5 Questions with Jim Mabee about our EPC and Subcontractor Forum and Why It's Working for Saskatchewan
February 09, 2016
On January 28, 2016, we held our second Engineer Procure Construct (EPC) and Subcontractor Networking Forum in Saskatoon. The forum connected many of our large suppliers with local Saskatchewan subcontractors to help create business relationships and ensure they have the chance to work on our projects. We had a chance to sit down with Jim Mabee, Manager Supplier Relationship Management at SaskPower, to ask him about the event and why it's so important.
First off, how did the event go this year?
We were really happy with how things went this year. Last year we had 200 subcontractors attend, this year we were at almost 300. There were also 20 SaskPower employees at the forum representing various areas of the corporation. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and came from a wide-range of stakeholders that attended.
What is the goal of the forum?
The main purpose of the forum is to connect larger EPC companies – that are mostly based outside of Saskatchewan – with local subcontractors. The challenge has been that by the time we officially announce a major project, it's often too late for the local subcontractors to participate. For example, an EPC outside of Saskatchewan will already have subcontractors from their area lined up because the relationship is already there. With this forum, we are trying to help bridge relationships to suppliers based right here in Saskatchewan.
Why is it important to use local subcontractors?
Building these relationships between EPCs and local subcontractors is beneficial to everyone involved. The local subcontractors are getting to participate in projects right in their own backyard. In doing so, they can react better to our needs, especially if there is a change in direction. That benefits both SaskPower and the EPCs.
This is also a pretty good economic development forum for Saskatchewan. One of the comments I received this year was from a local subcontractor who said his company made connections at our previous forum that allowed them to do work for an EPC on a project that had nothing to do with SaskPower.
What was different about this year's event compared to 2015?
Based on the feedback we got from some of the EPCs last year, we changed the format for this year's forum. Last year, we had the EPCs come and tend booths so potential subcontractors could talk to them. That worked well, but the feedback we received was that the EPC representatives also wanted more time with SaskPower staff and wanted to hear more about upcoming projects at SaskPower.
This year we split the forum. The morning was dedicated to giving presentations to EPC representatives on upcoming SaskPower projects in the areas of power production, distribution, transmission and Aboriginal Procurement. The actual networking forum which included almost 300 potential subcontractors ran from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm.
Will you be holding future events like these?
Absolutely! We are planning to hold this forum every year, but we also hold about six supplier information sessions around Saskatchewan throughout the year. Those are more focused on local suppliers pursuing SaskPower work. Information on all of those events and how to do business with SaskPower can be found on our website.
"The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and came from a wide-range of stakeholders that attended."
"Building these relationships between EPCs and local subcontractors is beneficial to everyone involved."
"We are planning to hold this forum every year, but we also hold about six supplier information sessions around Saskatchewan throughout the year. "