Bellemare and SMS: working together to match the right equipment to the application
In the Mauricie region of Quebec, the
Bellemare name immediately refers to the
construction trade. Born into a family of builders,
François Bellemare proudly honours his lineage.
Since 2009, he has served as the leader of two
companies, Excavation Bellemare and Jenik,
which together specialize in excavation and
bridge structural inspection and maintenance.
They are located in Trois-Rivières, between
Montreal and Quebec City.
François spent his childhood in oversized
“sand boxes” since his father, Raymond, and
grandfather Thomas developed sand pits,
quarries, concrete plants, etc. Naturally, his
entrepreneurial drive was developed at an early
age, and François quickly acquired experience
and expertise through the family business.
In 2009, he started Excavation Bellemare Inc.
and purchased Jenik, a company established in
1984. In 2012, he expanded the group through the
acquisition of four concrete plants in the region.
With this addition, he was well-prepared to attain
his professional objectives.
Complementary business activities
Excavation Bellemare offers short-term
excavation services to general contractors in the
Mauricie region. The company primarily rents
equipment on an hourly basis and provides the
services of its expert operators with each rental.
Mario Bélisle, Excavation Operations Manager,
assists François in leading this business.
Jenik specializes in the rental of under-bridge
bucket trucks throughout North America. These
systems are used to inspect, build, repair and
maintain bridge decks, viaducts and hydroelectric
dams. With custom equipment that meets all
ANSI standards, Jenik responds to the growing
needs in this sector. A look at Jenik’s website
(www.jenikgroup.com) illustrates the full
measure of François’ expertise and vision in this
field. He is currently working on various national
and international projects.
The majority of Bellemare’s customers are
general contractors involved in hydroelectric
projects. Bellemare enjoys a strong reputation
for its competence and efficiency in high-voltage
powerline work – from excavating for pylon
footings through raising the wires. For example,
the company installed 300 pylons to connect the
hydroelectric complex for La Romaine. It built
all of the pylons (as a sub-contractor) for the
electrical transmission line between Bromont
to Granby, including the access road. Currently,
for Thirau Ltd., the Bellemare team is installing
56 pylons to connect a private wind farm to the
municipality of Pointe-à-la-Croix in the Gaspé
region. This project is expected to be completed
in October 2016.
Bellemare is also known for the quality of
its work restoring stone embankments. One
of its notable contracts was completed on the
nearly 50-year-old Laviolette Bridge across
the St. Lawrence River. Bellemare repaired the
bridge pillars that were damaged by erosion. The
company also brought in 4,000 tonnes of material
of various grades carried on a barge equipped
with a PC360LC-10 excavator to do the work.
Two other Komatsu PC200LC-8 excavators were
on the shore filling barge containers while divers
inspected the stone setting.
Another noteworthy project involved the
installation of lampposts on Highways 40
and 55 in July 2015. The company used a
Komatsu HB215LC-1 hybrid excavator for the
foundations, slopes, and work-site access roads
as well as to install the lampposts.
Excavation Bellemare is an all-inclusive
contractor on houses that contain pyrrhotite,
a major issue in the Mauricie region since the
beginning of the last decade. The problem
originated with the use of inappropriate concrete
aggregates, which caused foundations on
thousands of residences and public buildings
to deteriorate. In such cases, the work involves
lifting up the house, demolishing existing
foundation walls and then casing and concreting
new walls, plates and slab.
Bellemare also specializes in demolition and
recently took down an overpass on Highway 40
in Berthierville. For this job, the company used
its Komatsu HB215LC-1 hybrid excavator to
load 3,500 tonnes of up to eight-inch-thick
concrete in eight hours. This job also used 14,
four-axle trucks. The advantages of using the
hybrid excavator included an additional 60 hp
compared to the standard model; increased rotating
speed; and a 20-percent savings in fuel compared
to the PC210. The HB215LC-1 handled similar
volumes as a 36-tonne excavator in this application.
In addition to civil engineering work, Bellemare
teams are involved in municipal roadwork for
the provincial Department of Transportation.
For instance, in Montreal and Lacolle, Bellemare
replaced the piping system bordering the road
and culverts. The company’s Komatsu PC138
excavator offers the perfect size and specs for this
type of work. Bellemare also performs renovation,
landscaping and drainage of the Hydro-Quebec
distribution center as well as some commercial
François counts on the dedicated teams of
qualified personnel in both of his companies. In
fact, his machinery operators demonstrate such
exceptional expertise that customers seek advice
from Bellemare to help plan jobs and determine
what methods to use.
