OUR HISTORY

In 1949 J.J. Simpson started Simpson Elevation Company Limited. This was a subscriber service aimed at providing the Alberta petroleum industry with reliable ground and Kelly Bushing Elevations for wellsites. As the oil industry grew and demanded new services, the company began performing wellsite and access road surveys. Subsequently, these services and pipeline right-of-way surveys became one of the company’s key areas of expertise.

As the company grew and established a strong presence in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Midwest also embraced the geomatics technologies of the future. Our experienced, knowledgeable staff and strategically located offices and crews are essential to Midwest’s key business cornerstone: to provide consistent premium service to all of our clients.

Between the mid-1950s and 1999 Midwest Surveys grew exponentially, first forming a Saskatchewan division, with offices in Regina and Estevan; then an Edmonton office was opened to serve northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories; later the Lloydminster office was opened, the Medicine Hat office was established and the Maple Creek office opened. Just before the turn of the century, Midwest added an office in Grande Prairie, one in Peace River, and finally in 2007 Midwest’s tenth office opened in Fort St. John, British Columbia.

As the company grew and established a strong presence in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Midwest also embraced the geomatics technologies of the future. Our experienced, knowledgeable staff and strategically located offices and crews are essential to Midwest’s key business cornerstone: to provide consistent premium service to all of our clients.

Cool Timeline

1947
1947

1947

The discovery of Leduc No. 1 by Imperial Oil gives birth to the Canadian Oil & Gas industry.

1949
1949

1949

Jerry Simpson, like many others at that time decides to migrate north of the border in the winter of 1948-49. It didn’t take long for the opportunity of starting a company of his own to present itself. This is how Simpson Elevation Company came to be.

Jerry’s wife Marilyn was all the help Jerry needed at the time, working the Stadia rod. The couple lived in Edmonton for 2.5 years and relocated to Calgary in 1952 all while working out of their home.

One of the first employees was a draftsman named Gordie Johnson. Although he never was interested in owning shares, he was one of Jerry’s most dedicated employees.

1953
1953

1953

Early in 1953, Jerry was needing professional help and hired 3 tremendous colleagues.

The first was Mr. Bill Turner, then a Professional Engineer. In April 1953, Bill was granted his Alberta Land Surveyor Commission. Secondly, Gordie Goldsworthy was hired for the Regina area, and Hal Falkenburg, an engineer and surveyor hired to service the Edmonton area.

Over the next two years, a lot of time was spent in the field providing a full complement of oilfield survey services.

1956
1956

1956

On May 1, 1956 the name changed from Simpson Elevation Co. to Simpson Surveys Ltd. To better compliment the new profile of services offered.

Marilyn gave up her interest share in the company to Bill Turner and Hal Falkenburg. New offices were established in Edmonton under Hal and Stan Rudovics; in Regina under Gord Goldsworthy; in Estevan under Lyle Ford and Bruce Morrow; and in Ft. St. John under Earl Little (not pictured).

1956
1956

1956

On June 5th, 1956 Don Wong (only 16 at the time) walked through the door with his slick-back hair. Rumor is that he was hired because he owned his own car. Don made a flat rate of $190 per month (230 hours), $3 per day for meals and $0.09 per mile for mileage. Don managed the Medicine Hat office straight through to his retirement in 1992.

Steve Nagy started with the company in July of 1956. Steve was a land surveyor in Calgary from November 1962 until his retirement in 1983. Steve was a perfectionist and strict disciplinarian to survey procedures.

1957
1957

1957

On May 1, 1957 there was another name change from Simpson Surveys Ltd. to Midwest Surveys Ltd. Because Jerry was not an ALS, the ALSA took issue with having “Simpson” in the company name.

Shortly after, on June 1st, 1957 Midwest Surveys [Regina] Ltd. incorporated.

1959
1959

1959

On May 1st, 1959 Bruno Hoever started with Midwest Surveys [Regina] Ltd. and worked out of Gordie Goldsworthy’s house. Bruno would be a significant contributer to the Saskatchewan operations over the coming years.

1960
1960

1960

Lou Breton joined Midwest in August of 1960 as an ALS to help Stan Rudovics in Edmonton. Lou was extremely knowledgable and became very involved with his field crews as “the motivating factor.” Lou was a leader in Edmonton through to his retirement in 1983.

