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This is a story about community building – how SMS Equipment supports a community of customers and how our customers pay it forward.

Early success

High Velocity Equipment Training College began in 2008 when owner Shayne Bonnough recognized the need for government licensed Heavy Equipment Operators and started a school in Camrose, in central Alberta. Bonnough’s training college immediately attracted students. Of those early days, he says: “As soon as we started it, people started signing up immediately for the equipment training, and companies were contacting us looking for trained equipment operators”. Even through the recent downturn in Alberta, High Velocity continues to grow – certifying industry and government workers, and attracting customers from all over Canada and the world.

Commitment to students

Commitment to students

High Velocity takes pride in providing students with a hands-on education using state-of-the-art equipment from Komatsu. All year round, they train small classes of students for lucrative careers in the construction industry and their commitment to students doesn’t end at graduation. High Velocity’s employment specialist ensures students have all the tools they will need to gain employment when they’re done – writing resumes, running students through mock interviews and connecting them with job opportunities for the rest of their careers. This focus on student outcomes sets High Velocity apart – they concentrate on building confidence, training on modern equipment and making sure their students are given the best chance of obtaining employment after graduation.

Heavy industry consultation

Another point of pride for High Velocity is their cutting-edge curriculum. The school’s curriculum writers constantly monitor safety regulations and the latest operation techniques to keep their courses up-to-date. Besides watching regulatory changes, Bonnough and his team are also always in consultation with industry. He says, “We go back and forth with some of the bigger companies and ask, ‘What would you like to see in a new employee, in a new hire?’” But when Bonnough talks about the success of High Velocity, he keeps coming back to stories about students who have changed their lives through training at his facility.

On a mission

Bonnough talks with pride about his students’ successes –he says, “Probably about half our students come back and touch base and say how they're doing. They want to share their success with us too.” He remembers a young student, who worked nights at Dairy Queen through school, who now tours the country on a Harley; an older worker, transformed with fresh confidence; and an Indigenous woman, who prospers driving a Grader in a male-dominated industry.

Building partnerships

SMS Equipment shares this focus on partnering – we are also committed to working one-on-one with our customers to create tailored, creative solutions. During the boom, for example, High Velocity faced equipment challenges, which Bonnough describes like this: “When times are good then there is no equipment. So we had to move to the point where we owned our equipment. We couldn't count on renting equipment from suppliers.”
Creative solutions

Creative solutions

Working in partnership with Komatsu and SMS helped Bonnough overcome this unique challenge and allowed his business to flourish. With “creative financing solutions from SMS,” he says, “we were able to buy our equipment now instead of renting.... SMS tried to solve our problems with rental and providing us equipment and bringing our costs down”. He continues, “now we own 100% of our fleet…. that was a turning point in our business”.

Pay it forward

With a little help moving forward, High Velocity was able to keep on building–quite literally through their on-site partnerships with Indigenous communities. When First Nations want to do training in their own communities; High Velocity sets up on-site, identifies a legacy project and enhances the skills of public works equipment operators. The college duplicates the classroom says Bonnough, taking equipment, instructors, classrooms, “right down to fuel and bathroom facilities, everything that you need to run a construction project”.

Aboriginal partnerships

Gordon John, High Velocity’s Aboriginal Relations Officer, works with Indigenous communities to develop their legacy projects and create opportunities for employment in the broader industry. John underlines the value of proper certification for Indigenous workers and says this sets the college apart. He says, “As High Velocity does provide a certificate at the end of the 12-week training…we have better opportunities getting employment with industry.”
High-tech Komatsu equipment

High-tech Komatsu equipment

High Velocity now owns a fleet of new Komatsu Excavators, Wheel Loaders, Articulated Trucks, Graders, and Dozers– all less than two years old. Bonnough praises the thoughtful design and high-tech features of his Komatsu equipment: “They have all the comforts from heated seats to pressure controlled cabins. They have back up cameras, touch-screen monitors. It's like a luxury car in here, so it's not like the old school equipment.”

High praise for KOMTRAX

Bonnough especially appreciates KOMTRAX (GPS). “That's a big deal for us,” he says, “at any point I can just look on my phone or my computer and tell what hours they're at, the fuel level, the water temperature, if it's tracking, if it's working right now, which I love. We can GPS the coordinates of our machines to keep track of them. We can program them to shut down at 11 at night so to deter theft.”

What the future holds

Bonnough sees High Velocity expanding on their training courses with more community-based partnerships – working more with Armed Forces Veterans, Worker’s Compensation Boards and Indigenous communities. Going forward, he sees the college “moving into more community-based training as well as general training that we do here. Training the everyday person off the street or young people looking for a career”.

Have patience

When asked his advice to the next generation, Bonnough counsels patience because success always takes time, sacrifice and drive. But he advises young workers to consider provincially recognized trades training for a bright future, after that, he says “they can move right into [a] high-end income with three months of training and some dedication, of course”.

Strength in service

Bonnough is happy with High Velocity’s smart consistent expansion. “As in construction,” he says, you need “a nice stable base to grow from” and his business is built on a solid foundation of student-centered education, top-notch instructors and new high-tech equipment. SMS Equipment is proud to partner with High Velocity as they continue their good work in the community.

Watch our video about the strong working relationship between High Velocity Equipment Training and SMS Equipment.