The chief executive recognizes that he has the
ability to support his customers with their work
methods while also suggesting improvements to
save costs, speed up execution, increase durability,
etc. In fact, each contract is a special project in itself,
where François and his team develop an approach
on how to proceed with the job at hand. The team
relies on external services for engineering and
François is in charge of business development
and management. His door is always open, and he
makes decisions with his operations team. He said
that he appreciates his employees for their unique
values; they are important at all levels. “I never ask
anyone to do anything that I’ve not done myself,”
he said. “That is why I am thankful to them, and I
repay them with good employment.”
“The work atmosphere is exceptional, both at
Jenik and at Bellemare,” added Bélisle. “People
in the trade hear about it, and more and more
people are asking to join us.”
The right tools
Efficient, safe and reliable equipment represent
another critical component in the success of both
Excavation Bellemare and Jenik. Bellemare’s
equipment fleet includes 14 Komatsu excavators
that can be equipped with an exceptionally
diverse range of attachments, such as a brush
cutter, hydraulic hammer, hydraulic thumb,
comb, ripper or demolition ball.
The majority of the excavators are configured
to the specifications of Hydro-Québec:
a hydraulic shut-off valve (lock valve),
load-sensing valve and a reach-limiting device.
The excavators use biodegradable oil to meet
the latest environmental standards.
Given all their features, Bellemare’s
excavators offer outstanding versatility on
work sites. They are able to lift and install
pylons without a truck crane, which creates
significant cost savings for the contractor.
The company also owns a Komatsu wheel
loader and a track loader as well as a D65EX-15
dozer equipped with a winch. This is mainly
used to lift cables into transmission towers.
SMS Equipment, an essential partner
When it comes to equipment maintenance,
François noted, “It is more cost-effective
to have repairs done by SMS.” This is
why he entrusts all his maintenance work
to SMS while taking advantage of the
Komatsu CARE program. This program
maximizes machine performance by targeting
maintenance according to a schedule specific
to each machine, thereby reducing the
frequency of maintenance intervals.
François can attest to SMS’ courteous and
quick service, whether it occurs in the shop or
at a customer’s site. A telling example is the
interprovincial service SMS provided when a
block heater for a PC210LC-10 that was sold
in Trois-Rivières was installed by technicians
from the Baie-Comeau branch, who flew to the
customer’s site in Belmont for the Romaine
hydro project on Quebec’s North Shore.
François is convinced of Komatsu’s quality,
especially the reliability and low maintenance
costs. He said, “I appreciate the continuous
technological advances of the brand.” He also
explained that Dominic Bérubé, his SMS Sales
Rep, acts as a consultant who plays a key role in
maintaining efficient operations.
Bérubé provides sound advice on the selection
of new machines, as well as on the applications
and choice of attachments throughout the
life of the equipment. Furthermore, Komatsu
Finance programs offer preferential rates and
flexible terms. “Komatsu Finance representatives
visit customers and tour their companies to
better understand their activities. They offer
appropriate plans, which provide significant
assistance,” explained François.
Bellemare and Jenik purchase all wear parts,
such as GET, belts and filters, from SMS. In
addition, SMS performs all regular equipment
maintenance in the company’s shop.
Growth through diversification
In recent years, many Canadian entrepreneurs
have felt the impact of limited public-sector
investments. In spite of this trend, François
is determined to grow his company, and
he is very ambitious. Bélisle noted, “We are
privileged that François is willing to take
risks to develop his business. He believes
in the projects we bring to the table, and I
believe in this company. I am really proud to
be a part of it.”
As for François, he said that even when
the regional market is limited, “We are lucky
to be able to work everywhere in Québec.”
Because the majority of his customers are in
the civil engineering field, he doesn’t plan
to start doing sewage and water projects,
which would place him in direct competition
with those customers. He prefers to look
at new projects that will result in increased
At this stage in the evolution of his two
companies, François knows that he can
count on teamwork from enthusiastic and
professional employees. “We need projects to
ensure a return on our equipment investment;
we must also be proactive and build on a
vision for the future,” François remarked.