Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Reliance Foundry

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Covid-19
Type  Private
Headquarters  Surrey, BC, Canada
Founded  1925
Industry  Manufacturing
Area served  North America
Number of employees  20
Reliance Foundry wwwreliancefoundrycomsitereliancefoundryima
Founders  H. G. Ireland, Ray McDougall, Mike Engelbeen, Gerry Engelbeen
Key people  Brent Done (President), Brad Done (Vice-President)

Reliance foundry


Reliance Foundry Co Ltd. is a privately held supplier foundry that was established in Vancouver in 1925.

Contents

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Company profile

First incorporated in 1925, Reliance Foundry is one of Canada’s oldest, surviving metal casting suppliers. It has been owned exclusively by the Done family since 1943. Originally located at 149 West 4th, in Vancouver, a fire forced the company to relocate to Surrey, BC in 1966. Still located in Surrey, BC, Reliance Foundry continues to provide customized, large-scale casting services along with a standardized catalog of products that includes bollards, bicycle parking products, and industrial grade steel wheels.

History

In 1925, four colleagues from Vancouver’s Wallace Foundry purchased a building at 149 West 4th Avenue in Vancouver for $3,000 and created Reliance Foundry. Mike and Gerry Engelbeen, H. G. Ireland and Ray McDougal incorporated the company with a starting capital of $25,000.

Reliance Foundry was the only foundry in the province to produce malleable iron, and in 1925 it received a contract to produce 225 cast iron lamp standards for The City of Vancouver. Almost a century later, the originals are still being used in Vancouver's historic Gastown.

In 1927, Reliance Foundry grew to have the largest number of workers it would ever employ with 102 employees, but that number fell to only 40 the following year. In 1927, Fred Done was hired to construct a one-ton electrical furnace, marking the beginning of the Done family's involvement with the company.

Gerry Engelbeen died in 1928 and left controlling interest of the foundry to the three remaining partners.

Reliance Foundry was awarded a contract to cast chain links for the original Second Narrows Bridge in 1934. This large contract helped to support the company through the difficult economic climate.

In 1936, Fred Done purchased H. G. Ireland's and Ray McDougall's shares, entering a two-man partnership with Mike Engelbeen.

To help in Canada’s war effort, starting in 1938 employees worked 48 hours per week and cast 10 tonnes per day for the Canadian Merchant Navy’s Park Ships that were assembled at the West Coast Shipbuilders Ltd. (later became Allied Shipbuilders) shipyard. Before the war ended, Fred Done became sole owner of the company, when he bought out Engelbeen, in 1943.

In 1948, Fred Done was approached by representatives of the ESCO Corporation who proposed buying out Reliance Foundry, but Done declined.

In 1955, Fred's sons, Brian and Barry, began working at Reliance Foundry, eventually succeeding Fred in 1963. Brian and Barry would continue to work at Reliance Foundry for over 45 years.

Reliance Foundry’s workers, who had organized strikes in the past, formed an official union on February 17, 1965 when they gained official certification with the United Steel Workers of America, Local No. 2952.

On Thursday, May 5, 1966, a three-alarm fire started by four mysterious explosions on the roof burned the original Reliance Foundry, located at 149 West 4th Avenue, to the ground. Onlookers stated that the foundry was destroyed within minutes. Following the fire, the company was forced to relocate to Surrey, BC.

On July 28, 1966, workers used heavy equipment to begin pushing through a road from 132 and 80th Avenues to facilitate construction of the new Reliance Foundry at 7764 129A Street in Surrey.

In 1984, Brian Done's son Brad began working full-time at Reliance Foundry, followed a few years later by Brian's other son, Brent, in 1991.

In 1996, Reliance Foundry launched its first website, and in 1997 began outsourcing production to Asia. By 2000, when Brent and Brad assumed control of Reliance Foundry, a large portion of the company's production was outsourced.

In 2003, the final casting was poured, and all in-house casting operations ceased. A year later, Reliance Foundry sold their first Surrey location and began the move to their smaller, current location on 148th Street in Surrey.

By 2012, Reliance Foundry was supplying to businesses and communities all over North America, and the company was awarded the Surrey Board of Trade’s Business Excellence Award for its economic performance.

Reliance Foundry continued to grow with the purchase of Bike Box Canada in May 2014, kicking off the launch of a bike locker product line. In September 2016, the company made the Profit 500 list, a ranking of Canada's fastest growing businesses.

In October 2016, Reliance Foundry was named as a finalist in the Grant Thornton and Canadian Chamber of Commerce Private Business Growth Awards.

References

Reliance Foundry Wikipedia


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