In 1979, a small three-person company was created to provide basic on-farm electrical work in rural Saskatchewan. That company was CEL, and one of those founders was a young apprentice electrician named Willie Unger. Today, Willie leads the company he co-founded, and is the driving force behind its growth.
In 1983, Willie and his partners were awarded their first commercial contract: a wood crib grain elevator. With the economic downturn of the late 1980s, the company felt the pressure to diversify. Willie realized the agricultural industry was moving to larger, more complex, automated facilities – and worked hard to cement relationships with larger firms in Canada and the USA. The big break came as CEL became the key electrical consulting contractor for Inland Grain terminals – building locations across western Canada. Willie opened an office in Winnipeg in 1990 and Calgary in 1997. He even pursued industrial opportunities in the Middle East and Asia.
Today, CEL has over 150 employees located across western Canada. Under Willie’s guidance, CEL has become known for its expertise in a vast array of industrial and commercial applications. The company has recently expanded its services to include instrumentation and continues to pursue a strategic growth plan that is focused on underserved markets where there is a logical fit. CEL’s customer-focused, solution-driven, values-based culture is a direct reflection of the approach and personality of its co-founder and CEO.
Willie is a proud husband and father who loves nothing better than spoiling his 11 grandchildren. He’s an avid snowmobiler and active volunteer with LeaderImpact (an international organization committed to developing stronger leaders).
As CEL’s Chief Operating Officer, Dallas Smith is responsible for ensuring CEL is serving the needs and demands of our large and geographically diverse customer base – while staying true to the core values and guiding principles that set us apart. CEL customers benefit from the hands-on knowledge and understanding Dallas brings as a Red Seal Journeyman Electrician, coupled with his proven abilities for keeping projects moving forward as both a Foreman and Project Manager. His emphasis on collaboration with clients and other contractors is a big reason why CEL is has earned a reputation for solid working relationships, backed by exceptional workmanship.
Dallas has helped to build one of the strongest, most professional, and most engaged teams in the industry. No matter how big the challenge, the safety and wellbeing of his people – and those on your jobsite – is Dallas’ top priority. This is reflected in the robust safety culture that has been maintained under his careful watch.
Dallas is a third-generation electrical contractor whose career has spanned more than two decades. He joined CEL in 2011. He volunteers as director with the UP Foundation, which is committed to unlocking the potential of vulnerable youth and families in Calgary.
As CEL’s Controller, Shauna Low’s day is rarely routine. Fortunately, she is a master at changing gears. Whether it is introducing new accounting procedures or working with the management and the administrative team to make job flows more manageable and efficient, Shauna is always up to the challenge. Her financial acumen and impeccable attention to detail benefits CEL and our clients on a daily basis. Nothing escapes her watchful eye, and she ensures CEL’s accuracy and thorough invoicing and book keeping. Prior to joining CEL, Shauna worked in the investment industry, both as a Licensed Financial Assistant and as a regional Branch Compliance Analyst. In summer months, she can often be found camping or fishing with her family or enjoying a relaxing round on the golf course.
Kevin is the conduit for all jobs and assignments for clients across Alberta and Saskatchewan, overseeing operations in those locations. He is a Red Seal Electrical Journeyman with nearly two decades of industry experience to his credit. Kevin has served as a Service Tech, Superintendent, Service Manager, Project Manager and Operations Manager over his extensive career. This experience gives him a greater understanding of the challenges his teams face in the field, the expectations of clients, and what it takes to safely and successfully deliver results. No matter how large or complex the project, Kevin and his team are committed to completing the job to your complete satisfaction.
Kevin is a true born and raised Calgarian and it is where he has chosen to raise his family. He is active in the local community and is proud to support his kids’ passion for sports.
Ryan Haskey’s electrical career extends over 25 years. What is more remarkable is that it has all been with CEL. Ryan has worked his way through the company, first as an Apprentice and then as a Journeyman. His passion and abilities allowed him to excel in a variety of key roles: Superintendent, Estimator, Project Manager and General Manager. As Regional Manager for Northern Saskatchewan and British Columbia, Ryan oversees all CEL projects in these regions. Ryan draws on this wealth of experience to ensure clients receive the attentive care and reliable professional service they deserve.
Tackling challenging projects is what drives him. Ryan has worked hard to build an incredible team and takes great pride in their accomplishments. When he’s off the clock, Ryan gets his adrenaline pumping on the ski slopes and mountain bike trails, and volunteers with the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Ernest Martens is the Regional Manager for CEL’s eastern division, supervising three branches in Manitoba and Ontario and overseeing all CEL electrical projects in the region. He grew up in Southern Manitoba and joined CEL Winnipeg as an apprentice electrician in 2000. Ernest completed his apprenticeship and quickly became a Supervisor for industrial projects before serving as an Estimator, Project Manager and Branch Manager.
Ernest has assembled a strong team of project managers, estimators, service managers, site supervisors and electricians. In 2014 Ernest led CEL’s expansion into Ontario, which resulted in opening of a new branch in London. Ernest believes in empowering employees, creating safe work environments, and maximizing value for clients with sophisticated needs.
He lives for family road trips, which have taken him across most of North America with his wife and two children. Ernest enjoys sailing among the 14,000+ islands and 100,000 km of stunning shoreline at Lake of the Woods – ending the day at a quiet little anchorage tucked away miles from civilization, watching the sky open up to millions of stars.
Invite CEL to respond to your next RFP. If history is any indication, it will be the start of a great relationship.
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