Usually when I connect with Rising Stars, I find very few who have continued to advance their career at the same company. Typically, the Rising Star has moved on from the company where they were awarded the honour. Chad Leier is one of the exceptions.
Chad was the manager of a $1-billion division at Calfrac Well Services when he was named a Rising Star in 2012. It was a significant boost for a 33-year-old who was often the youngest person in any business meeting. Five years later, he is now the vice-president of sales and marketing for Calfrac’s Canadian division. Impressive, especially since Calfrac shrunk from a head count of approximately 5,000 in 2014 to about 2,000 just two years later in the trough of the downturn.
“Being with Calfrac has been a tremendous career progression,” says Chad. “The executive has been deliberate in their intent, and it doesn’t go unnoticed on my behalf.”
After winning the award, Chad was offered a few roles within the company. There was the possibility of going to Argentina, but eventually he headed south to Denver as the vice-president of sales, marketing and engineering for the U.S. division in early 2013.
He was a part of the growth that saw the division go from five frac fleets to 15, and when oil prices dropped, he also experienced the downturn. It was a turbulent time, and Chad says it was a tremendous learning opportunity to see both the ups and downs of the economy.
Two and a half years later, Chad was asked to come back to Canada. He mentioned that he is no longer in charge of engineering, but it’s because of the market and the company’s need to drive revenue in the downturn.
“The market was awful, so we singularly focused on sales,” he says of his primary goal when he moved back to Canada. The industry is starting to improve, albeit slowly, which means his focus is as strong as it was when he first took the role.
Chad says despite the tough times, Calfrac continues to invest in technology and research and development, working to be more effective and efficient. It is this commitment to people and technology that helped the company weather the storm better than its peers in the industry, resulting in customer loyalty.
“We can’t forget that those customers stood by us in the downturn, and we treat them accordingly,” he says. Now his job is to lead his team of driven sales people who are looking for opportunities and finding ways to increase efficiencies for customers as the market picks up.
So what’s next for this Rising Star?
Chad turned 39 this year, and as he looks to where he is headed, he wants to continue to grow his career within the same organization.
“It’s a good place to work. They are making an investment in me, so I am making an investment in them,” says Chad. “I bleed Calfrac green.”
And it may have a little Roughriders green mixed in for good measure. Chad is from Unity, Sask., and loves sports. “I am a team sports guy. If it’s a team sport, I love it,” he says.
Chad played volleyball, basketball, baseball and hockey while in high school, but volleyball was his first love.
He entered university, enrolled in engineering and played volleyball. However, he failed his first two university exams and realized he couldn’t do both. So he called his mom and told her he was dropping engineering because of his volleyball schedule. Chad says the call ended abruptly—his mom, a teacher, had hung up on him. This brought Chad to his senses. He dropped volleyball and continued with engineering.
“It was definitely the right decision. Mother always knows what’s right,” he says.
But, despite having quit volleyball in university, Chad is still heavily involved in the sport—from the sidelines. He was the assistant coach for the University of Calgary’s Dinos women’s volleyball team in 2000-09. Since 2010, Chad and his wife Reid, also a former volleyball player, have volunteered with the Junior Dinos, a feeder team for the Dinos. The team has done very well and is one of the top clubs in the country.
“Sports are a central part for my family,” says Chad. “We are competitive as hell. I like to win, but I hate to lose more than I like to win.”
Speaking with Chad, it’s easy to see why he’s being groomed for more senior roles at Calfrac. He’s personable, determined and focused. He was a solid choice as a Rising Star in 2012, and it looks like his star continues to rise today.