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David Paul Werklund

 

"David Werklund is to environmental services what Erle P. Halliburton was to Halliburton," says John Gibson, the president and chief executive officer of Tervita Corporation. Tervita, which David chairs, is the successor to Canadian Crude Separators (CCS), the industry-changing company that Gibson described as David's child. CCS wasn't David's first entrepreneurial venture, however. After six years of experience at Shell Canada, he founded Dave's Oilfield Services Ltd. in 1971 and then followed that up by co-founding Concord Well Servicing with Gordon Vivian in 1979. Concord Well Servicing became the third-largest well servicing company in Canada, and David moved on to his next venture.


In 1984, David "noticed that trucks laden with crude oil were being turned away at the pipeline because they did not meet pipeline specifications," noted a summary of David's career prepared as part of his 2005 Ernst & Young Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year award.


He borrowed $50,000, mortgaged his service rigs and built an oil treatment facility at La Glace, Alta. "He saw an opportunity to make a process better and to help the oil and gas industry to reduce their cost but improve their environmental performance" by adding scale, says Gibson, "and he acted on it." Under David, CCS kept innovating. The company pioneered the Gravity Compression System to aid in separating solid waste from emulsions, and made its salt caverns safer and more permanent, leading to the development of North America's first underground crude waste storage facility at Hardisty, Alta. In a way, he even pioneered a financial product: in 2002, the corporation was converted into an income trust and was operated as a growth trust when most trusts merely paid out cash flow.


CCS's growth was also driven by acquisitions, adding Prodrill Fluid Technologies and HAZCO Environmental Services Ltd. to its collection, and by 2011, CCS and its related companies had revenue of $5 billion. In 2012, David combined them all to form Tervita Corporation.


When Gibson joined CCS prior to the creation of Tervita, what impressed him most about CCS and then Tervita was its "operational excellence" and its "immaculate" facilities. "You wouldn't think you're at a landfill," says Gibson. "You'd think you were at a park. There are picnic tables and there's grass growing."


The breadth of Tervita's expertise was on evidence this past summer, as it led flood recovery efforts at Stampede Park in Calgary, and was instrumental in clearing and repairing rail lines impacted by flood waters in the Canmore and Okotoks areas of Alberta.


Gibson attributes Tervita's excellence to David's "passion for what the company does and his direct involvement in the activities of the company." He's extremely hands-on, and still visits facilities on a regular basis. David is also chairman of Aveda Transportation and Energy Services Inc., one of the largest dedicated rig movers in North America.


He also founded and chairs Werklund Capital, one of Canada's largest familyowned investment companies, and the Werklund Foundation, which is focused on supporting initiatives that "empower students and educators with leadership skills necessary to realize their potential," wrote Stefan Erasmus, president of Werklund Capital, in nominating David for the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame.


"He's really becoming part of the next generation of Calgarians," says Gibson. "He wants to see that entrepreneurial spirit here in Calgary and the growth of companies that have international significance."

 

   
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