For the past three years, Golden Software has been a proud supporter of ReSourceYYC, a co-working space with a twist, created by Calgary entrepreneurs to help get energy professionals back into the workforce after an oil-price crash devastated that city's economy. We believe the ReSourceYYC model is one other cities should follow when times get tough. Here is its story…so far.
When petroleum prices tumbled in 2014/15, the heavy oil and tar sands regions of Alberta, Canada, were hit particularly hard, leaving thousands of professionals in energy and related fields out of work. High-tech entrepreneur Bill Scott saw how the crash had devastated his home town of Calgary.
"About 40 percent of Calgary office space was empty…while laid-off oil & gas personnel – the brain trust of Calgary - were languishing on their couches at home," said Scott.
Scott's businesses had not been immune to the downturn which caused him to let dozens of people go from two companies in downtown Calgary. The downsizing left him with thousands of square feet of empty office space in the business district. Rather than panic, he saw an opportunity to create a win-win situation in an otherwise poor economy.
"The energy business is a collaborative one that involves geologists, landmen, engineers, and many others," said Scott. "We wanted to get all these people together under one roof so they could work together."
Scott and a business partner, Ron Bettin, decided to create a co-working space for professionals who had been laid off from the oil patch. The idea was for these professionals in transition to pay a small monthly fee in return for a desk, phone, Internet, and meeting room in the downtown Calgary office. But there would be one important twist to the new space, which Scott and his partner named ReSourceYYC.
"These workers needed software and data to collaborate," said Scott.
He explained that geologists and engineers typically rely on sophisticated software, much of it quite expensive, to do their jobs. And the input for those software packages is many different types of data.
Scott's team put the word out about what they were doing and made requests for donations from software developers in the energy sector. The response was overwhelming. Within just a few weeks, several companies had provided access to their software and vast archives of relevant data – geologic, well production, land ownership, etc.
One of the first to donate software access was geoLOGIC Systems, a Golden Software business partner. The geoLOGIC line of applications put powerful analytics capabilities into the hands of energy professionals, allowing them to make well-informed decisions related to developing oil & gas leases. Our Surfer software is integrated into geoLOGIC packages and serves as the primary tool for visualizing the completed analytics. When ReSourceYYC requested we provide Surfer access to its members, we readily agreed.
In the past two years, ReSourceYYC has seen numerous energy professionals launch successful consulting careers after leveraging the software and data to keep their skills sharp. Other ReSourceYYC participants have merged their skills and launched energy companies of their own, while still others have started businesses focused on environmental management, software development, marketing and IT.
"ReSourceYYC started out as a co-work space but ended up being an accidental business accelerator," said Scott.