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Thomas A. M. (Tommy) Hallett


Born in Luscar in 1925, Tommy and his family moved frequently in Depression-era rural Alberta before finally settling down in Turner Valley in 1937.


Four years later, at the age of 16, Tommy found work with a Turner Valley company by the name of Oilwell Machine Shop, and a year later jumped to Barber Machinery, where he apprenticed as a machinist and welder. He spent three years at Barber before joining the army in 1944, which led to a posting at the Suffield military base, with a rank of Craftsman. He lent his support to professional tradesmen and to a team of scientists doing research and development work for the Army.


In 1945, Tommy was assigned to Hamilton Tech College, where he built lathes for munitions factories, but as the war wound down he was reassigned to Suffield. In 1946, on the strength of a letter from Barber president Earl Griffith, he was released from the Army, rejoined Barber, and assisted in its move from Turner Valley to Calgary that spring.


Following Imperial Oil's Leduc discovery in February 1947, Tommy decided Edmonton was the place to be, and requested a transfer to Barber's facility in the provincial capital. He lacked seniority, but was able to make the move, along with Griffith, Harold Lister, Ed Hill, and Gene Lefevre.


In 1948, with the Atlantic No. 3 well blowing wild and Barber contracted to help bring it under control, Tommy's expertise was needed at the wellsite on short notice. Lacking appropriate security clearances, Tommy was forced to hide under a blanket and sneak onto the site, where he was able to take the measurements and build the tools needed to bring the well under control.

In 1949, Tommy struck out with his good friend Alan Nelson to establish a new machine shop venture in Stettler, but the timing wasn't quite right, and the pair retreated to Edmonton. Tommy worked brief ly at Barbers and Hoovers before moving to the English Drilling Equipment Company (EDECO), where he worked until 1957.


In 1958, EDECO announced that it was withdrawing from operations in western Canada. Faced with losing their jobs, Tommy and seven of his co-workers, including Albert Kranenburg, decided to purchase the company, and incorporated it under the new name of Argus Machine Co. Ltd. Tommy has been with Argus ever since, and this year, as the company celebrates its 50th anniversary, Tommy remains as president of the company he helped establish.


Throughout his career at Argus, Tommy has worked closely with his partner Albert, who is the only other remaining founding member of the company. Together they have built a company that today boasts an employee base in excess of 230 people with offices in Edmonton, Nisku, Calgary, and Houston. The company provides threading, custom machining, and specialized products and services around the globe, holds multiple patents, and remains dedicated to innovation.


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