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Our History

Our story is based on a broad employee ownership model, the belief then and now is ‘owners’ will drive and provide the highest level of commitment, entrepreneurship and customer service.  

 

The Fisher Tradition
1880

The Fisher Tradition

In 1880, William Fisher, an engineer at the city waterworks in Marshalltown, Iowa, worked continuously for over twenty-four hours to manually maintain constant discharge pressure on a steam-driven water pump to supply water to fight a fire.

From this experience, Fisher invented the constant-pressure pump governor and founded the Fisher Controls Company to manufacture his regulator. By 1907, these governors were installed in power plants in the United States, Canada, and England.

Emerging Industry
1920s

Emerging Industry

Alberta’s gas industry started at the turn of the century in Medicine Hat, when the Canadian Pacific Railway struck a small flow of gas while drilling for water. More oil was discovered in Turner Valley in the 1920s, and the industry really took off in 1947 with the Imperial Oil discovery, Leduc #1.

 Formation of Spartan Controls
1960s

Formation of Spartan Controls

As the province headed into the 1960’s, investment in developing the oil and gas industry was underway and there was a growing need for process control equipment with strong local support.

Recognizing this potential, founding President Bill Flegal and co-founders Nipper Guest and Steve Germaniuk opened the doors to Spartan Controls in 1963 as an agent for the Fisher Governor Company. Spartan continued to grow and added a third office in Regina the following year.

Humble Beginnings

Humble Beginnings

The name ‘Spartan’ was chosen to reflect the characteristics of the Spartans of ancient Greece, who were known to be great warriors, did what it took to win battles, were lean and efficient, and had strong organizational abilities. It was the desire of Bill, Nipper, and Steve to build a company founded on a strong entrepreneurial spirit and culture, traits that still hold strong for Spartans today.

Oil Sands Industry begins in Alberta
1962

Oil Sands Industry begins in Alberta

In 1962, the government of Alberta granted approval to build the first plant near Fort McMurray. In 1963, Sun Oil invested almost a quarter of a billion dollars in “The Great Canadian Oil Sands Project”. In 1967, commercial production of oil from the Athabasca oil sands began with the start up of this operation (now Suncor).

Spartan was proud to have been involved so early in providing products and services to the oil sands, and today, continues to support our customers in this industry.

Spartech Manufacturing is Formed
1971

Spartech Manufacturing is Formed

In the early 1970’s, the majority of instrumentation and control technology was purchased by Customers in bits and pieces and sent to the field for assembly. Recognizing the need to provide packaged automation solutions, Spartan formed a division called Spartech Manufacturing, providing Customers with a more cost effective to assemble components in a cabinet or panel and test the application in a shop prior to shipping to the field.

Since its inception, Spartech has shipped over 30,000 automation packages to over 30 different countries around the world.

Spartan's Second President
1974

Spartan's Second President

Charles Guest or ‘Nipper’ as he has been known all of his life, had an interesting career prior to his tenure at Spartan. A WWII soldier, Nipper returned to Canada after the war and was hired in the Beverly Coal Mines north of Edmonton. This work inspired him to pursue a degree in mining engineering from the University of Alberta.

In 1949, Nipper took his first engineering job at a refinery with a pipeline construction company. This career change prompted him to move to Toronto in 1952. He didn’t stay in Toronto long, and soon returned to Alberta to work for Barber Engineering and Supply Co. and later to establish Spartan Controls with Bill Flegal.

Formation of Septre Controls
1982

Formation of Septre Controls

Spartan’s Saskatchewan presence had grown considerably by the 80’s, in industries such as oil production, potash mining, and gas transmission and production. On March 1, 1982, Septre Controls, a division of Spartan Controls Ltd. went into business as the Fisher Representative for Saskatchewan.

Ron Kuchinka becomes President
1985

Ron Kuchinka becomes President

Ron Kuchinka grew up in rural Saskatchewan in the town of Macoun, located in the Weyburn-Estevan area. He attended school there before moving to Saskatoon to study Electrical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.

To quote Ron: “Anyone can provide leadership… It is not the sole domain of management. All Spartans have the opportunity to provide leadership as the need arises. Leadership provides the inspiration, motivation, and direction for fellow Spartans to follow.”

Relief Valves are Introduced at Spartan
1985

Relief Valves are Introduced at Spartan

An emerging realization came in the mid 1980’s that Customers wanted a one-stop shop – fewer places to call to get the products and services they needed. Perceptions were that it was “...too complex and costly to have so many vendors". To better serve our Customers, Spartan expanded the scope of instrumentation and process control and added relief valves to the family of products.

Education Services Created
1986

Education Services Created

Today our Education Services have trained over 5000+ students from around the world. The main Edmonton training facility is equipped with three state-of-the-art classrooms and a lab area that provides approximately 4,000 sq. ft. of training space.

Sterling Valve Automation is Formed
1988

Sterling Valve Automation is Formed

Sterling Valve Automation was founded during Spartan's 25th silver anniversary and represented Posi-Seal valves and Automax actuators. In 1990, Sterling began their representation of the Bettis actuator line of Houston, Texas. 

SCADA Systems
1989

SCADA Systems

Spartan's first SCADA installation was in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Without remote systems, the sites would be manned or checked daily by Customer personnel. At the time, helicopters taking personnel to a remote site would rent at $1,000/hour and production downtime could add up to be very expensive.

