Working for Clients Worldwide

Tetra Tech

When Brent joined Wardrop, it was a company that had been operating in the mining sector since the mid 1960s. In the 2000s there was a lot of change in the marketplace, so the company determined that it would put a greater focus on growth in the market, and started to build teams to take on the workload. According to Brent, these teams would, “Move in to an ‘eat, sleep and breathe mining’ scenario and we had a lot of really great success in the early years, where we picked up some really great people in the industry that formed the foundation of the company.”

The company’s focus was originally on central Canada, on mining throughout Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. It grew from there to the rest of Canada and subsequently the expansion went international as many of the company’s clients have projects around the globe. Wardrop saw a lot of growth and around five years ago decided to establish itself as a stronger international presence and increase its abilities to take on larger projects. The business went to the marketplace to find a strategic partner to help achieve the new international vision.

At the same time, Tetra Tech was a corporation also considering a change. Tetra Tech was a US-based organization; very diverse yet focused on the American marketplace, the company had also been in business since the 1960s. Tetra Tech was also looking to expand further into the private sector and beyond the US borders.

The two organizations quickly realized their strategic alignment and came together. An agreement was made for Tetra Tech to acquire Wardrop and expand into Canada. Brent says, “It’s been wonderful. We’ve been working under the Tetra Tech banner for about four years now, and our people in Canada are leading a whole series of practices for the entire corporation. Tetra Tech is using our people to expand into other regions around the world, so we’ve led international expansions for the company into South America, into Australia, Asia and other parts of the world.”

One of the reasons this model has been so successful is that both organizations have a strong focus on company culture. It was important that the two cultures meshed well together and that the same things were valued in both companies. As a result, the new Tetra Tech is very entrepreneurial for a large organization, and focuses on doing good business, building a strong international reputation, and employing environmentally conscious practices. “Our clients should view us with the power of multi-billion dollar company, and in responding to our clients, the speed of a 20 person office.”

A great deal of effort has been put into expanding the company’s operations in South America, particularly in Chile and Brazil. From a mining perspective, the Chilean market in South America is very vibrant right now; in fact South America in general is booming. According to Brent, “It was important for Tetra Tech to get a good solid foothold into South America, and Chile was a natural first step for us because the relationship between Canada and Chile has always been strong. Chile as a country has a lot of similarities to Canada; it is certainly a mineral rich country, and it is a great region to do business in, it is a very internationally business-savvy place.”

Shortly after expanding into Santiago, the focus shifted to Brazil. The Brazilian market is exciting, and Tetra Tech has already acquired one mining firm and one oil and gas operation. The plan is to actively expand operations there and to remain active over the next couple of years, fleshing out the operations in the country.

Brent appreciates the opportunity to work in different regions of the world and in different business cultures. “Learning different languages and developing relationships with people from different countries and different walks of life,” he says, is definitely one of the perks. “It’s been quite exciting over the last number of years as we’ve focused growth in South America.” Tetra Tech has now set its sights on Australia, which boasts a strong mineral base itself and also provides a stepping stone into Asia.

The company focuses on a diverse range of commodities – base metals such as copper, nickel and zinc, and precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Each of the countries where the company is active brings strong global expertise to the various commodities. “Chile is a leading producer of copper, with Brazil and Australia bringing us strong iron ore expertise by their position in the market. Canada is a diverse country with leadership positions in multiple commodities. Sudbury is recognized for its strength in nickel and copper; there is gold throughout Ontario; Potash and Uranium is the foundation of Saskatchewan’s world class commodity reputation. Throughout the US and Western Canada there are a number of coal operations. Because each of the commodities has its own cycle within the marketplace, the company can diversify its operations and shield itself well against market volatility. “We use that strategy to sort of minimize the booms and the busts that we would go through if we were just focused on one commodity,” explains Brent.

Tetra Tech’s is active with the junior, mid tier and senior mining companies, working with the juniors through all the various stages of the next big discovery, working at mine sites on small and large expansion projects that increase production, and assisting all of the mining companies to build their new mines and maintain them far into the future. The company plans, designs and executes projects, providing consulting throughout each phase of the investment, including Feasibility Studies, Conceptual and Detailed Design, Equipment Procurement, Construction Management, Commissioning and Start up, and EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management) services for select projects.

“We’ll produce an entire feasibility study with the conceptual and basic engineering done on an entire mine site for investment,” explains Brent. “That’s when you’ll get the big mining companies coming in and buying these properties. We will then work with those companies to do all of the detailed engineering as well as provide help around the construction management to actually get the mines built and put into place. We also provide all of the environmental and water management services; we’ve got complete water and environmental capabilities that can provide a full blown study, permit support or assessment as a part of the mining entity. We can sometimes work environmentally with these companies right from the EIS through to operational monitoring and closure. The diversity of environmental services is important because every site is different.”

The services the company has come to offer are very diverse and are offered worldwide. “We’ve worked from the tropics to the Arctic and all places in between. Customers are our focus and even though the company is a very large one, customers anywhere can call up and ask to speak with anyone. For example, if a customer needs to talk to Tony the geologist, then he’ll be on the phone within minutes to help out any way he can.” It all goes along with the positive flexible workplace culture the company has cultivated, and which was only enhanced when Wardrop and Tetra Tech came together.

With its innovative solutions and strong international partnerships, the future looks bright indeed for Tetra Tech.

June 19, 2018, 7:55 AM EDT

A Proactive Approach to Resolving a Longstanding Debate

About forty skilled Central and South American workers from Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Costa Rica came to British Columbia, Canada as temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in 2006. This story incited Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) call for reforms to Canada’s TFW program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). LiUNA, a powerful voice within the construction industry with over half a million members – 110,000 of whom are in Canada – has been the only Canadian union to address the issue.