St. John’s, Newfoundland
Construction and construction services
Primary market: Newfoundland
Number of employees: seasonal, 1,400 at high point
CEO: Larry Puddister
Building a better future
Growing demand for Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural resources has been great news for companies such as Pennecon Limited, which supplies construction and construction services that help build the infrastructure to develop those assets. “Five years ago 80 percent of our work was outside of Newfoundland, now 80 percent is here,” says Larry Puddister, the company’s president. “That should give you a good idea of how important the province is to us.”
Pennecon’s operations are divided into four major divisions. Heavy civil, which builds highways, bridges and other infrastructure accounts for about half of its billings, while the concrete, energy and real estate divisions account for the rest. Puddister has high hopes that several initiatives coming on-stream in Newfoundland during the coming years will keep the company busy. These include the Lower Churchill Falls electric project, Iron Ore Company of Canada’s planned expansion and the Hebron Offshore Oil Development.
He attributes Pennecon’s success to a variety of factors. These include its size, the diversity of services that it offers and its positive rapport with employees, particularly managers, who are rewarded with excellent compensation and incentives packages. Penneton’s positive personnel record provides another key, but often hidden asset: access to a talent pool of workers ready to join the company, when it undertakes expansions or new initiatives. “We have less than a 1 percent turnover,” says Puddister. “Our people are happy here and everyone knows it. That gives us the pick of the crop when we want to hire.”
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Peter Diekmeyer Communications Inc.