Export Awards 2013: Customer Appreciation
Gord McCormack believes in doing business the traditional way, face-to-face and with a handshake. The fact that he’s the president and CEO of Hyduke Energy Services, a company that designs and manufactures drilling and well-service equipment and has shipped to virtually every major oil and gas market in the world, can make this way of doing business a little challenging. But it’s something he considers important when building relationships with clients.
“With all the technology, especially regarding communications, the world has no doubt gotten smaller,” he says. “But our successes with international clients have been due to old-fashioned spending time with the customer. We’re not afraid to get on a plane and actually go see our customers. Obviously, we have to try to be responsible financially, but the key factor in developing relationships and trust with your clients is spending time face-to-face.”
McCormack has been with the company since 2002, when he came on board as CFO before becoming president later that year. He says that while exports have always been important to the company’s success, they’ve played a more a substantial role as of late, with an estimated $50 million of the company’s $120 million in revenue coming from international sales in 2012. One might think that with the number of wells being drilled in Alberta each year, a company like Hyduke would never have to look outside the province’s borders, but McCormack says this level of activity can often be misleading.
“The oil and gas sector is very cyclical, especially when it comes to the new equipment end of the business,” he says. “There are years where there is very little capital spending, despite the fact that there is a lot going on. Our international customers help us maintain sustainable revenue when this is happening. We want to continue to grow in Canada, but we’re happy with our international clients and we’ve had recent success in focusing in that way. When you want to grow as a company, the first step is to diversify. What we chose to diversify was the market. It’s what we know so that’s what we’ve been sticking to.”
But being from Alberta has no doubt helped Hyduke expand on the international stage. The environmental challenges that occur when drilling in the province have led to the development of some of the most reliable and efficient products in the market, and Hyduke is no exception. One thing McCormack says he’s learned while branching out in the international market is that there is a demand for products that meet Canadian standards.
That’s not to say there aren’t disadvantages to
being located in Alberta. McCormack says international manufacturers, which have now become the competition, aren’t faced with the high cost of manufacturing that Canadian companies must deal with.
Local competition can be fierce as well, but what sets Hyduke apart is not only the number of different business lines it offers but also the cradle-to-the-grave model where they continue to service their equipment for customers after the sale has been made, something it’s able to do because of the team it has assembled throughout the company.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve been fortunate enough to put together a group of exceptional people,” he says. “I love the challenges that the industry brings and then working with this great team to overcome those challenges.”
Because of the travel that’s often required to do business the way Hyduke prefers, McCormack says having this competent team share the travel duties allows everyone to stay at home as much as possible. But at the end of the day, whether he’s dealing with someone from Edmonton or Ethiopia, the fundamentals of a successful client relationship
“We really do offer a great product backed by an outstanding service culture,” he says. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, that’s really what it comes down to because that’s what customers are after.”