Studon Electric and Controls Inc. President

Studon joins elite club

One of the country’s best-managed companies resides in Red Deer. That was the conclusion of the judges who named Studon Electric & Controls Inc. to the list of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for 2011.

One of the country’s best-managed companies resides in Red Deer.

That was the conclusion of the judges who named Studon Electric & Controls Inc. to the list of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for 2011.

“We’re tickled pink here at Studon,” said Donald Sutherland, the company’s president and CEO.

Although the list wasn’t publicized until Tuesday, Studon officials were notified a month ago and allowed to share the good news with staff last week.

“It was really hard to keep a lid on it because it was just so exciting,” said Sutherland.

In fact, he added, the honour ranks right up there with the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award that Studon received in 2006.

Started in 1993, Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies program is sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post and Queen’s School of Business. It’s open to private, Canadian-owned companies with annual revenues in excess of $10 million.

Naresh Nakhid, a Calgary-based partner in private company services with Deloitte and leader of the 50 Best Managed Companies program for Southern Alberta, said more than 300 companies were considered for inclusion on the 2011 list.

Sutherland, who co-founded Studon in 1995, thinks his company earned high marks for its dramatic growth coming out of the recession.

“In the last year we’ve doubled in size,” he said, placing the current staff count at more than 500.

“It’s a testimonial that we’re able to adapt; we’re able to manage our company through both the good times and the bad times.”

Sutherland described how the company — which provides electrical and instrumentation services and products for the energy, commercial, industrial, forestry and agricultural sectors — strives for constant improvement. That’s included adopting new systems and processes to support anticipated growth.

“We’ve always tried to build our infrastructure first and then we get into the growth spurt.”

At the core of Studon’s success is its people, he said, citing the corporation’s slogan, “People, pride and service.”

Managers, supervisors and other leaders complete an in-house program that instills the company’s values in them. He estimates that more than 300 staff have completed this training — called Studon Supervisory Academy — which some have described as “life-changing” on a personal level as well as a professional one.

Hiring the right people has been key to Studon’s success, said Sutherland. He wants the company to be the employer of choice for people — especially as the labour market continues to tighten — and thinks the 50 Best Managed Companies recognition will help.

Studon’s payroll is expected to grow by another hundred people by spring, he said.

Studon and its counterparts on the 50 Best Managed Companies list will be recognized at a March 27 gala and symposium in Toronto. Sutherland said a contingent of 10 people, including himself, will represent Studon.

Nakhid said the Toronto gathering is an opportunity for members of the winning companies to interact, network and build relationships.

Businesses named to the 50 Best Managed Companies list are eligible to requalify for Best Managed status for two additional years. Those that do so for four or more years become Gold Standard members, and after six or more years of continuous Best Managed status they join a Platinum Club.

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