Banain Cote is president and CEO of Innovative Piling Solutions, the leader in the deep foundations industry. With 18 years of experience in the industry and a diploma in civil engineering, he and his team of technical experts are spearheading the geostructural engineering industry in Northern Canada, as the only company to bridge the gap between structural and geotechnical engineers, offering driven, drilled, helical piles, all aspects of deep foundation, from earth retention to water management. Banain is a hands-on leader with a combination of skills rarely found in the deep foundations industry—both practical and technical expertise in engineering, from both an implementation and design standpoint. Not only can he design the products going into the ground, but he can also operate the equipment required to put that into the ground. While most companies have an engineer design it and an operator install it, Banain can do both and has built his business ethos around that.
“In the construction community, there is a distinct gap between geotechnical engineering and structural engineering, where a structural engineer won’t deal with anything in the ground and the geotechnical engineer won’t deal with anything involving the structures. We deal with both of those because our product is that gap. We design and implement deep foundation systems that are a mix of geotechnical and structural engineering,” Banain explains. “We put our heads together and believe there is a way to do everything, you just have to figure it out. We always say nobody is as smart as all of us together.” As Banain focuses on business development and management, he leverages his technical knowledge to assist in project completion, project management, engineering design, and consultation.
Banain’s love of engineering began when he was just 12 years old, working for his father, who had a similar business. He originally pursued a biochemistry degree, but while working in the engineering area of oilfields during a break from college, his interest was reignited. He moved back home to Saskatchewan in 2012 and co-founded Innovative Piling Solutions with just three employees. For two years, he ran the business while attending classes full time at SIAST to complete his civil engineering diploma. In 2014, he took the company’s helm full time, and along with his two partners, has grown the company into a team of 35 with over 40 pieces of equipment, including an estimating and project management department, mechanics, welders, a staff of accountants, HR personnel, safety, support, and field specialists.
Working together to bridge the engineering gap, Banain and his team approach every situation with what they call a “blank design” and look at every deep foundation type from a unique perspective, unbiased from product type. While there are many contractors who do just continuous flight auger or do just driven piles, and other contractors who do just helical piles, Innovative Piling Solutions does all pile types, from one pile for the deck all the way to thousands of piles for commercial or industrial oil and gas, or large industrial expansions. “This is really something that sets us apart, we look at things from an unbiased perspective. If you get different perspectives, people will have different opinions, so you always must be open-minded,” he shares.
Since its inception, the company has been published in several international magazines, and in 2017, it was nominated for Project of the Year by Pile Driving Contractors Association’s (PDCA) PileDriver Magazine. Based in a small town, the company has some deep connections with the high schools, hockey facilities, ball diamonds, and provides their services for free by way of donation to assist with installing upgrades or building football fields.
President & CEO — Innovative Piling Solutions, Civil Engineering at Saskatchewan Polytechnic