Don Sandham was hired in May of 1960. After spending about 5 years in the field, Don obtained his commission in June 1966. Don was an integral part of the Calgary operations for some 32 years until his retirement in 1992.

1961

1961

Leonard Leiman joined the firm in May of 1961 in Calgary. Bill and Jerry offered Len a transfer to Fort St. John or Edmonton. Len chose the Edmonton office with Stan Rudovics and Louie Breton, later receiving his commission in June 1970. Len managed the Edmonton office after the passing of Stan Rudovics in the early 70’s.

1963
1963

1963

Bob Sorensen started with Midwest Surveys in December of 1963. Shortly after he was hired, there was a need for crews in Fort St. John, BC. The company told him he would be gone for much of the winter; he didn’t return to Calgary until 6 years later.

1963
1963

1963

On March 16th, 1963 Midwest Surveys [Regina] Ltd.name changed to Midwest Surveys [Sask] Ltd.

The Lloydminster office Midwest Surveys [Lloyd] Ltd.) opened under the supervision of Henry Knitter, ALS, SLS.

On April 1st, 1963 Midwest Surveys [Alberta] Ltd. was incorporated and all the companies fixed assets were moved to this holding company.

1964
1964

1964

On January 13, 1964 a new branch was formed under the Midwest umbrella: MSL Aerial Services. It had a full aerial photography department complete with a pilot and cameraman.

1966
1966

1966

Stan “Spur” Spurrier was hired in March of 1966 for the Regina centre and also spent some time in the Estevan Office. After 12 years, Stan made the move to Calgary to join the drafting department in 1978 or 1979 and later would become an integral part of the sales team. Stan is known for his carisma and genuine demeanor. Stan left Midwest in 1997 however decided to join the sales team again in 2000. Stan would retire again in 2010.

John Schmidt started in May 1966 in the Calgary office, obtained his commission in June 1972 and retired in 1988. John was also an office manager in Calgary.

1967
1967

1967

Roger Hawthorne was hired in December of 1967 for the drafting department in Calgary. Roger was dedicated and had superior people skills and was promoted to manage that same department. Filling a valuable role in business development, Roger also became a permanent fixture on Midwest’s Board of Directors. Roger retired in 1997 after 30 years of service.

1968

1968

Ken Moore was hired in 1968 as the drafting manager for the Calgary office. He moved to a sales position in Calgary where he spent the remainder of his career until he left the company in 1984.

1970
1970s

1970s

With a new generation, the 70’s brought some fresh faces. Starting with Gordie Repp, Lorne Thompson and Doug Krempien. Jim Berry joined in 1972 and Jim Halliday landed in Calgary in 1973. Roger Morrow first came through the doors of Midwest in 1973. Barry Clarkson joined the Lloydminster office in 1973 and shortly after in 1974 Linda Keith started in Medicine Hat. Harvey Nixdorf joined in 1977, Jack Ward in 1978 and Garth Flaig (Brooks) and Jay Abbey started in 1979.

1978
1978

1978

1978 Saw another name change to Midwest Surveys & Services Ltd. due to the addition of land and engineering departments. Jim Halliday joins Don Wong and they officially open the Medicine hat office.

1979
1979

1979

Jerry Simpson retires in 1979 and him and wife Marilyn make the permanent move to Maui, HI. Co-founder Bill Turner is named the new president, a natural transition.

1980
1980

1980

In 1980, Midwest acquired Surco Surveys from Doug Krempien. Doug stays on with the Edmonton office.

1980
1980

1980

Sidney Harding opened a land surveying office in Regina in 1944, John Boss started to work for Harding in 1954 and formed a partnership after he gained his commission in 1960. Larry McLeod started working for Harding & Boss in 1967 and after receiving his commission in 1977, Larry joined partners, and Harding, Boss & McLeod (H, B & M) was formed in 1980.

Robert Pattison started with Harding & Boss in 1973 and received his commission in 1983. In 1985 when John Boss retired, Robert became a partner in H, B & M along with Barry Clark and Roy Pominville.

Throughout the 70’s the company grew considerably, establishing iteself in the housing industry through the efforts of John Boss. In 2000, H. B & M acquired General Surveys Ltd and in 2007 Midwest Surveys acquired H, B & M. Robert Pattison retired in 2011 and Larry McLeod in 2012. Both remain to work part-time for Midwest.

