My name is Shallyn Nowakowski and I am today’s guest blogger here to tell you the fascinating story of JNE Welding. I grew up around JNE as my Dad started the company 40 years ago. It is a privilege to be part of the next generation of leaders after Dad’s retirement and an honor to tell the JNE story.
JNE Welding has been operating in Saskatoon since 1980, in fact, November of 2020 marked our 40th anniversary. We have seen a lot in 40 years; challenges overcome, milestones reached, and excellence delivered. At the forefront of our success is our people. Our growth would not have happened without the hard work and dedication of our people. To the entire JNE team, past and present, thank you!
On November 1, 1980, Dad took his welding rig and went to his first job. It was a five or six day job, welding an irrigation line that went from an electric pump down at Diefenbaker lake up to the top of the river bank and out to an irrigation pivot in the middle of a field. One of the neighbors caught wind that he was in the neighborhood and asked him to come do a similar job for them as well.
After that, as Dad hit the streets trying to drum up work, he realized it would be a cold winter without a shop. He heard about a shop for rent on Saskatchewan Avenue, went to check it out and ended up making a deal. The building was previously owned by Sam’s FixIt and Welding. The owner had recently passed away and the company was out of business. The shop was perfect for this new venture and conveniently enough, Dad managed to keep Sam’s phone number so that anyone calling Sam’s Fixit would still get looked after.
So, JNE planted its roots at 1916 Saskatchewan Avenue – our first shop. Now this little shop was amazing: 2,000 square feet of open concept including shop space, the office, the lunchroom, and a bathroom complete with saloon swinging doors.
Within the first year of business, five new employees joined the team. As the company grew, the saloon swinging bathroom doors became the first growing pains and by 1985 it was time to expand.
In 1985, we moved into the centre bay of 811 56th Street East. The building was divided into three 6,000 square foot bays with All Weather Windows on one side and Claas Combine on the other. With eight people on the team at the time, this place fit just right…for now.
As we grew, it was time to start knocking down walls. In approximately 1988 we were able to expand into a second bay and then into the third bay of the building around 1994. We weren’t done growing yet; In 1996 we added a 100 x 60-foot shop expansion at the back to allow for additional head space. As if that wasn’t enough, in 1998 we tacked on another 60 x 60 feet of shop space. In 2000 we put up a temporary coverall for yet some more needed shop space. Fun fact, that “temporary” coverall is still in use today and houses our new SAGE Roadway Signs division, making highway traffic signs for the province of Saskatchewan. I don’t think Dad ever imagined making stop signs when he started up back in the day.
Dad once said, “It was a lot of transition and will continue to be as you have to be able to adapt to ever changing conditions”.
While at our 56th Street location we grew from eight employees to seventy-five. By the time we were ready to look for the next big shop space, it is safe to say that we had filled every square inch possible.
In 2006, JNE purchased the property at 3915 Thatcher Avenue from Redhead Equipment. Before Redhead moved out, we started building what is now known as “B Shop”. From the start, our vision was to have a space where we could take on large projects that might have otherwise been built out of province.
Following the addition of B Shop, JNE Welding has spent the last fourteen years becoming experts in the fabrication of potash crystallizers, large pressure vessels, pump boxes, and large underground ore bins. If it is big and made of steel, we can build it!
2015 saw another important milestone as we became a 60% First Nations owned partnership with Peter Ballantyne Developments LP and Des Nedhe Investments LP. This partnership is a great example of JNE’s tag line, “Combined Strength”, driving opportunities to enhance quality of life for all people of Saskatchewan.
In all JNE’s years, the values that Jim brought to the company have stayed the same. Founded on Integrity we are Bold, Compassionate, Collaborative and Proud.
Get in touch with us and become part of our next 40 years!