Thirty-five years ago, a fledgling concrete business moved from Red Deer County to the corner of 43rd Street and 53rd Avenue in Red Deer. It’s now returning to the county.
Proform Management Inc. and its subsidiary Proform Concrete Services Inc. have already moved some of their operations to a six-acre parcel in Burnt Lake Business Park. A 3,000-square-foot shop at the site will be converted into a 6,000-square-foot office building and an adjacent 14,000-square-foot shop added, said Curtis Bouteiller, who is CEO of both companies, as well as Proform Precast Products Inc.
“It’s at the architect’s right now being designed,” said Bouteiller of the new shop, adding that it will go up as soon as possible this spring.
“We’re hoping to have the shop constructed and operational within four months.”
Development of the new office will commence thereafter, he said, and should wrap up by year-end.
Ultimately, Proform Management will vacate its second-floor premises in the Old Brew Plaza, which at 3,200 square feet has become too small for the growing business.
“We’re bursting at the seams here,” said Bouteiller. “We have no place to put additional people.”
Proform Management will share the Burnt Lake site with Proform Concrete Services, which performs contract work like sidewalks, roads and airport infrastructure. Proform Precast Products, which manufactures items from paving stones to storm water vaults, will remain at its current location southwest of Red Deer. That property consists of 28 acres and a 4,500-square-foot maintenance shop.
The changes reflect a corporate restructuring completed last month, which should help separate Proform’s concrete services and precast products businesses. That should streamline the operations of both, and reduce the potential for confusion among prospective customers, said Bouteiller.
“It’s a lot about branding each individual company, because they are separate.”
The Proform companies’ appetite for space has been stimulated by growth and diversification. The latter includes street and park beautification projects — like Lakeshore Drive in Sylvan Lake and Gaetz Avenue in downtown Red Deer — but more significantly, work at airports.
Starting with a concrete paving job at the High Level Airport in 1999, Proform has established itself as a Western Canadian leader in this field. Its project resumé includes projects at the Edmonton and Calgary international airports, with pending contracts at the Fort McMurray and Victoria airports.
“It’s growing very quickly,” said Bouteiller, estimating that this work now accounts for 10 to 25 per cent of Proform Concrete Services’s volumes, depending on the timing.
The process and equipment required to lay concrete for airport infrastructure are very specialized, said Bouteiller. A giant “placer” deposits the concrete and an equally imposing “paver” smooths it out to strict specifications, with a portable batch plant operating on site.
“We’re hauling concrete in gravel trucks,” he said. “To do that, you have to have a specialized batch plant that can premix the concrete and dump into a gravel truck.”
On the Calgary job, which included gates 1 to 10, the Proform crews worked alongside active runways.
“We were paving right next to taxiways, and planes were going between our batch plant and where we were paving,” said Bouteiller.
The company originated as HEB Developers in 1976, with Bouteiller’s father Harold one of the founders. Today the business has eight owners, including Bouteiller, with all involved in its day-to-day operations.