Sterling Plumbing & Heating Ltd.

Growing alongside Regina’s Residential Boom
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
John Carioti

In October 2003, Colin Hodge, co-owner and managing director of Sterling Plumbing & Heating Ltd. (Sterling), founded the Saskatchewan-based company with Jerrod Turgeon and Janice Stochmal to cater to the plumbing and heating needs of the residential new home construction market. The group couldn’t have picked a better time to start the young company, as the economy in Regina, Saskatchewan, began to take off at full speed.

In the Right Place at the Right Time

“I started out in plumbing, working with Jerrod and Janice at one of the largest plumbing companies in the region,” recalls Hodge. “From there I worked for about two years in manufacturing and engineering, traveling across the country for tradeshows and consulting. When things really started to get moving in Regina, we saw a local niche and decided to set up our own shop.”

According to Hodge, that was one of the best decisions the trio has made. “Over the past decade, we’ve have been growing and expanding, shifting more and more in-house, we recently moved to a new larger location,” he shares. “We now do a large portion of our own manufacturing of HVAC sheet metal materials at the new facility.”

Business has been so successful for Sterling that Hodge says the biggest hurdle the company has faced is managing growth. “We’re still a young company,” he says. “Things started with just the three of us and now we have more than 100 employees and about 50 trucks running in the field.”

Despite growth, the company has worked to build an atmosphere that is both fun and enjoyable. “The biggest issue we have is a shortage of labour because the Regina market is booming, but we’ve established a profit sharing program to attract people,” he continues. “Every employee is an owner and that helps bring new people in and helps us retain our existing labour when there’s a shortage.”

In a market that’s growing so rapidly that help is hard to come by, Sterling has maintained good standing by remaining flexible. “We don’t fall under a specific niche or customer base,” reveals Hodge. “We specialize in new construction, development in the smaller-end commercial and large scale multifamily dwellings, but we also do design-build work for modular apartment buildings for government housing, local contractors, development companies and manufacturers from various parts of the U.S.”

Quality Plumbing and Heating In-house

No matter the client or application, Sterling focuses on quality full service, including maintenance, 24-hour emergency service repairs, hydronic heating, renovations, natural gas fireplaces and retail products. “Our goal is to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction to our customers by delivering quality products and services at a fair price. We take great pride in our work and customer satisfaction is our No. 1 priority. With a staff of more than 100 highly trained and certified technicians, we are ready and able to handle all of your plumbing and heating needs.” –Sterling’s website reads.

“We’re gearing up for a 1,200-unit residential job, which is a sizable amount of construction for Regina at the moment,” adds Hodge. “Even with growth and tackling large projects, one thing we’ve held onto is keeping service under our own roof. We’ve put a lot of hours into developing our capabilities and if we have a weakness we try to grow in that area or hire someone who is more familiar. We generally don’t subcontract anything out.”

Maintaining for the Long Haul

The hours and time spent bringing as much in-house as possible have paid off for Sterling. “We were fortunate in the sense that we started things at the right time, right when the economy in Regina started to take off,” explains Hodge. “But it’s our commitment to quality and our services that have helped us maintain steady growth and a solid position in this market for when the economy levels off.”

Hodge was born and raised in Regina; however, business has taken him all around the country, and in related industries, it was the prosperity in his hometown that called Hodge back. “We’ve seen phenomenal growth over the last three years,” he remarks. “I was born here and grew up here, so it’s especially exciting for me as a business owner to see people from all over the world coming to this area for opportunity.”

Hodge adds that the next generation is next in line for promising opportunities. “They’re at the point in their lives where they’re asking questions and deciding what educational path they need to take to be involved,” he shares. “This feedback from our families makes us proud and lets us know we are doing something right.”

According to Hodge, the best thing Sterling can do right now is keep pace with the company’s current workload and continue to be regional leader. After just a decade in business, Sterling Plumbing & Heating Ltd. has set a high standard for the local HVAC industry.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Colliers International
ECCO Heating Products
EMCO Corporation
Lennox Industries
Regina Motor Products