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    Ross Purdie Elevated to Lead Gem

    Ross Purdie Elevated to Lead Gem

    Ross Purdie Elevated to Lead Gem

    Gemstone Logistics Inc., a leader in transportation and lodging software for remote industrial projects, is proud to announce the promotion of Ross Purdie to President. Founder Tom McHale will continue as CEO, providing strategic vision and guidance for the future, as well as leading the search for accretive acquisitions. In his new position as President, Ross will take on a larger role leading software, operations, sales and corporate functions for the Gemstone team.

    An accountant by trade, Ross brings a wealth of international management experience to his role as President. With rigorous attention to detail and a relentless approach to achieving objectives, Ross was the ideal choice to take on the challenge of leading Gemstone in a time of strong growth and expansion.

    CEO Tom McHale explained, “Ross has been a leader in our company for many years and I am glad to recognize his strong contribution to our continued growth. As Gemstone evolves into a global player, I can think of no one who I would rather have steering the ship than Ross.”

    Ross added, “in my 6 years at Gemstone, I’ve been involved in every part of our business to some degree and have learned from the very best in the industry – I’m thrilled to be given the chance to lead the team and take Gemstone to the next level.”

    Also, as a part of this new structure Stephen Taylor has been promoted to VP, Software for Gemstone. Stephen brings 25 years of software experience to this key team, and creating this new position will ensure that Gemstone executes effectively on its coherent software strategy and continues to drive collaborative innovation.

    “I take a lot of lot of pride in the knowledge that I have the support of such an incredible group of people which we get to show off to our customers through demos and day-to-day client relations. This team is by far Gemstone’s greatest asset and why we deliver the best customer experience in the industry,” stated McHale.

    Gemstone Logistics Inc. Kicks Off Global Expansion with the Hire of Global Director of Sales, Dominic Locascio

    Gemstone Logistics Inc. Kicks Off Global Expansion with the Hire of Global Director of Sales, Dominic Locascio

    Gemstone Logistics Inc. Kicks Off Global Expansion with the Hire of Global Director of Sales, Dominic Locascio

    Canadian-based workforce logistics software provider Gemstone Logistics has announced its expansion into the global marketplace with the hire of Global Director of Sales, Dominic Locascio. The creation of this new senior-level, US-based role  will allow Gemstone Logistics to increase the visibility of their proprietary project, workforce, and accommodation management software to industrial projects across the globe.

    Dominic Locascio brings 30 years of progressive experience in the accommodations and lodging technology industry to the Gemstone Logistics team, as well as a robust network of international contacts.

    In his most recent position with a Swedish-based accommodation software startup, Dominic established the US branch and built it into a multi-million dollar division.

    “I am extremely excited to join the Gemstone Logistics team. Their combination of industry-leading software and awesome people, along with the challenge of helping expand the business into new markets, makes this a perfect fit.”

    Tom McHale, CEO of Gemstone Logistics, added:

    “Having invested heavily in our products over the last few years we are now in a position to expand our global footprint. Hiring a fantastic talent like Dominic is just the first step in scaling up our infrastructure to support clients across the world.”

    The global expansion of Gemstone Logistics will focus on bringing three configurable software solutions to remote projects around the world, including:


        • ILLUMYS – Full project control management software with LEM and costing capabilities for remote projects

        • CIRYS – Travel and room management software for consolidated bookings

        • CampWare – Full accommodation management software for high-traffic facilities


    Strategic projects are already underway in Latin America, Australia, and Africa, with additional market opportunities in the US and the Middle East. These projects will allow Gemstone Logistics to continue developing their international team and range of solutions, while also offering emerging technology to regions and industries with sophisticated software configuration needs.

    About Gemstone Logistics

    Gemstone Logistics provides fully integrated software solutions for remote workforce management. From its outset, the company has worked consistently to address gaps in technology for booking travel, overseeing accommodations, and managing and costing large-scale projects. Currently, several internationally acclaimed companies in the oil and gas and mining industries in Canada rely on Gemstone Logistics’ workforce and project management solutions. Visit www.gemstonelogistics.com for more information.


    For Canadian inquiries, please contact Bryan Grieve: bryan.grieve@gemstonelogistics.com

    For International inquiries, please contact Dominic Locascio: dominic.locascio@gemstonelogistics.com

    Meet Rachelle, Gemstone’s Adventurous Support Desk Analyst

    Meet Rachelle, Gemstone’s Adventurous Support Desk Analyst

    Meet Rachelle, Gemstone’s Adventurous Support Desk Analyst

    Support Desk Analyst might not be the best description for what Rachelle does, since she’s rarely at her own desk. More often than not, you’ll find her behind the front desk at a remote camp, helping the staff there learn how to use Gemstone Logistics’ software tools to manage rooms and travel for workers.

    Rolling Up Her Sleeves On-Site

    Like most people on the Gemstone Logistics team, Rachelle is a self-described “jack of all trades.” In an office this busy with a team this strong, there’s always more to learn. It’s part of what keeps Rachelle motivated and inspired.

    Rachelle’s role has grown in the three years she’s been at Gemstone Logistics. As the software has grown, the team has grown in size, collective strength, and individual skills. At first, Rachelle mostly provided light remote support for clients. Today, she often ends up rolling up her sleeves at remote workforce locations to provide clients with training and integration for their software solutions.

