Dentistry Pharmacy Redevelopment project along with projects in Calgary including Cambridge Manor and Chinook Care Centre senior centres, the South Health Campus and Brookfield Tower downtown, and the company is gearing up to work on the Lowe’s Distribution Centre and currently working on the Calgary Cancer Centre.
“The Calgary Cancer Centre is one of the biggest feature projects in Calgary over the past several years. Most of the trades at the Cancer Centre have been split up amongst several companies to accommodate the project size, and for the contractor to instill trust that Calibre Coatings could complete the project effectively speaks volumes of our abilities,” says Kulbaba.
Clients trust in Calibre’s expertise and experience for these projects, and they know they will get a quality product on time and on budget. For that reason, Calibre Coatings enjoys enduring relationships with longtime clients like EllisDon and PCL who have made Calibre part of their trades family.
The relationships that Jennett has formed over the past 35 years have allowed the company to become a highly respected partner for Alberta’s construction industry, and other contractors look to partner with Calibre on projects as well, especially on the commercial side. The team is always open to growth opportunities both in their Alberta operations and through acquisitions that allow them to provide service to clients across Western Canada.
Calibre Coatings expanded into British Columbia in 2014, acquiring a painting outfit in Kamloops called Decor8 Painting that aligned with the corporate philosophy of the head office. The team expanded from there with an office in Vancouver and a satellite location in Kelowna, all operating under the Decor8 banner but managed by Calibre in Calgary. The Calibre Group of companies include Renue Recycling which provides 100 per cent recycled paint and Cal-Res Coatings which is the residential painting branch in Calgary. Calibre is dedicated to providing quality workmanship, professionalism and service in every aspect of the industry.
To provide quality service and products requires quality people, and Calibre Coatings has the best in the business. Just as the company attracts and retains great clients, it also attracts great staff. Some of the staff are celebrating 20-plus years with the company and are an important part of Calibre’s success over the decades.
“Once we find good people, we hang on to them,” says Jennett. “It’s definitely about having the right people. I couldn’t have done this on my own.”
With a staff with years of experience and expertise in all areas of painting, it’s no wonder that Calibre has become the go-to company for coatings. Business development officer John Wayne Eslinger, a new addition to Calibre’s winning team, worked for a competitor before relocating to Calibre and he saw the impact of the reputation for quality when bidding against them.
“The biggest thing I battled against prior to joining the Calibre team was their great reputation for people, the quality of work and doing what they say they are going to do,” says Eslinger. “It was a hard battle to fight.”
For 35 years, Calibre Coating has built that reputation on unbeatable customer service, professionalism and a quality product. Big or small job, new or longtime client, the Calibre team will continue to bring Western Canada its very best.