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Albertan companies move to Texas to live without red tape

Alberta has long been fueling Canada’s gas pumps nationwide, but since world oil collapsed in 2014, thousands of displaced energy jobs migrated south of the border.
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Alberta has long been fueling Canada’s gas pumps nationwide, but since world oil collapsed in 2014, thousands of displaced energy jobs migrated south of the border.

According to a new interview with Calgary-based Osprey Informatics COO Paul Ritchie, moving jobs to Houston was a move that the lone star state has welcomed him with open arms.

The company opened its Houston-based office in January and is budgeted to do a sizable 10 percent of its business out of the states in 2020. That 10 percent, though, is expected to bring in 70 percent of the company’s business, and Canada only 30 percent.

Ritchie told Global News that the move was a no brainer.

“I wouldn’t have left Canada without the opportunity that sits in front of us right now.”

“Canadian companies are so well respected that it’s not even a blip in the road when you’re dealing with somebody. It’s like, ‘Oh, you’re a Canadian company—it’s going to be good, and you’re going to be nice to me.’”

Ritchie says it’s not just individuals who’ve made the moves—companies, large and small, have flocked to states with more welcoming attitudes towards oil work.

“We all know the big names that have left. There are hundreds of smaller companies that are very significant employers here in Calgary that, 50, 60, 70 percent of their revenues are coming out of the United States and they had no choice.”

“This isn’t something that they wanted to do, but if the business is in the U.S. you are going to go where that business is.”

Oil analysts say Ritchie’s case is far from unusual. Tim Pickering with Auspice Capital Advisors Ltd. said there’s definitely an energy exodus happening.

“It’s just a lot easier in Texas in a lot of ways,” Pickering said. “There’s no real edge to being in Alberta and that’s painful to say.”

Ritchie went on to say that the move was a welcomed change in his life, and that he was excited to move to a city like Houston, which reminded him a lot of the city Calgary used to be 15 years ago.

“Houston has a Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Consulate is there, they have three trade commissioners there. They are very active in pushing Canadian companies to the U.S. market.”

Scholz said conversations are happening all over the province in businesses, wondering if it’s worth it to keep their head offices in Alberta.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz
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