In 1991, Darryl and Warren Nelson changed the focus of their father’s earthmoving business that served the Western Canadian oil and gas industry for 25 years prior, moving the operation from Vermillion, Alberta (in the Province’s northeast area) to a location closer to Edmonton, Alberta. “Edmonton serves as our seat of Provincial government and is a manufacturing and transportation hub”, says Darryl Nelson. “We were of the opinion that setting up shop in Spruce Grove, Alberta (just 25 minutes west of Canada’s largest northern city) would be beneficial in serving the Western Canadian market we’re so active in”. Active, without doubt: after 15 full years of MTSR equipment operations, NER has completed over 50 projects both domestically and overseas, treating in excess of 1 million tonnes of toxic soil.
“Taking the family business in a new direction was certainly risky”, muses an industry-wizened Darryl, “and we knew we were slowly being lost in the sea of oil and gas general contractors, particularly with the ups-and-downs of the business. Investing in a new environmental field service to augment our dirt moving and handling knowledge seemed to make good sense at the time”. Then-new regulations born from the Alberta government, respecting the need for oil and gas companies to clean up thousands of sites around the Province, appeared to be a boon for the well-positioned NER: however, aggressively-priced fees for tipping at landfills in the Province was pushing higher-cost, on-site environmental remediation operators nearly out of business. “These were trying times”, says Darryl, “but we persisted, believed in our product and learned some extremely valuable business lessons”. Today’s Western Canadian environmental services market stills sees more contaminated material landfills opening than closing but, that’s no longer a primary concern for NER. The Company’s full-service know-how to excavate, clean and backfill contaminated soil has given them the edge in staying ahead of the “dig-and-dump” facilities and it also keeps the more environmentally conscious clientele at their doorstep.