Weyburn – Jerry Mainil of Weyburn was honoured as a Southeast Saskatchewan Legend during the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show on June 5. Here is his biography, as read by Minister of Energy and Resources Bronwyn Eyre:
Jerry Mainil was born in Lampman, Saskatchewan in 1935. He later moved to Weyburn, where he graduated from high school in 1954. It was that year that he began what was to become a lifelong career in the southeast Saskatchewan oilfield.
Jerry worked his way from the ground up in the oil industry. He started as a roughneck on the rigs, went on to go into business as an oilfield water hauler and expanded his business to include oilfield welding. He did all this while still being active in farming.
His business, Jerry Mainil Limited, was founded in 1961. Over the years, the business has expanded into all aspects of oilfield construction.
He initially started working in the oilpatch in 1955, hauling water with a 3-ton truck. At this time Jerry learned how to weld. His first dirtmover, a backhoe, was purchased in 1958. A ditcher soon followed.
In 1961 Jerry married Orlanda Andres of Herbert. The couple went on to have six children.
Jerry Mainil Ltd. was incorporated in 1961. The firm was welding, pipelining and doing oilfield maintenance. Bulldozers were added in 1963, and over the years the company progressed to larger and larger equipment.
By the mid-60s trucks and pickers were also added.
If that wasn’t enough, in 1963, a small junior oil producer was started. Originally called Oilfield Sales and Salvage, it drilled its first well in 1965. By the early 1970s, its name was changed to Caprice Resources. Over the years he bought out his partners and consolidated ownership of Caprice, which is still active today.
Jerry had originally wanted to farm instead of going into the oilfield. He had farmed at Lampman until 1959. In 1968, he saw an opportunity to get back into farming near Weyburn. He called it his hobby. The farm became known as Jeranda. Over the next 50 years he built up his hobby farm to 20,000 acres. In 2017, the farm was re-aligned into multiple Mainil-family farms, and continues on through his sons and grandsons.
Jerry Mainil Ltd. had a satellite operation in Swift Current in the from 1965 to 1975, but Jerry eventually decided to focus on the work close to home.
During the 1980s the Mainil children came of age and became involved in the various ventures, eventually taking over their operation in later years.
Initiative and hard work have always been the watch words of Jerry’s business. He has proven this many times over the years. In the 1970s, when other companies were folding, Mainil was buying them up and diversifying. Lease building became more important. All of these moves paid off in the 1980s when the southeast Saskatchewan oilfields experienced another boom. His staff ballooned to over 80 people and his equipment inventory likewise grew rapidly. In 1992, he turned this company over to his sons, Dennis and Dale, and his son-in-law Calvin Tracey. They have continued to expand and run the business as in the past.
This gave Jerry more time to focus on Caprice Resources. Caprice is also a family operation that includes his son Michael (who is a petroleum engineer), and his daughter Pam.
Over the years there has also been a lot of hunting, fishing and golfing. He has won his share of oilmen’s curling bonspiels, too. Jerry was a part-owner of the Weyburn Red Wings for several years and was on the executive when they had some tough times during the 60s and 70s. While humble about it, there has been plenty of charitable giving over the years, too.
Jerry has noted that a family is key to anyone’s success, and that’s what he has.
In 1993, he was the first recipient of the South East Oilman of the Year award. In 2003 he was inducted in the Saskatchewan Oil Patch Hall of Fame.