What it takes to win

By Joe Lombard |

The Montreal chapter of the Project Management Institute recently awarded Hatch top honors in the private industry category for the Gahcho Kué project. We provided full EPCM services for this $1-billion undertaking in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the world’s largest new diamond mine in over a decade. It moved into production late last year, on budget and ahead of schedule.

That kind of success is no accident. Producing consistent, award-worthy projects is a matter of careful planning, thorough, consistent processes, and scrupulous attention to detail. At Hatch, it’s a way of life.

We engineers love the process. But there’s more to it than that. We believe that we’ve found the magic formula for bringing the right people and pieces together, at the right time and in the right way. We make it work well, consistently and seamlessly.


It starts with good, clear lines of communication that involve everyone connected to and affected by the project. Make sure there are well-defined goals that everyone knows and understands. Look at all the options and fine-tune the scope, budget, and schedule. Then stick to it. You don’t need to make changes when you do it right the first time.

Commit to client satisfaction. We understand our clients’ businesses and what they’re trying to do. They don’t want projects; they want what projects give them—the facilities to produce products they can sell. We partner with them, and stay in it for the long run. We continue beyond mechanical completion, into commissioning and startup, maintaining or constantly improving the operation to make it more sustainable. The things we build are designed to last. And they do.

When there’s any question, I always come back to first principles. Safety is at the top of the list. That’s the cornerstone, the one thing that’s never compromised when tough decisions have to be made in project management. Especially when they involve time and money, as they invariably do.

Don’t ignore social license, the commitment to leaving a location, an area, and the people—even the flora and fauna—in the same or better condition than you found it. Involve the community from the very beginning, when the project is just being proposed or conceptualized. We do all we can to create good, well-paying jobs for people who live in the areas near our projects. These often remain after the development is complete and the facility is operational. The community is a key partner in the success of these projects, and we never take that for granted.

We’re a multiskilled group at Hatch, and that’s another element that figures strongly in much of our success. We’ve got experts in mining, metals and minerals, infrastructure, energy, and digitalization, as well as finance and every aspect of project delivery. We pride ourselves on our culture of innovation and continuous improvement. It’s what excites us about the work we do.

Finally, we recognize that globally, the metals community is a small one. Individuals play different roles during different stages and phases of projects. EPCM companies compete on certain projects and work together on others. What’s important is that our clients’ projects benefit from our professionalism and the unique value that we at Hatch bring to each and every one.