Rooted in local history, Bison Contracting is unique. With over 30 years under their belt, they have built their reputation on providing safe and reliable labour services to the local industry sector while prioritizing employing Métis and Indigenous individuals.
Based in Peace River, Bison Contracting is a joint venture equally owned and operated by Flint Energy Services and Nesokmahtan Enterprises.
“Nesokmahtan Enterprises is owned by Métis Nation of Alberta Region 6, and Flint Energy is a division of ClearStream Energy Services LP, which was formally called Cobra Contracting,” said Manager of Bison Contracting Mike Hopkins.
Leading to the formation of Bison Contracting in 1991, the local pulp mill, Daishowa-Marubeni International (now Mercer), expressed the need for a local labour service provider to support their mill activities.
“A number of interested parties came to the table, but when it all shook out the last two standing were Cobra and Métis Region 6, and together they formed Bison Contracting,” said Hopkins.
Today, Bison employs 55 people full-time, and they hire an additional 100 to 150 temporary employees each year for the Mercer pulp mill shutdown. Bison also provides services to the oil and gas industry, and they are always looking for more opportunities to expand.
“We hire a lot of general labourers, and we train people for specific tasks like gas testing, tank watch and fire watch. We also hire janitors, administrative people and equipment operators. Sometimes employees are considered for trade positions, which can develop into apprenticeships,” said Hopkins.
In addition, Bison can provide clients with the industrial construction and pipeline services Flint offers.
“These services include mechanical, fabrication, electrical and instrumentation, pipeline, integrity, maintenance, TAs, insulation, 3D scanning and environmental,” said Hopkins. “This provides a significant benefit to our clients as well as the local Indigenous communities in our region.”
Whether it’s for full-time positions or seasonal work, Bison is committed to providing safe employment for all.
Mission and Values
“Our mission is to be a recognized Indigenous labour service provider focused on providing employment opportunities to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people while ensuring quality work is done safely,” said Hopkins.
Bison is guided by the following four core values:
We are in the relationship business,
Commitment to excellence is our standard,
Our greatest resource is our people, and
We make responsible decisions.
“Our core values define us. We build solid customer relationships by delivering value. We strive to meet or exceed safety, quality and productivity expectations. We embrace diversity and provide employment opportunities. And, we believe in environmental sustainability and supporting our local communities,” said Hopkins.
Bison’s management team and their clients both reflect its mission and values.
“We’re highly driven to work for clients who value the diversity and inclusion Bison strives for,” said Hopkins. “We primarily work with owners in the pulp-and-paper and oil-and-gas sectors, but we would warmly welcome commercial inquires and requests.”
Both Bison’s managers are Indigenous and have over 60 years of combined industry experience in the Peace Region.
“This local connection differentiates us from our competition. We’re able to attract crews with strong local content,” said Hopkins. “And, being integrated with Flint allows us to offer a diverse set of services.”
The training, support and structure Bison provides their team members is also a competitive advantage.
“We have a very diverse group. They work hard and do a great job for our clients every day,” said Hopkins. “We hire people with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude to meet the needs of our clients.”
Bison provides fair wages for their employees and a benefits package that includes vision, dental and disability coverage.
“We respect our staff and treat them fairly. The fact we have many long-term employees is a testament to that. A few have greater than a decade of service with us. Our longest-serving employee has been with the company for over 30 years,” said Hopkins.
In addition, Bison provides staff training and all the necessary personal protective equipment because safety is supremely important.
“We have a commitment to safety. There’s no bigger goal than having all our employees go home uninjured at the end of each shift, so they can enjoy what is truly important—family, friends, hobbies and all the things that make life great,” said Hopkins.
Pictured: Mike Hopkins, Manager, Bison Contracting and Carol Ridsdale, President, Metis Region 6