1980

1980

Between 1979-1980, Midwest purchased its first Wang Mini Computer System with 64K of memory running 8 terminals, 2 graphics monitors and 1 flatbed plotter for around $200,000.

Bob Sorensen and Norm Olsen travelled to El Paso, Texas to receive intensive training on using the coordinate geometry and earthworks software. The biggest advantage beyond performing survey calculations, was using it to produce title blocks while the rest of the plan was still hand drafted.

Later on, the Wang downloaded and processed survey data direct from the data collector from the field into the coordinate geometry package and a custom written invoicing program for accounting.

Norm Olsen started with Midwest in July 1975 in deliveries, and later moved into the drafting department. Norm played a significant role in introducing the Wang to our operations. He later started the adoption of the PC and AutoCAD software for complete drafting of well-site and pipeline right-of-way plans. Norm left Midwest in 1988.

1980
1980s

1980s

Besides really great mullet haircuts, the 80’s also brought some really important people to the Midwest Team. Doug Hancock, Dode Berry and Tim Martin all started in 1980. Jim Sharpe came on board in 1981, Brian Farrant in 1983, and David Quirk in 1985. Brian Waldegger was hired in 1988 along with Gerry Smyth. Charles Olsen and Al Thibideau both joined in 1989. The company also saw the purchase of its first computers: The Wang Computer.

1982
1982 and later…

1982 and later…

In 1982, Bill Turner retires and Len Leiman becomes the new president Len Lieman ran the company like he golfed – always straight up the middle.

The first formal safety manual was developed under Len’s direction. Len retired from the company in 1997.

Midwest’s Land & Engineering division was started in 1973 and was shut-down in the 1980’s.

Trudeau promised to slow the rise of the price of oil and brought in a new revenue-sharing regime with National Energy Program. This would mean tough times ahead for the company. The business operations were also highly effected by the royalty relief programs in place at the time.

1985
1985

1985

In 1985, Bruno Hoever becomes president of Midwest Surveys [Sask] Ltd. Bruno later retired in 2004 after 19 years of service.

Gordon Goldsworthy retires and Dave Quirk came over from Prairie Surveys. Dave worked with Roger Morrow quite a bit on the road.

1990
1990

1990

Roger Morrow received his SLS Commission in July, 1979 and shortly after, started the Unity office with 2 field crews, working out of his basement. By the early 80’s, they were busy enough to sustain 4 field crews, and moved to an office space in Unity. Roger would phone in the previous day’s info to Bruno, as all the drafting was completed in Regina. What a relief it was to receive their first fax machine in 1985! Shortly thereafter, the oil prices fell and more time was spent in Maple Creek to meet the demands of shallow gas drilling. It was then that they realized the volume of potential work in SW Saskatchewan. The Unity office was closed, and in 1990, the Maple Creek office was opened with Roger as office manager.

1991
1991

1991

1991 saw another name change to what we know now: Midwest Surveys Inc. The companies first GPS receiver was purchased, creating increased efficiency in the field.

1994
1994

1994

Victor Hut was hired in 1994 as a Land Surveyor in Calgary operations and later managed the client relations department. Victor would go on with Midwest in this capacity until 2008 when he left Midwest.

1997
1997

1997

In 1997, Jim Halliday becomes president and Len Leiman becomes chairman of the board of directors.

Also in 1997, Ian Emmerson is hired in Calgary and Midwest aquires Emmerson & Associates Surveys Ltd.

1998
1998

1998

On December 31st, 1998 the three companies amalgamate.

1999

1999-2000

In 1999, the company celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a total of 132 employees.

The application of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies causes the Bakken field oil production in Southeast Saskatchewan to boom.

COMPANY ACCOLADES

50 Best Employers and Best Small & Medium Employer 

Ranked as one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada 5 of 5 years we participated (2005 – 2008) and named a Best Small & Medium Employer (BSME) in 2014.

Alberta’s Top Employers

Ranked as one of Alberta’s Top Employer’s (2006 – 2010).

Canada’s Best Employers for Recent Grads

A sub-category under the Top 100 Employers Survey, Midwest received this recognition 3 years in a row (2010 – 2013).

30 Best Pension & Benefits Plan

Midwest recognized nationally in 2009. Flexibility in structure and “thinking outside the box” helped us to achieve this recognition.

