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Riding an ocean-sized wave of success

EDMONTON, Alta. - In the northwest of Alberta's capital city, looms the beginnings of a thriving industrial park. A few newly-constructed buildings have already been erected along the freshly paved as...


EDMONTON, Alta. – In the northwest of Alberta’s capital city, looms the beginnings of a thriving industrial park. A few newly-constructed buildings have already been erected along the freshly paved asphalt streets, waiting for further developments to join them in the backyard of the Yellowhead Highway.

One such building, which sits on 23 acres of land, belongs to Ocean Trailer. It is the largest of the four facilities operated by Ocean Trailer and like the Yellowhead Highway they span the western provinces.

“We’re a customer’s one-stop trailer shop,” explained Sid Keay, president of Ocean Trailer. “We fix trailers, rent, finance, and sell.”

On Nov. 15, 2005, the company moved into its new digs, one month after celebrating its 10-year anniversary in Edmonton and on Feb. 9 it held an open house unveiling the 41,000 sq.-ft. facility to customers, suppliers and well-wishers.

One of the attendants travelled in from Saskatchewan with more on his agenda than to take in the new facility.

Harvey Van De Sype, Canadian sales manager for Wilson Trailer, was there to present a plaque to Ocean Trailer.

Ocean Trailer serves as a distributor for a number of different brands of trailers and after five years of ushering in Wilson Trailer stock, the company has achieved status as the top distributor of Wilson Trailer’s flatbed trailer.

“They had a terrific year in ’05 and we’re hoping it will carry over in ’06. We have a really good working relationship with them and they have one heck of a sales force,” said Van De Sype.

“We’re pretty proud of these guys. I’m not sure if some customers are aware of the job they do for us and the commitment they’ve made.”

Wilson Trailer is based in Sioux City, Iowa and has been manufacturing trailers since 1890, with its livestock trailer serving as the company’s flagship model.

“It’s really thanks to distributors like Ocean Trailer that we can say we have never delivered more semi-trailers in Canada. We delivered 55 per cent more trailers in Canada in ’05 than our best year in the past,” noted Van De Sype. “Today we’re at the grand opening of their Edmonton facility, just six or seven months ago they had a grand opening in Winnipeg and two or three years ago they had one in Calgary. They’ve really made a commitment to the transportation industry and their suppliers and customers.”

The fourth Ocean Trailer facility is located in B.C. where the family-owned and operated business began as a trailer rental company.

Over the years it added trailer service and then leasing to the operation.

On Apr. 1, the company will be celebrating its silver anniversary after 25 years in business.

“If you told me 25 years ago we’d be where we are today I’d say you were from Mars,” said Keay.

“We came from humble beginnings and have been very blessed by having incredible people come with us and grown with us in growing our business.”

The company began operation during a recession, which continued through the company’s setup. Keay said they learned a lot of hard lessons in the early stages, but it was hard work that got them through.

“There’s no magic box or secret formula, just a lot of hard work,” he explained.

“We have a tremendous amount of long-term customers, people from the difficult times when we started we never forgot those people and many are still here with us today.”

As well as hard work, Keay attributes the success of Ocean Trailer to two things: integrity and people.

“If you do what you say you will, you will be successful and nothing less should be accepted,” Keay noted and showed a similar inscription printed on the back of his business card to emphasize his point.

“We’re a relationship company and value our employees, suppliers and customers equally. They must all be pulling in the same direction,” said Keay.

“It’s all about relationships with your people, suppliers and customers. I can’t emphasize it enough. If the company they work for has honour and they are supported they have an opportunity to succeed.”


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