In the run up to what could be tens of billions of dollars being spent in northwestern B.C. on liquefied natural gas plants and on the pipelines to provide the raw product for those plants, a wide variety of companies from outside have set up shop to offer the services, expertise and supplies as part of the needed groundwork leading to final investment decisions.
Many of those newly arrived companies over the past several years bring with them established relationships with the international industrial players who hope to develop LNG plants and other industries.
One of those companies is Swift Worldwide Resources, an employee search firm with 27 offices around the world and a presence in 36 countries.
It’s focussed on the oil and gas industry and has had an office in Calgary since 2007 and has now opened an office on the second floor of the former Terrace and District Credit Union building on Lazelle Ave. in Terrace.
“We’re here in B.C. just because of all of these projects,” says Swift’s one and only – for now – Terrace employee, Katja Lenihan.
“Where the client is, we go.”
Lenihan herself speaks to the international nature of oil and gas industry employment. Originally from England, she spent time with Swift in its Perth, Australia office before the local posting.
Swift began in England but its headquarters is now in Houston, Texas, the heart of the American oil and gas industry and its Calgary location speaks to that city being the oil and gas industry hub for Canada.
Swift’s northwestern B.C. client list includes Chevron, which has a 50 per cent stake in Kitimat LNG, one of two major LNG projects under consideration for Kitimat.
It also services other companies in the region as well, the engineering firm of Hatch and companies connected to Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitmat smelter modernization project.
Swift will find and hire a full range of employees of all kinds of skill sets.
“What I’ve been doing is getting the [Swift] name out there, attending various functions, generally introducing myself and the company. People are asking who are you and why are you are. I’m raising the profile,” says Lenihan.
Swift provides two types of employees to its clients – those who will be permanently hired by the client and those who remain within Swift and are provided on a contract basis.
“We have a huge database at our disposal,” explains Lenihan of the CVs and resumes on file.
While one arm of Swift works with clients to find the people the client needs, another arm of Swift keeps track of the people it has working for clients.
“We’re always updating,” says Lenihan. “We want to make the [recruitment] process as seamless as possible. What our teams do is at least three months in advance of a contract ending is to start speaking with that person of where they might want to go or whether they might want to stay.”
One of Swift’s recruitment tenets is to find people who have at least one non-monetary motive for employment.
When it comes to Canadian projects, Lenihan says it looks for qualified Canadian applicants first locally, then nationally and then Canadians working abroad.
Lenihan describes Swift, which has 400 employees, as an open company with accessible lines of communication. “Our key is flexibility and to act quickly when needed,” she said.