Spartan expands for the '90s
1990

Spartan expands for the '90s

In the late ‘80’s, the Spartan Edmonton office had reached capacity and a long range plan was developed that involved utilizing the existing building, as well as the 1.75 acres of land to the south.

In 1991, the former warehouse space was renovated. Additional offices were built, the Education Centre was added, and the atrium was expanded to make more room for meetings, events, and celebrations.

FIELDVUE Introduced
1994

FIELDVUE Introduced

Emerson’s Fisher Valve division introduced FIELDVUE ™ in 1994. It was a step change in technology, as not only did the digital valve positioner manage the control valve positioning more consistently and more accurately than ever before, significantly reducing process variability, but it also told you a lot about its health.

A cornerstone of Emerson’s field-based architecture, FIELDVUE ™ really did give users a unique and never before ‘view to the field.’

New additions in Fort St. John, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie
1995

New additions in Fort St. John, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie

In the 1990s Spartan continued to expand with Regional Service Centres in Fort St. John, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Regina, and Saskatoon.

Spartan has since expanded its service offering to include installed base services, education/training, repair and turnaround service, and loop and performance audits.

Introduction of DeltaV
1996

Introduction of DeltaV

The DeltaV system was released in 1996 and was a key component of Emerson’s PlantWeb digital plant architecture built on open standards like FOUNDATION Fieldbus and HART.

Dow Chemical in Fort Saskatchewan was the world’s First DeltaV and FOUNDATION Fieldbus site and Spartan played an integral part in the services and commissioning of the system.

Formation of Measurement Instrumentation Business Unit
1997

Formation of Measurement Instrumentation Business Unit

The most significant impact on the MI BU took place in 1999 when Spartan and Rosemount joined sales forces. This brought a major expansion of high quality measurement products, including industry-leading Pressure, Temperature, Flow, Level, and Analytical devices.

Mike Begin becomes Spartan's Fourth President
1999

Mike Begin becomes Spartan's Fourth President

A University of Waterloo Engineering graduate, Mike started with Fisher Controls in 1982 where he was VP for Sales & Marketing worldwide for Fisher-Rosemount Systems. He was instrumental in bringing the PlantWeb architecture and De

Spartan named one of Canada's Best Managed Companies
2001

Spartan named one of Canada's Best Managed Companies

This prestigious national award recognizes Canadian private companies that meet or exceed rigorous requirements in the areas of company performance, growth, leadership, vision, dedication to core competencies, and innovation. 

Spartan celebrated the 19th consecutive designation in 2020 and has been a member of Canada’s Best Managed Platinum Club for the last 12 years.
Power Ignition and Controls
2003

Power Ignition and Controls

Spartan acquired Power Ignition Controls, a provider of products and services for compressor engines, ignitions and related equipment. This addition complemented Spartan's instrumentation provided on compressor skids and provided a complete line up of Engine & Compressor solutions.
Spartan adds Fire & Security Solutions
2005

Spartan adds Fire & Security Solutions

Spartans adds solutions for the detection of toxic or combustible gases and fires at hazardous areas and heavy industrial sites as well as solutions to alert workers to critical problems, such as gas leaks, and offer horns, strobes and complete public address/general alarm and evacuation systems.
NAIT Spartan Centre Opens in Edmonton
2006

NAIT Spartan Centre Opens in Edmonton

The new NAIT Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Technology opened in 2006 and provided students with leading edge process control technology education and experience.
Spartan Controls Acquires NORPAC
2010

Spartan Controls Acquires NORPAC

Spartan welcomed NORPAC Controls, a Fisher Representative based in Burnaby, BC, to the family in October 2010. NORPAC and Spartan shared similar strengths of culture and performance - serving Customers first with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Reliability & Operational Excellence Solutions
2011

Reliability & Operational Excellence Solutions

Spartan launches advanced process control solutions to improve process efficiencies by pushing and holding production facilities at their most profitable operating limits. Customers shift from reacting to maintenance events, to more predictive reliability centered maintenance practices with monitoring and predictive diagnostic technologies.
Power & Drives Solutions
2016

Power & Drives Solutions

Spartan adds Yaskawa’s portfolio of high-performance low and medium voltage AC drives, to provide Customers with new approaches to enhance energy and production efficiencies and a safer work environment.
Grant Wilde becomes Spartan's 5th President
2017

Grant Wilde becomes Spartan's 5th President

Grant Wilde has held a variety of roles in his 23 years at Spartan including; Business Group and Customer Segment executive leadership, sales, marketing, business unit management and front line sales.

He is a current or past member for various company and association boards including several advisory board roles with Emerson and the Strategic Growth Partners in addition to being a past president of the Gas Processors Suppliers Association of Canada.
Spartan adds Hyundai Motors to Portfolio
2018

Spartan adds Hyundai Motors to Portfolio

As Customers look for new and innovative approaches to enhancing energy and production efficiency, adding Hyundai electric motors to our portfolio will ensure Spartan continues to provide best in class process electrification technologies and solutions.
Spartan named one of Canada's Best Managed Companies
2020

Spartan named one of Canada's Best Managed Companies

Spartan is recognized as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies for excellence in business performance for 18 consecutive years. The Best Managed program award winners are amongst the best-in-class of Canadian owned and managed companies demonstrating strategy, capability and a commitment to achieve sustainable growth.