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The Gold Standard of Upside



What does it take to be one of Canada’s Best Managed Gold Standard Companies? “Clear vision. Investment in capability. And commitment to talent.”

Calgary’s dynamic and respected Upside Engineering is a superb example of what it takes. Upside, the privately-held engineering firm with a full spectrum of engineering, design, procurement and project management services, was recently cited for excellence in business performance.

In its 26th year, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs, recognizing Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices. The 2019 Best Managed program award winners are amongst the best-in-class of Canadian companies with revenues over $15 million. Nominated companies are assessed by an independent judging panel comprised of representatives from program sponsors in addition to special guest judges.

Aside from the honour and the positive Canadian business feedback, Upside can now enjoy the bragging right of being a “Gold Standard” organization. It’s the sixth year the company has qualified.

Upside’s secret to success is relationships. “In this constantly changing environment, the key has been to maintain focus on our clients’ needs and the relationships we have built,” says the upbeat Chris Read, president of Upside Engineering. “Our intermediate size provides us with the ability to work with large companies on major projects, but the flexibility to modify our approach and adapt quickly to changing requirements.

“We have developed a reputation of being a respected and loyal partner to our clients in the energy sector,” he says with pride. “In fact, over 80 per cent of our clients are repeat customers who return to Upside because of their positive experiences.

“Our primary goal has always been to deliver high-quality engineering at best overall value to our clients, and we accomplish this by engaging and empowering exceptional individuals. We are fortunate,” he adds. “The Upside team is made up of some of the industry’s most talented and dedicated people. Their combination of experience, expertise and enthusiasm creates a unique work environment.”

As most Calgary-based business leaders, Read admits the economic speed bumps of the past few years have been a challenge. “When energy commodity prices started to drop in late 2014, the entire energy industry came under tremendous pressure to reduce cost and improve productivity. We, like many others, saw a decline in our business as a result of capital restraint in the energy sector.

“Through this difficult period, we maintained high levels of client satisfaction on existing project work, which has allowed us to navigate the difficult environment.”

With a positive outlook and much industry expertise, Read is cautiously optimistic about the Alberta, and Calgary, recovery. “Through most of last year, we witnessed a steadying of the price in oil, which brought back a semblance of confidence to the energy companies that operate in Alberta.

“This stabilization may be a sign of a starting recovery, but I feel that there still is a great deal of uncertainty in the marketplace. I am not alone in saying that one of the biggest challenges we face, and must solve, is finding market diversity for our natural resources. I remain confident that we will continue to persevere as an economy.”