Picture Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - the year is 1921 and World War I is over. The men and boys have returned from Europe and are settling into a life without the horrors of war. Edmonton is a young, growing city on the Canadian prairies and Fred T. Rayner, a World War veteran himself, has just started Vet’s Sheet Metal Ltd.
The company, named Vet’s to honour the war veterans he fought with and later employed, is his passion. Each morning, with a roll of galvanized sheet metal tucked under his arm, Fred makes his way by bike or streetcar to work. And as roots growing in the post war residential developments around Edmonton take hold, Fred develops the “Vet’s Sheet Metal Supreme” gas furnace - a timely product that would soon become a common fixture in Edmonton homes and ensure VETS continued success.
A family business to this day, Fred’s son Al took over the company in 1944 and quickly maximized opportunities in the city’s commercial and institutional construction market. Working with his brother Gordon, Al grew VETS to employ over 100 tradesmen, office staff and sales people. VETS was also the first Lennox dealer in Alberta.
Al’s eldest son, David, worked at VETS throughout his youth and returned to the business in 1974. For the next 30 years, the third generation owner updated technologies and continued to produce quality work. He also fostered a safety culture within his dedicated team of long-term employees – some with over 30 years at the company!
These days, after more than 98 years of success, the fourth generation is guiding the growing and energized company. VETS is well positioned with both the history and processes to support many long term customers in food & beverage, pharmaceutical, chemical and petrochemical processing industries as well as Alberta’s signature oil and gas sectors.
In the years since Sean Rayner took over the company, VETS has rebranded as the VETS Group and significantly expanded its operations. The first addition was VETS Facility Service, which offers 24-hour service to new and existing clients. In 2016, the VETS Group acquired AirTek Pneumatics with locations in Kelowna and Surrey, British Columbia. AirTek Pneumatics is now operating as VETS Sheet Metal and continues to serve customers in the wood fiber, food and beverage and agriculture industries as well as offering industrial HVAC capacity across British Columbia.