David Werklund is the entrepreneurial spirit and passion behind every organization he is involved with.
An acclaimed Canadian entrepreneur, oilfield-industry leader, and dedicated philanthropist, David (Dave) P. Werklund cultivated his can-do attitude from his wholesome upbringing in rural Alberta. Growing up on a farm fostered a solid work ethic, promoted a strong foundation of core values, and nurtured an appreciation for protecting the environment. It is where Dave's business philosophy was established and is fundamental to the operations of Werklund Ventures.
"In order to have a successful outcome, it is critical to execute on time, deliver on budget, and nurture and manage an asset – it's about aligning our people with our mission, vision and core values. At the Werklund Family Office, every transaction and interaction is aligned with this thinking and these values."
An entrepreneur at heart, Dave has a remarkable desire to "always do better" and an extraordinary knack for recognizing and seizing opportunities. His industrious career began in 1965 at Shell Canada where he worked as a Production Manager. It was here where Dave recognized and capitalized on the need to address environmental and waste management issues in the oil and gas exploration industry. He co-founded Concord Well Servicing in 1979 and grew it from a one-rig operation to the third largest well service company in Canada.
In 1984 he established Canadian Crude Separators (CCS - a founding company of Tervita) which grew into a $3.7 billion enterprise by 2007. CCS recognized the need for a treatment facility and built one to meet a specific customer need. In the service rig industry they constantly looked for ways to improve the operation of their rigs resulting in CCS owning one of the most modern rig fleets in the industry. At their treatment facilities, CCS pioneered the Gravity Compression System which helps settle solid waste from the emulsions received at the plant. CCS implemented design innovations in their salt caverns to make them safe and permanent. These design changes led to the first Canadian underground storage facility at Hardisty. CCS believed that waste product should never touch the earth, which led to improvements in their waste management sites that exceeded existing regulatory standards and set a new industry and provincial standard. CCS pioneered the concept of a growth trust when other trusts were simply paying out cash flow. In 2003 CCS acquired Pro Drill which supplied drilling mud and supplies to the oil patch. This unique acquisition allowed Pro Drill employees to market CCS treatment, recovery and disposal services to a new group of customers. In 2004 CCS added an additional layer of services to their offering with the acquisition of Hazco which had a number of engineered land-fill sites and performed remediation services for various projects across Canada. Through his role as CEO the company built this multi-billion dollar company from the ground up which led him to receive both the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2005 Prairie Region and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® in 2005.
In March 2012 CCS and its twelve other related divisions merged together to form Tervita Corporation at which time Dave shifted from President & CEO to the Chairman of the Board. At one time Tervita had more than 4,600 employees across Canada and the US, with sales of $5.8 billion, and had the industry's most comprehensive array of environmental and waste management services. This remarkable record of sustained growth was a testament to Dave’s philosophy of "empowering our people" and creating a workplace where innovation and a solutions-oriented, entrepreneurial spirit rules. Dave remained the chairman of the Board at Tervita until 2016.
In 2006, Dave redirected his entrepreneurial endeavours with the establishment of the Werklund Family Office, a unique private family organization preserving and promoting the legacy and values of the Werklund family and providing tailored personal and wealth management services for individual family members. In 2014, he created Werklund Ventures Ltd. to personally invest in private innovative companies. Among his many interests, he is Founder and Chairman of Payload Technologies Inc., the CEO and Chairman of Pure Environmental LP, and currently serves as the Chair of the Board for RS Technologies Inc., and Intelligent Wellhead Systems.
In addition to his significant successes in the business community, Dave has also strived to enrich the lives of others through his invaluable philanthropic contributions to individuals, organizations and to his community. In 2006, he endowed the Werklund Foundation as a legacy-building endeavor to empower youth through leadership education. The Werklund Foundation helped develop and launch Empowering Minds™, a program ensuring that thousands of Alberta students are provided an opportunity for empowerment and leadership training, a program considered life-changing by many of its participants. The Foundation continues to fulfil its mission of transforming communities by inspiring youth to achieve their full potential. It has supported and partnered with many inspiring organizations including, but not limited to, the WE Charity (formerly Free the Children), the Calgary Arts Academy, AWALI, Telus Spark, the University of Calgary, Junior Achievement and Kids Help Phone.
Empowering people, integrity, respect, and teamwork have been at the core of Dave's every action throughout his career. From his modest beginning, Dave's steadfast rise in the oilfield industry was advanced by recognizing opportunities, actively engaging in continuous learning, and surrounding himself with talented, progressive individuals. He has relished and overcome numerous challenges along the way, but has always been driven to build organizations reflecting his own principles. He fervently believes in supporting people, teamwork, and enabling rewarding life experiences.
"Caring about your employees is key to running a financially successful business because they are the ones who make the vision a reality. I'm not the one who makes it happen; I make it happen through sharing my vision and empowering people to buy into the vision."
In November 2013, Dave made an historic $25 million donation to the University of Calgary resulting in the Faculty of Education becoming the Werklund School of Education. This donation was the largest ever received by a faculty of education in Canada and will enhance learning opportunities for current and future teachers, provide new scholarships for education students and establish a Student Activities Fund to allow undergraduates to attend educational conferences and access graduate-level research. In 2017, Dave partnered with Olds College to transform the future of smart agriculture through the creation of the Werklund Agricultural Institute with another ground-breaking personal donation.
Dave has also been featured in various publications including the Globe & Mail, the Financial Post, Canadian Business Magazine, the Calgary Herald, Calgary Inc., and Alberta Venture where he was listed as one of Alberta's 50 most influential people.
A reflective, soft-spoken man, Dave attributes his lifelong success to great leadership principles, his enthusiasm for life-long learning, and his dedication to strong values and steadfast ethics. His wealth of experience and expertise have made him a trusted industry partner and one of Canada's most compelling leaders.
Outside of his exhilarating work life, Dave, along with his partner Susan, delights in time spent with grandchildren, and entertaining family and friends at their summer retreat at Shuswap Lake in British Columbia, Canada. He is a classic car enthusiast and he and Susan also take great pleasure in their world travels.