A rural manufacturing company, based in the southwest Alberta community of Fort Macleod, is expanding its operation.
Structural Truss Systems unveiled Nov. 10 that it’s started construction on a new $28.5-million building, its fourth since the company opened over 40 years ago.
“This has probably been about a three-year process from when we got the land, to the thinking, planning and designing,” said company CEO Brent Feyter following the announcement. “We’re thrilled to finally see it become a reality.”
Along with its partner company, Forma Steel, STS currently employs close to 220 people. The new facility will help to double its production on the wood side and, depending on demand, could bring up to 40 more employees on board.
“It’s been a long journey. Mom and Dad got started in the business 44 years ago in Fort Macleod, building roof trusses, and from there it grew,” Feyter said.
The first building on its current site was opened in 2001, a fair distance from any large centre. It was considered a big endeavour at the time, he acknowledged.
Of the workforce, about 50 per cent are from outside of Fort Macleod’s town limits. Among those is Tracey Hoffman, a production co-ordinator who began with the operation almost two years ago.
“Designers will bring down the truss drawings and I’m responsible for putting them into production for the guys and gals to do the work,” Hoffman says.
She points out it’s not just roof trusses, but floors and walls as well. STS also has a laminated-post division.
“I am very proud of this company,” she adds. “It’s a fantastic company to work for. The growth is going to make a huge impact for Fort Macleod, but the surrounding area too.”
While the target market for its product might be larger cities like Lethbridge and Calgary, Hoffman likes the small-town feel and the fact it takes her only about 30 minutes to travel to work.
“If you live in a big city, a half-an-hour drive is nothing.”
She says there are lots of opportunities for incoming employees.
“We have forklift drivers, carpenters, three mechanics on-site, a sales team … designers. Logistics is a big one. If we don’t have logistics, nothing gets out.”
Company founder Francois, Brent’s father, was also on hand for last Friday’s announcement.
“It’s amazing. I’m so excited,” he said of the company’s progression and the new facility in the works.
“Our family had a farm outside of town and my dad couldn’t keep me busy, so a contractor uptown said come work for me,” recalls Francois of his start in construction. “So, we built houses for a while … and then he quit on me.”
His employer didn’t exactly quit but became the first foreman on the Lethbridge University project. Francois was to join him in Lethbridge once all the local projects were complete, but the calls never stopped, and eventually a business was born.
Alberta’s jobs, economy and trade minister, Matt Jones, also on hand for the news conference, said his government will provide almost $1 million for the new project.
“This investment will help bring even more jobs to the region, grow the local economy and support Alberta’s economic prosperity.”
The money, he said, is coming from the province’s Investment and Growth Fund.
“For every $1 million the fund contributes to Alberta investment, approximately $70 million is forecast to be spent in the province,” Jones told a gathered audience, which included company employees.
Structural Truss Systems CEO Brent Feyter described the expansion as a way to better support its customer base and employees, and grow the local community.
With shovels, or in this case excavators, in the ground, construction of the new facility is expected to take about 16 months, Feyter said, giving it a potential opening of spring 2025.
Dave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze