Katch Kan Ltd. perfects employee training

Edmonton-based company has more than 100 employees in 61 countries

January 15, 2013

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The Challenge
Quinn Holtby, president and chief executive of Katch Kan Ltd., realized early on that a standardized training program would be necessary to make sure the company’s systems were installed correctly, no matter where in the world they were being used.

“We’ve always done our training this way because we needed a level of consistency,” he says. “Right from Day 1 in Canada, our first priority was to make sure everyone was certified.”

The private company’s first patented system was installed in 1994. The services company manufactures and sells safety equipment for onshore, offshore and well-servicing rigs. Holtby originally created a cylinder that would clasp around the drill and prevent fluid from spilling onto the rig floor whenever the drill was pulled out.

The company has developed several other products that improve safety on a rig. Katch Kan also developed a system that combines several of its products and not only prevents fluid from covering surfaces of a rig, but collects fluid so it can be reused in operations.

The Edmonton-based company now has more than 100 employees spread across 61 countries.

The Strategy
Every employee of Katch Kan is brought to the company’s head office in south Edmonton for training. “It’s mandatory because they need to know what the equipment does,” Holtby says.

Language is Katch Kan’s biggest barrier in delivering a consistent training program, so Holtby brought people in to develop training programs for people who did not speak English. Visual exercises also play a key role in breaking down language barriers. Katch Kan invested in a simulator five years ago to help solve that challenge. The company also moved into a 50,000-square-foot facility to accommodate the new equipment and provide a better environment for training.

“It is equipped with a service rig simulator, a drilling rig simulator and a wellhead simulator,” Holtby says. “We’ve built it so it can be modified. You can set it to different configurations and rig stacks. You can train someone on single, double, triple, jackup and offshore rigs.”

Katch Kan’s training program was developed in-house and includes five levels of certification. Every employee goes through the first level of training, which details the installation and removal of the company’s different products and systems. The level one training course takes one week and includes five installations in Canada.

The level two and three courses provide more extensive training on safety to allow employees who complete those levels to become subject matter experts. Both levels also include communication components, which provide training on how to properly interact with workers on a rig or office supervisors, depending on the level of certification. The level five training course, meanwhile, takes one month to complete.

Katch Kan also gathers its country managers from around the world in Edmonton for one month every year for course updates and certificate of recognition training. “The training also gives us an opportunity to measure how effective our employees are,” Holtby says. “We can measure the installation and measure safety on the rig.”

The Payoff
Holtby estimates Katch Kan spends about 300 per cent more on training by bringing its employees to Edmonton rather than having a trainer travel to a foreign country. The extra costs are not just for training, however.

Holtby says that during the annual country manager meeting in 2011, the company included a five-day travel plan that allowed international employees to visit the Rocky Mountains. “I firmly believe synergy is built on having people come here to see our operations and live our values,” he says.

But, he says, the additional cost has been worth it. Ensuring systems are properly installed and improving rig safety is the main reason the company has been able to expand its operations to more than 60 countries.

“Most oil companies are attuned to the fact that things can be done better,” Holtby says. “Our goal isn’t just to deliver our systems. Our country managers are always looking at other technologies from Canada that can be passed on to operations in other countries.”

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