Tricil was 50 per cent owned by CIL and Trimac. Reflecting on his position, he said, “In Fort McMurray I had created a performance analysis group, which was really operationally focused. When I went to Tricil and became the corporate controller, I was quickly transitioned to an operating role, becoming general manager of one of Tricil’s businesses until it was sold.”
The waste management company was operating with energy from waste plants in Prince Edward Island and Hamilton, along with a couple of landfills, transfer stations and commercial operations.“ Of the 200 employees, quite a number were drivers and operators. It was a great experience because “it was very operationally intensive.”
In 1989, Tricil was sold and Tugman didn’t want to stay with Laidlaw. “It was a straight takeover of the business operating out of Hamilton, which is where Laidlaw started. We were one of their competitors until the sale.” Thinking about the direction of his career, he mused, “What I found was that I was more valuable as a finance guy with operational knowledge rather than the opposite, because I didn’t have 20 years of operational experience.“
Following his instincts, he became the CFO of Dynatec in the early nineties and stayed for a little over four years. Dynatec’s business was mine contracting and engineering. “Dynatec dealt with all the unique aspects of mine development and improvement, from shaft sinking to tunnel development to diamond drilling for exploration — as well as the extraction. We would operate the mine for a junior mining company that didn’t have its own operators.”
Dynatec had international interests, comprising half of the business. “At Tricil, a substantial chunk of the business was in the US, so I had a dual role even when I was running the business. I was involved in corporate initiatives across the border and gained valuable experience. The nine years at Dynatec and Tricil would lay the foundation for my understanding of running a global business.