Andrea Arient

Avenue Calgary’s 2016 Top 40 Under 40.

Photograph by Jared Sych. photographed at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.

Age: 38

Job title: President of Sealweld Corporation

Why she’s a 2016 Top 40:

Arient has taken over her family’s oil and gas business and, under her leadership, Sealweld Corporation has expanded employee programs and is weathering the downturn with growing profits and zero layoffs.

Eight years ago, Andrea Arient was a successful creative director in Toronto. She returned to Calgary to give her dad a hand with the family business, intending to stay no more than a year. Her plans changed.

Today, Arient is the president of Sealweld Corporation, the company her grandfather started in 1969 – and she has no intention of leaving. “I’m a champion of change here,” she says.

At first, Arient’s advertising industry peers were concerned she was wasting her talent; Sealweld, which provides lubricants, sealants and fittings for oil pipelines in more than 100 countries, seemed like a stretch for a professional designer. But Arient says she found plenty of space for her skills in the energy sector. “There’s room for marketing and branding in this industry, so I started with what I knew,” she says.

She also embraced the less familiar, and discovered she has a knack for corporate finance and business. Since Arient arrived, Sealweld’s revenue has grown from $8 million to $16 million and overall profit has quadrupled. In 2016, when many oil and gas companies are tightening belts and laying off staff, Arient’s company is increasing profitability and has had zero layoffs.

Arient’s previous career experience gave her a fresh perspective on the business, and, in particular, on employee compensation. She introduced programs including a full parenting leave top-up, workplace flexibility and a pet-bereavement program. As the parent of a child with autism, Arient understands the value of tailored benefit packages, and Sealweld makes every effort to support employees according to their priorities, whether they have children with special needs, aging parents, orthodontic bills or a massage schedule. “It creates a lot of loyalty,” she says.

Arient also spearheaded a 100-per cent tuition-reimbursement program for employees, and currently 30 per cent of her 80 employees are enrolled in education. Arient, a perpetual student herself, says Sealweld employees have studied everything from supply-chain management and business to yoga training.

“We find that if people are engaged in learning, they’re more passionate in the workplace,” Arient says. “It brings a lot back to the company and it gives employees confidence.”

Her father retired two years ago, and Arient says she’s in the rare, proud position of being a third-generation owner of a family business in Calgary. She has no regrets about coming home. “What’s here is very valuable,” she says. – Julia Williams

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