Safety Awards

2011 – Cenovus Energy Safety & Environmental Stewardship Award. WCB’s Top Industry Performer in AB, BC, SK

2008 – Alberta’s Best Workplaces for Health & Safety (Alberta Venture Magazine).

OFFICE MANAGERS

CALGARY

Jerry Simpson
Ken Moore
Bill Turner
John Schmidt
Jim Halliday
Dode Berry
Jim Sharpe
Jay Abbey
Scott Boulanger

EDMONTON

Hal Falkenburg
Stan Rudovics
Len Leiman
Doug Krempien
Kevin Swabey
Ralph Bode
Mark Knott

REGINA

Gordon Goldsworthy
Bruno Hoever
Larry McLeod
Garnet Garner

ESTEVAN

Gordon Goldsworthy
Bruno Hoever
Bruce Morrow
Lyle Ford
David Quirk
Steven Drew

LLOYDMINSTER

Henry Knitter
Barry Clarkson
Brad Pollard
Matt Ward

LLOYDMINSTER

Henry Knitter
Barry Clarkson
Brad Pollard
Matt Ward

MEDICINE HAT

Don Wong
Gordie Repp
Lloyd Cridland
Tim Martin

MAPLE CREEK

Roger Morrow
Brian Burridge
Curtis Galecki

GRAND PRAIRIE

John Engleberts
Don Begg

PEACE RIVER

Ross Metcalfe
Don Begg

FORT ST. JOHN

Earl Little
Neil Bennett
Rich Nixon
Jerry Mullin

DEPARTMENT MANAGERS

GIS

Pearson Farnsworth
Brian Waller
Scott Boulanger
Michael Vogel

HR

Elizabeth Disman
Brent Gordon
Kelsey Poxon

IT

Vince Orme
Jaci Da Silva
Don Owen

PCIS

Dode Berry
Andy Sytsema
Steve Card

PIPELINE INTEGRITY

Jeff Main

MMP
(Calgary Opps.)

Jay Abbey
Scott Boulanger

SAFETY

Ken Wesen
Tim Schmidek
Paul Maron

CLIENT RELATIONS & MARKETING

Victor Hut
Derek Feener
Jill Burridge
Kevin Swabey *Vacant*

COMPANY PRESIDENTS

Jerry Simpson
1949

Bill Turner
1979

Len Leiman
1982

Jim Halliday
1997

Kevin Swabey
2008

A HISTORY OF THE BRAND

Company Letterhead

Taglines and Logos

THEN VS NOW

Tools & Technology

65 YEARS

Jaren Norcutt

“Could you write us a poem?” Kevin asked with a grin, “I guess I could try though I’m not sure where to begin.

My husband said this sounds like something your mom did, and it’s true, she’s the poet, I’m just her kid.

So I’ll give it a go, sit back, have a drink and listen to the history of Midwest Surveys Inc.

Simpson Elevation Company is how we were known, 1949 to now, just look at how we’ve grown.

In 1953 a Saskatchewan division was formed, then in 1955 the Edmonton office was born.

In 1956, they changed the name once more, Simpson Surveys we were called and the shareholders
numbered 4.

Somewhere down the line they settled on Midwest, we did the work the clients needed, our field crews were the best.

Through the years we’ve expanded, Estevan and GP, Medicine Hat, Lloydminster, and Ft. St. John, BC.

Regina, Maple Creek & Peace River to name them all, each one a stepping stone to great things big and small.

Celebration in ’99, we made it to 50 years, 47 shareholders clinked glasses and said cheers!

Ups and downs we’ve had them all but here’s what sets us apart, we’ve got the perfect mixture of work ethic and heart.

It’s like a family business without your family near, but then I got to thinking there’s more family here than peers.

The Berry’s and the Farrant’s, the Halliday’s and Ward’s, one or two have walked these halls in some cases even more.

The Hoever’s and the Sears’ and a Leiman or three or four, some would call it nepostism, I call it good rapport.

So here we are in 2014, look what 65 brings, 119 shareholders celebrating at the Banff Springs.

So whether you’re new or been around for a few, or retired or just starting out you all played a part, make sure to take heart …you’re what Midwest Surveys is all about.

Thank the ones around you, a handshake or clink of the cup. We’ve come a long, long way my friends and there’s no place to go but up.

65 years has snuck up on us and we all deserve a hand So raise a glass, say congrats and strike up the band.

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