Meet the Dempsters – two generations of hard-working southern New Brunswickers who value family, happy homes, and their unique history of working together in the trades.
“I’ve been a pipefitter for 37 years and I’ve worked just about everywhere in the province where you can work,” says eldest, Ralph Dempster. “Working at the refinery means I get to stay close to my loved ones in the place I call home.”
Ralph and six other members of his family are working together again this year – like they have many times before – at the Irving Oil Refinery’s $200 million turnaround, dubbed Operation Falcon. This family tradition began back in the late 1980s.
It was Ralph’s late father Andrew Dempster who started the tradition of working on Irving turnarounds, which are the annual maintenance and equipment upgrades that take place at the refinery.
Andrew was a tradesman, and his sons followed in his footsteps. Ralph and his three brothers – Greg, scaffolder and scaffold foreman; Blair, pipefitter; and Norman, piping superintendent and turnaround co-ordinator – can all be found on-site at the refinery.
Now a third generation of Dempsters is contributing to turnarounds. Norman’s son Tyler is in the pipefitter’s union as well as the labourer’s union. Ralph was joined by his son, Matthew, who works as an administrative manager, as well as his daughter, Katelyn, who works in cost control.
Some would say that those who work the turnarounds become part of the refinery family, and that is definitely the case for the Dempsters.
“As a father I am privileged to see my two children applying their education and demonstrating the values that their mother and I have instilled in them,” said Ralph. “It’s been a cool thing as a dad to watch my kids go through university and get degrees, and now see what they bring to the table in the workplace. Hearing stories from colleagues about the respect they have earned – as a parent you couldn’t be happier. It’s a fantastic experience.”
Together, the Dempsters have more than 50 years of combined experience working Irving Oil turnaround projects. They look forward to carrying on with their unique family tradition, here at home in southern New Brunswick.