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Dynamysk Automation
Written by Mark Golombek

Dynamysk Automation is a Canadian instrumentation, controls and electrical (ICE) system engineering company with a distinct advantage based on its ability to do everything in-house – from the engineering and design to construction, commissioning and maintenance.
This vendor-neutral professional consulting services company, located in Calgary, Alberta, specializes in automation technology for the energy industry. Times are tough in this industry, but the three divisions that Dynamysk has, mean its diversity will take it through the rough patches. We spoke with Business Manager Kiley McKenna, Marketing Administrator Shona Belvoir and President John Lisoway to learn more.

Dynamysk’s roots lie in automation engineering and field service. However, over the years, it has offered more services within the instrumentation and electrical control discipline to provide a one-stop service that is unique in the industry.

“We can cover scope from the initial engineering right through commissioning to start-up and maintenance. We wanted to be able to offer all of those services to our clients under one umbrella. Within the delivery scope, we do engineering, fabrication and E & I construction with regulatory inspections.”

In 2006, John Lisoway was the senior project manager working in the Middle East for a multi-national company. “Clients in the Middle East trusted John and wanted his team to continue working on their projects, so John decided to create a new start-up company to support his past clients and to create a company based on developing automation solutions that are engineered specifically for the client’s unique needs. That is how Dynamysk got up and running.”

One of the main differentiators for Dynamysk Automation is that it performs services for the full life cycle of a project. It begins with the field analysis and is followed by detailed engineering, fabrication, installation and construction as well as the commissioning, maintenance and long-term support. Dynamysk Automation will not walk away from a client at any phase of the project.

There is no subcontracting of work as it is all done in-house which results in a lower cost to the client. Most of its competitors are automation and electrical construction, fabrication or engineering companies – rarely all three – and must subcontract portions of the project to third parties.

“We are more cost-effective for our clients. The main reason that most companies don’t and can’t is that there are three different business models within one business: one – engineering, two – fabrication, three – field services/construction. They each have their own unique nuances and risk profiles as to how they are administered and managed, and it all has to go under one financial and administrative system, which is the tough part.”

The economic downturn in the energy industry is having an impact on everyone, but that does not mean that there isn’t work to be had, particularly in western Canada. No significant greenfield facilities are being built, but there is plenty of work at existing facilities. A change of focus is in order from the concentration on capital projects to ongoing maintenance, support and improvement of existing facilities. Money is being invested into sites to optimize efficiency, and Dynamysk excels in this area.

The companies that cannot change gears are in a bit of trouble, while companies that are capable of doing this type of work are still healthy and growing, or at least maintaining revenue. Dynamysk is one of the thriving ones, and its success stems from its diversity. “Our field services division is doing very well now, and it’s able to help carry slower parts of the business through this bit of a downturn.”

Dynamysk Automation deals with electrical, automation and instrumentation suppliers, not only in Alberta but throughout North America. It has a dedicated procurement team that regularly negotiates with its suppliers who are also facing cost pressures from customers.

“They are certainly responding to our request at this point in time, as is everybody in the industry who is being challenged with cost pressures from the end-user community in the energy sector. So, they are very important to us in the fact that if we need to be a little bit leaner on our projects to be successful, they are there to support us in order to make our business more competitive.”

John’s philosophy involves keeping key suppliers and technology manufacturers as business partners since they also have a stake in the success of the project. If the project fails, the supplier/manufacturer may also end up with a bad reputation, so John believes it is necessary to keep them involved in a business relationship as opposed to simply a procurement relationship. In fact, for some of its key suppliers, Dynamysk’s capabilities supplement the supplier’s services and vice versa.

“Sometimes these suppliers are only hardware/software vendors, but they have a sales team as well. So we can go in with our suppliers and offer them engineering, fabrication, construction and commissioning services so they can enhance their service offering to their clients directly.”

The short term goal for Dynamysk Automation is to remain on target for this year’s budget and is more focused on its future than ever before. Dynamysk Automation has a good eye for opportunities and is ensuring that the projects it is chasing are viable going into the new fiscal year.

“We are on budget to meet our targets and still expecting growth next year. So, we’re either taking market share away or creating new markets. We set up our company to be risk averse and diversified compared to our competitors in respect to the services we offer.”

For the long term, there is a great deal of room for growth due to the competitive advantage from its one-stop-shop services. And, over the next three to five years, the company plans to further increase ties with its clients to give them a higher value for lower cost.

Dynamysk Automation is growing as a company, so much so that it has even been acknowledged for it, appearing on Alberta Venture’s 2015 ‘Fast Growth 50’ list and’s ‘Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies’ list in the last five of six releases. The key to this growth, as Kiley explains, is the employees of the company who provide value to its clients.

“A technical skill set is certainly a big factor, but we also want our employees to be a good fit culturally. We are a pretty good group of people working together.”

Dynamysk Automation goes out of its way to make employees a part of the company family. The company Christmas party is held at Banff National Park. There are also monthly celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries as well as company barbecues and regular social events which Shona spearheads at a local social club.

“We do 50/50 to raise money for charity and monthly events which are varied. It may be a baseball game or a barbecue. We have contests and karaoke. We try to keep it spicy, so that people see a variety of events don’t become stagnant. It’s not just work, we want to spend some of our social time together too.”

John feels that if an employee has a stake in the game, they will be more focused on providing value to clients. “A culture of like-minded people is a retention factor, but we also have financial incentives as every employee has an opportunity to be a shareholder as well. So their work directly affects their ownership in this company, and they’re focused on growing that equity in their shares.”

“I can say that becoming an owner was important to me and for working with and staying with the company,” Shona agrees. “It is also a flexible company that recognizes the balance with our work and personal lives. If someone needs to work from home, they have that capability.”

And the motivation pays off. Employees’ good work on projects results in a positive experience for the clients leading to more work in the future. Over the years, the company’s new clients have the same experiences and more business follows, which is keeping Dynamysk Automation very busy.



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