Enbridge a 'platinum employer' in northern Wisconsin

Enbridge's Great Lakes to Gulf Coast series (Part 5)

With blond wood and plenty of natural light, the Douglas County government offices in downtown Superior, Wis., are warm and welcoming.

Andy Lisak isn’t complaining about the view out his office window, either.

“Enbridge’s impact on the community? Well, just look across the street (Hammond Avenue),” says Lisak, chief administrative officer of Douglas County, pointing in the direction of the Superior City Center building. “That building wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for Enbridge.

“That was the former county complex, and when they built this facility back in 2000, that building was to be torn down. But Enbridge stepped up as a willing tenant – totally remodeled that building, including removing the county jail – and now occupies 90 per cent of the space,” adds Lisak. “They kept a very important building in our city . . . and helped to rejuvenate the city center.”

With about 830 employers and contractors, and eight office spaces including our Superior Terminal, Enbridge is one of the largest employers in the Twin Ports of Superior and Duluth, Minn., whose combined metropolitan population tops 250,000.

Together, the recent opening of Enbridge’s $2.8-billion Flanagan South pipeline and the twinning of the Seaway Pipeline represent North America’s first large-volume, full-path solution for safely and reliably delivering Western Canadian crude to the heavy-oil-hungry refining market in the Houston area.

At the same time, we’ve also been part of the Twin Ports community, and the Great Lakes region, since 1950. Expansion projects in the Upper Midwest – including the Superior Terminal capacity expansion and Line 61 Upgrade Project in Wisconsin and Illinois, and the Sandpiper project and the Line 3 Replacement Program in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota – will further entrench our economic impact in the community.

“Enbridge is one of the largest employers in the region – and the quality of these jobs, from engineers to accountants to skilled tradespeople at the terminal, is very good. These are family-type jobs with benefits. Enbridge is known as a stellar employer, a platinum employer, in the region,” says Lisak, whose county represents a population of just over 44,000, including Superior.

“We also know that safety comes first with Enbridge. We see that every day. Enbridge folks have also served on United Way (committees), and been involved with other non-profits, schools, religious organizations,” he says. “They’ve been a critical part of our community.”

Benefits of Enbridge’s activity are not limited to direct jobs and contractor positions on our projects. Spinoff effects include everything from material purchases and equipment rentals to housing, restaurants, groceries, and clothing and hardware stores.

In 2013, Enbridge paid more than $25-million in property tax in Wisconsin, and another $41-million in Minnesota. Our 2013 capital expenditures, including pipe steel, equipment purchase and replacement, and system integrity-related investments, totaled $879-million in Wisconsin and $572-million in Minnesota, while our 2013 operating expenditures, including maintenance costs, equipment leases, and power consumption, totaled $33-million in Wisconsin and $103-million in Minnesota.

“If it wasn’t for projects like Alberta Clipper (Line 67) and Southern Access (Line 61), we would not have weathered the recent recession the way we did,” says Lisak. “We entered later than most, we didn’t go as deep, and we came out earlier. Enbridge was hiring when the rest of the country wasn’t.”