Describe your business:
Monashee Rail primarily installs and maintains signals and communications infrastructure for railroads in Western Canada. We have also experimented a little with providing other services to the railroads. Go Time Energy Services provides rental equipment and operators to drilling sites in the oil and gas industry in Western Canada.
Describe the growth of your business between where you are now and where you started?
Following a few years of operating heavy equipment in the field, my business partner and I started Tergo Solutions in 2010. We leaned on the relationships built in the oil field and began renting out the necessary equipment and operating it ourselves. GoTime was conceived ~five years ago from a merging of Tergo solutions with overtime Rentals. This gave both companies the ability to compete with bigger competitors after the 2014 oil price collapse by offering more equipment under one entity. Go Time now does around $8m in revenue per year, and peaks at ~40 workers, seasonally.
We started Monashee Rail in 2015 when the shareholders of Tergo invested with two new partners who had railroad signals and communications experience. We worked the first year with a 5 person crew. Since then, we have had up to 50 employees (seasonally) and doubled revenue every year, collecting $14m in our most recent year-end.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
This is a tough one! I’m very proud of the jobs I’ve had a part in creating and how we treat our employees. I’m also proud of the independence and personal growth that I’ve achieved as an entrepreneur and our businesses’ growth.
What is one of the most significant challenges that you have faced and overcome as an entrepreneur?
In 2014 when oil prices collapsed, we had enough cash saved to weather the initial storm. Since then, we’ve changed parts of our business, found creative ways to acquire equipment without overleveraging, and gained new customers. It’s been a difficult environment for oil and gas service companies, and I’m proud that we are still here and relevant.
There are plenty of current challenges to deal with right now due to Covid-19, which could very well take the top spot for this question if asked again in a year.
What is your mindset when it comes to running your business?
In general, the risk is near the top of my list of priorities to consider when running a business. I want to be comfortable with my debt level and my ability to service it no matter what happens globally. Having a diverse enough customer base to continue operations comfortably if a customer is lost. Safety and Environmental liability. All types of risk management are fundamental to me. More recently, we have noticed that most of our customers focus on ESG, and we have begun incorporating more ESG into our own practices.
What are you hoping to gain from joining EO Calgary?
While I’m excited to meet “like-minded” people, I’m especially excited to meet people who can help me think differently. Simply put, it seems like a great organization for me to meet and learn from smart people. I hope I can help by sharing my experiences as well.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start and run their own business?
Just start. There’s no motivation like needing to make it work. Do as much planning as you can to ensure that you have a viable business, and don’t quit your job too early, but start the business and learn as you go. I think I speak for most entrepreneurs that most of us are still learning as we go. I love chatting with new entrepreneurs. It brings back my own feelings of excitement that come with starting a business.