Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Weatherhaven has grown considerably since President Jim Allan’s expeditionary business joined forces with Vice President of Operations Brian Johnson’s construction firm to create portable shelter solutions for remote camps around the world. In three decades, the Burnaby, British Columbia-based company has evolved from a specialized domestic supplier into a groundbreaking world leader serving a variety of clients on all seven continents. Notably, its growth has been solely organic – not a result of corporate acquisitions, according to Allan.

“We’re a very creative, design-driven and hands-on company, and I think that has enabled us to grow in this manner,” he explains.

Product Evolution
Weatherhaven initially focused on the expedition, mineral and exploration sectors, providing shelter designs that were practical, comfortable, safe and durable for clients working in remote locations under harsh conditions. Its product line grew more sophisticated as it started implementing furnishings and mechanical, electrical, sewage and water supply systems – all of which are designed as “plug and play” systems for easy installation and re-deployability, Allan says.

“We continue to expand our product line way beyond the traditional tension-fabric structures to what we call hybrid solutions, which include expandable hard shelters for mechanically intensive configurations to go with our soft shelters, allowing for streamlined deployment,” he notes. “We have many different shelters, but the mandate or philosophy of the company is to always provide good, rugged, comfortable shelter equipment that is transportable in a much smaller format than what you get when fully deployed.”

Weatherhaven’s ingenuity captured the attention of clients in the commercial, military and medical realms seeking portable and re-deployable shelter system solutions to be applied in camps and specialty projects around the world. It won contracts for large, turnkey projects and extended its services to include installation, disassembly, remobilization and transportation logistics. Maintaining close ties with the end-users “provides us with good feedback and new ideas so that we can keep our product and service solutions on the leading edge,” Allan says.

A Global Presence
With five manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, South America and South Africa, Weatherhaven is able to ship products quicker and more cost effectively, especially since all of its facilities are near major seaports, airports, railways and highways. “We’ve developed a very effective global sales network and manufacturing platform that offers regional supply to remote parts of the world,” Allan says.

“Much of our customer base is going global these days, so if they work with us on one continent, they know we’ll be on the next continent they go to, as well,” Allan continues. “This provides standardization in their own facilities, and they are working with a known and dependable entity. When we send our products out, we have full confidence in them. And when we send our people out to install the products, we are confident in their competence to perform well under any condition.”

First-hand Knowledge
Weatherhaven’s top executive management has more than 100 years of combined experience in providing shelter and camp solutions to clients worldwide. “The founders and partners are a very hands-on group that’s been associated with remote logistics activities for many years,” Allan notes.

The company believes in continuous improvement, so its objective going forward is to hone in on its engineering expertise to design shelter systems that are even more comfortable, durable and robust, yet easy to assemble, disassemble and transport to new locations. Weatherhaven will continue its global expansion as it seeks to develop new partnerships, while strengthening its current relationships.