Fast Companies: Alberta Venture’s Fast Growth 50 for 2014
For the 16th year in a row, we bring you Alberta’s growth champions
by Michael Ganley
The beginning of a new year means it’s time for Alberta Venture’s annual Fast Growth 50 list. We have, once again, culled financial documents from scores of Albertan companies to review their growth. And however you cut it, with a hot economy and the province’s entrepreneurial culture, these Albertan companies are head of the class.
This year’s star pupil is Redrock Camps, which grew its revenues by an astounding 71 per cent and its pre-tax profit by 113 per cent year over year. Never heard of Redrock? The company provides turn-key remote camps, primarily to the oil and gas industry. Troy Ferguson, the co-owner and CEO, says his company has succeeded by tapping into the energy industry’s need to retain talent. “Companies realized they had to provide a nicer environment for the guys working,” he says in ‘Men at Work’. His solution? Turn those dowdy work trailers into “man caves,” complete with faux hardwood flooring, dimmable lights and art on the walls. Even the dining rooms in Redrock trailers are made to be surprisingly pleasant, with decorative antiques and booths replacing large communal tables. “That’s a big part of Redrock’s success,” he says.
That’s a trend. Each company on this year’s FG50 list has found its own unique path to growth: For C4i (‘Ready, Aye, Ready,’), the company was thinking big, chasing contracts with the U.S. military; for AutoCanada (‘The Road Less Travelled,’), it’s been consolidation in an industry where previously there had been none.
But however they’ve done it the result is an average revenue growth for those on the FG50 list of 68 per cent and work-force growth of 53 per cent. That’s the kind of rapid expansion that creates its own challenges, though. Ferguson says he’s been working on an enterprise resource plan to help him keep up with the sales. But surely, that’s the kind of problem a businessperson doesn’t really mind. Indeed, Ferguson says he’s gunning to quadruple sales in the next few years.
There’s more afoot this month than the FG50 list. We’re also introducing a new section to our magazine called ‘You, Only Better.’ ‘You, Only Better’ takes us out of the business and work world, and into personal and lifestyle journalism. We’ll look at fashion trends, great food and drink, vacation opportunities and more, and the section will allow us to connect with our readers on a broader spectrum. We’ll talk to you about what you do during the day and also what you do, wear, eat and drink outside of the office. If you have something you’d like to see in our fledgling section, as always, please get in touch.