Casman Construction Ltd.
After 30 years in the construction industry, Dorothy Callihan’s career has taken her far and wide. Less than one year ago, it took her all the way from Arizona to Fort McMurray, Alberta. “A recruiter found me,” recalls Dorothy, now general manager of Casman Construction Ltd. (Casman Construction). “She came across my resume and asked if I’d be interested in relocating and I said that I absolutely would. I’ve worked in cold climates and remote locations before, so I was up for the challenge.”
Not long after, Dorothy made the trip to Fort McMurray to join the Casman Group of Companies (Casman) family. “Before joining Casman I was working on a remote project in New Mexico,” she shares. “I was doing a lot of industrial-grade military housing and facility maintenance. When I got to Fort McMurray and saw similar construction going on up here with the oil sands I knew it was a good fit.”
Dorothy joined Casman’s specialized construction division and began spearheading the company’s oil sand support efforts. “For me, moving here is like being a kid in a candy store,” admits Dorothy. “There’s so much construction with the oil boom in town; there’s road work, housing, new shopping centers, and it’s all centered on the oil sand development. I can go home and watch two projects taking place right from my window.”
Going Remote and On-location
Casman Construction is a key local player in the ever-expanding oil sand industry. The team travels throughout the province performing a variety of remote-camp services. “It’s obviously very remote and spread out up here so it’s not uncommon for us to drive two hours to get to a site,” notes Dorothy.
The specialized division travels where ever project assistance is needed. “There’s a lot of support needed, because the drilling operations are constantly moving,” reveals Dorothy. “They’re moving trailers, relocating and setting up camps in different locations all the time. And we’re there to help with the process, from concrete to carpentry and civil construction.”
Dorothy goes on to note that the company’s focus is primarily on facilities maintenance with a heavy emphasis on trailer and mobile facilities. “We have expertise in pouring concrete foundations, grading, heating and hoarding and 24 hour coverage of heaters,” she continues. “We also provide pre-engineered structural steel building erections.”
For its efficient building systems, Casman Construction works with Robertson Buildings Systems, a dealer of pre-engineered structures. “We’ve installed buildings from 2,400 square feet to over 20,000 square feet,” shares Dorothy. “These pre-engineered buildings offer advantages far beyond traditional construction. The cost savings begins on the drawing board and continues for years to come, while providing superior function and efficiency.”
Casman Construction also specializes in cast-in-place concrete and specialty grouts. “Our largest continuous pour to-date is 1,800 cubic metres and our most challenging has been the Vacuum Tower foundation on Suncor’s site, which consisted of 16, 4-foot diameter piles supporting two ring beams,” reveals Dorothy. “Our crews are experienced with all of the challenges of placing and curing concrete in northern Alberta’s harsh winters.”
Over the last several years, oil sand development has rocketed Alberta’s oil resources to international acclaim, earning the resource the nickname black gold; it is estimated that the region will produce at least 5 million barrels per day by 2030. “Just last month, we were pouring 17 slabs for the Black Gold project,” adds Dorothy. “The project is in the $16 million range for Harvest Energy.”
Casman Construction often relies on other Casman divisions to support its operations. “Our team is made of union trade workers, but we often subcontract work with our Casman MEP Group,” shares Dorothy. “FMR Mechanical Ltd. works under us delivering all of the mechanical services and it helps to have that capability in-house under our Casman umbrella.”
Although Casman Construction is often a subcontractor working under large-scale general contractors, Dorothy sees the company making a transition within the next few years. “We’re honing our project management skills and I’m learning more about this market,” she says. “It’s very different up here. Million dollar contracts are based on a handshake; literally a handshake. But once I’m more accustomed to the market and we’ve executed the right projects we’ll be operating more as a general contractor.”
Casman Construction continues to support Alberta’s thriving black gold economy. Backed by the strength of the Casman family of companies, Casman Construction Ltd. offers specialized industrial service that is helping Fort McMurray thrive.