Howatt Consulting Ltd. (HCL) is an engineering and project management firm locally owned and based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; 2017 marks their 10thyear in business. In 2007, HCL started out with two employees and a project at PotashCorp Allan to manage their loadout expansion. Over the next two years, Dwayne Howatt, the company’s owner and principle engineer, and Jeff Myhre, a mechanical engineer, helped lead the loadout expansion, which included upgrades to the loadout facilities in order to double the red and white product-loading rates. For the next four years, HCL continued to focus on project management at potash mine sites in Saskatchewan.
In 2013, HCL hired three more employees, two mechanical designers and one mechanical engineer. This staff were brought on to complete engineering and design projects for Continental Mine and Industrial Supply (CMI). The partnership with CMI served as a benefit for both HCL and CMI as they share a client base and could build on each other’s success. In 2015, the company saw an opportunity to expand as a small engineering and project management firm within the potash industry by increasing the number of employees, adding more disciplines, and expanding its service offering. In February 2015, HCL hired a new general manager, Rory Duncan, who then continued to expand the company. HCL went from five employees to 28 in just two years. The company was fortunate to move into a new building in April 2016 as their increase in staff caused them to outgrow the small space they previously occupied within a local strip mall.
HCL was achieving their goals. They transitioned from a small firm with only mechanical capabilities, to a mid-sized firm that could also handle civil/structural, electrical/instrumentation, process, and geological projects during a time when other engineering companies were scaling back.
HCL’s strengths include equipment design, detailing, material handling design, and discrete element modelling (DEM). DEM is simulation technology that is used to approximate the motion and mechanical interactions within a system. The simulation provides a detailed description of the velocities, positions, and forces acting in the system throughout the entire analysis. DEM can be applied to any system containing bulk materials, allowing HCL to service clients on transfer points, screw conveyors, drag conveyors, loading points, product mixing, skip loading and unloading systems, trippers, rotary plows, grizzlies, and the list goes on. As many industrial sites look to minimize dust and wear, HCL’s material handling and DEM experience has proven to be very popular.
HCL is able to competitively deliver on small- and medium-size projects while supporting capital planning and maintenance groups throughout the industry. They have completed projects at all of the potash mine sites in Saskatchewan and continues to receive repeat work from the major players in the industrial market. This success is a result of a strong team who work together to achieve project commitments and exceed expectations. Over the years, a new mission statement organically formed:
“Our mission is to support our client’s capital project requirements, continuous improvement, and maintenance initiatives. We support our clients by providing high-quality and practical services that offer a fit-for-purpose solution. We partner with our clients to ensure innovative, cost-effective solutions are developed to meet the operational and maintenance requirements of their facilities.”
HCL continues to see success, even as the market downturn remains. In the future, Howatt Consulting hopes to continue expanding the range of services offered and markets they operate in.