Chris Engel is CEO and founder of Canoco Energy Services, a company specializing in oil and gas turnarounds and shutdowns with a focus on maintenance services, as well as project management solutions for large plants across Canada. He heads a talented, experienced team of CMT (construction management team), skilled trades craft, and other experts, who fix mechanical issues and other problems, such as piping, vessels, and valves. An innovative leader with an entrepreneurial mind and over a decade of experience in the oil and gas sector, when he saw a critical unmet need of the industry, he not only started a company to address it, he created the niche market. “We’re a bunch of young guys bringing a new methodology of efficiency and value to our clients by focusing on turnarounds and shutdowns and maintenance, not just new construction. This is not just a job for us. We really want to build partnerships,” he shares.
With a background in the welding trade, Chris’s success as an entrepreneur began early, when, at 19, when he decided to take a risk for his, business venture in the oil field, a small welding company. In 2009, at age 23, he began working in project management, serving as project and turnaround manager for eight years at two energy companies. During this time, he gained experience and greater insight into the industry and its needs not only from his work, but also from two important mentors, Dave Bukvic and Kevin Cadieux, who provided him valuable advice, shared their expertise, and helped guide him.
In 2017, Chris brought together his skill, knowledge, and an unwavering work ethic to launch Canoco Energy Services. With the motto, “What Good Looks Like,” he and his team are committed to the company’s mission: “Provide optimum value to our clients through a culture of trust and integrity. Consistently and predictively deliver ‘What Good Looks Like’ to our business partners. Creating a culture that produces optimum best-in-class turnaround results.” With positive feedback from their clients who appreciate their efforts to ensure long-term partnerships and provide exceptional service, the company continues to grow, with plans to expand into the U.S. and possibly overseas contracts.
Dave Bukvic is a serial entrepreneur with love for the energy sector. After receiving his chemical engineering technology diploma, he jumped into the oil and gas industry working hands-on with heavy equipment before leaving the field to co-own several establishments in the hospitality industry. Seven years later, he sold his interest and returned to the oil and gas industry, working in sales at energy service companies. In 2012, unable to deny his entrepreneurial spirit, he and a partner bought oil field rental equipment. During that venture, he met Chris while the two were working for the same oil field company.
Sixteen years his senior, Chris started to pick Dave’s brain on business early on. Dave taught Chris about his business learning and experiences, and they established a great friendship. “We had an immediate bond, had a lot of mutual interests, and were both very success-driven,” Dave recalls. When Dave left the company to start his own business, Chris followed suit several years later, with a tractor-trailer venture, in part due to Dave’s experience. Dave sold his business and moved back to Calgary, where he launched a new company in a niche market as a business representation and marketing firm with a focus on small- and medium-sized companies.
Nine years later, the two still bounce new business opportunities off one another, and Dave still offers guidance whenever Chris asks. “Chris is an incredibly smart guy. He has great energy and a great attitude and is a go-getter. He is definitely a younger version of me, and I get excited when I see his drive. It motivates me, as well, gets me reenergized. If you can get some level of insight into what direction to take, it is more valuable than gold.”
Kevin Cadieux is an independent turnaround, shutdown/commissioning consultant. With a lifelong passion for his work, he has managed turnarounds for 30 years, primarily in the oil and gas industry. “It is about the team being up and functioning and the company following the right processes because the processes are what makes the company successful,” he shares. Kevin and Chris met when Chris’s company was working on one of Kevin’s shutdowns. “Chris stood out based on the way he manages the event. He had one of the most successful companies there.” They had an opportunity to work together again, guiding, and mentoring companies.
After that, Kevin always recommended Chris and wanted to work with him because he saw that he was capable of being successful. An expert in designing readiness programs in which he measured companies’ readiness for success, Kevin taught the process to Chris, who now conducts his own readiness analysis to determine what companies have and are lacking. “For me, it’s about someone you can trust, and that’s really what I see in Chris. He has a track record of success. He has integrity, and that’s what it takes to be successful.”
CEO and Founder — Canoco Energy Services
Download the Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine and check out Chris' feature on page 28.