CARNDUFF - In 1957, Tony Day bought a half-tonne Chevy and a portable welder to work on oil rigs and any other welding jobs that he could unearth.
He was working for a company called Charter Drilling as a derrick hand and welding was to be a side job for him. Little did he know what that purchase would lead to.
Things went well for Day on both fronts. He was promoted to mechanic at Charter Drilling and welding paid off. Before long, he diversified, buying water trucks and a winch truck. His side business, Fast Trucking, was growing.
He continued working both jobs until 1974, when he was offered a head mechanic position in Nisku, Alta. It was a tough decision. He and his wife Vi had their family in Carnduff and Fast Trucking was doing well. Nisku was far from home, so he turned down the offer to focus on the business he had started.
His company continued to grow. Under the Fast name, he started Day Construction and General Well Servicing. He acquired a company which became part of the Fast group, Sam’s Trucking. From those humble beginnings of 1957, the company had grown to about 175 employees, becoming Carnduff’s largest employer. The focus of the business had shifted from welding to hauling rig equipment with its large fleet of trucks.
Several employees have worked for Fast for many years. Rick Taylor, a truck driver, has driven for Fast for 24 years.
“Fast is a great place to work, with a great bunch of guys to work with,” he said.
Greg Wall, who joined Fast when he was 18, is the field supervisor and health and safety advisor.
“It has been a good place to work with a lot of long-time employees. It says a lot about how they treat their employees,” said Wall.
Office administrator Lindsay Huish, who sits across from Greg, echoed that, even though she has only been there for five years.
Fast’s value of treating employees respectfully has been a large part of its success.
Another value has been to give back to its community. A drive through Carnduff will see the extent of that. There’s the Tony Day Family Medical Clinic and the Tony and Vi Day Resource Centre library inside the Carnduff Education Complex. You’ll also notice the Fast Centennial Arena.
There are many other ways that the town has benefited from Fast’s generosity that aren’t advertised.
Over the years, Fast’s success and contributions to the oil industry have been recognized. Tony has been selected as Southeast Saskatchewan’s Oilman of the Year, as has his son, Dennis. Tony was also inducted into the Saskatchewan Petroleum Industry Hall of Fame in 2009 and earlier this year, his wife Vi was the recipient of the Southeast Saskatchewan Legends Award, the first female to receive that honour.
The final word belongs to her. She has been an integral part of Fast’s Success, working alongside her husband, who passed away in 2018, for most of Fast’s history.
“I wish that I was 17 again and had Tony with me and do it all over again,” she said, reflecting on the past 65 years. “I likely wouldn’t change anything. If it wasn’t for our family, employees, friends and customers, Fast would never have been so successful.”