    She mostly works with CIRYS, Gemstone Logistics’ travel and room management software, which is a web-based tool that helps remote camps manage travel and accommodation for workers. It provides commercial flight booking, room booking, an easy access app for travellers, and options for booking virtually any type of charter transport, particularly for large groups.

    Never a Dull Moment

    Pre-COVID, Rachelle travelled to camps across Western Canada and the Northern United States, often venturing deep into uncharted territory. Every camp is a little different, she says. At one mining operation, she was assigned a security detail that followed her everywhere she went. At other camps, she has no time to eat or rest after a long trip; she jumps in to answer phones and create bookings alongside her trainees.

    Rachelle often gets pulled in a million directions at once when she’s on-site. She’s training people, answering questions, helping with operations, and communicating with the development team back in Sherwood Park– all at the same time. She handles all of this with her typical cheeriness and energy, remarking that there’s a lot of laughter and good times amidst the craziness.

    Rachelle recalls a specific trip to Alaska in which she and Gemstone’s VP of Operations, Danica, found themselves in a little shack in the middle of nowhere, waiting for a bus to pick them up. For this trip, they had to take a flight, a shuttle, another shuttle, a bus, a ferry, and another shuttle just to get there! Despite the lengthy journey, both of them were awed by the spectacular beauty of the Alaskan mountains all around them.

    This particular type of travelling is adventurous and not for everyone, but it suits Rachelle’s personality well. At home in Edmonton, her family of five spends a lot of time outdoors, whether it’s in the backyard, camping somewhere remote, or heading out on a bike trip.

    Keeping the Clients in Mind

    It’s easy to forget who’s on the other side of the software when you aren’t out in the field with them face to face (or videoconferencing, as she has been during the pandemic). Rachelle is essentially the translator that works between Gemstone’s clients and developers, ensuring that there’s a shared agreement about what’s needed, what works, and what doesn’t. She’s a self-proclaimed “people pleaser,” talented in offering personalized support that aims to strengthen and improve the relationship between the people using the technology and those creating it.

    Rachelle has a creative background, which she applies to challenges that come up while she’s away for work. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and in her spare time she creates unique paintings with beeswax.

    Rachelle understands that what clients need most is for her to act as a support system and keen listener for the software users. Dialogue and conversation are about 90% of the workload, including explaining why things look and function a certain way. She also actively listens to their challenges, helping bridge the gaps between technology, operations, and people wherever she can. Although the CIRYS program is built for end-users and easy to follow, there’s always an adjustment period. During this time, she provides guidance and a sense of security.

    Rachelle hasn’t travelled much since the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Canada in early March, but she’s eager to get back on the road when circumstances allow. “The software is as easy as possible, but nothing beats in-person training,” she says. She’s looking forward to a potential  deployment in Australia, which would be the furthest she’s travelled yet.

    Working with Clients – Old & New!

    It’s not always brand-new software implementations that require support. Rachelle also provides ongoing support for clients as changes and updates are made to the software. Usually, the clients themselves have had a hand in these changes by making specific requests. Once the updates are there, Rachelle can be on-site to make it a smooth transition.

    In other cases, there are configuration needs for specific clients. The idea behind Gemstone Logistics’ software is to make it easier to book travel and manage rooms, even for the most complex clients. This means integrating current business practices with the technology. In some cases, that means tweaks to current processes. In others, it may mean tweaks to the technology, which is why Rachelle always has her laptop with her; she communicates continuously with the development team in Sherwood Park. It’s also a great two-way street: as she supports clients, she also has a strong support system backing her up from the Gemstone offices.

    Rachelle’s Success at Gemstone Logistics

    In previous articles, we’ve talked about why we hire people instead of skillsets. Rachelle is a perfect example of this. When she came in for her interview, her background was in estimating in commercial construction. Despite that, the Gemstone Logistics’ management team recognized that her energy, optimism, and drive to learn were unique and couldn’t be passed up in the tech industry. Although the job she interviewed for had already been filled, we created a position specifically for her. She’s been with the team for three years now, and we look forward to many more with her at the helm of our on-site support!

    To see more of Rachelle’s artwork, please visit https://www.rachellerita.com/

    Little Known Gems: Gemstone Logistics’ Small but Mighty Travel Agency

    Little Known Gems: Gemstone Logistics’ Small but Mighty Travel Agency

    Little Known Gems: Gemstone Logistics’ Small but Mighty Travel Agency

    In a recent article, we talked about how Gemstone Logistics’ strategic acquisitions over the past decade have improved our service offerings for clients. We’ve created full-scale workforce and project management solutions for remote camp operators by rounding out our software options.

    Several years ago, we decided to take this one step further by creating an additional service our clients rely on for smooth workforce management: travel bookings. Our in-house travel agency, Gemstone Travel, is one of the busiest agencies in Canada. This complementary division of our team has allowed us to become the premier all-in-one solution for workforce travel.

    Meet Our High-Achieving Travel Team

    Gemstone Travel is a full-service IATA accredited agency that started in 2014. It’s a small but mighty team of three led by Mike Pomponio-Hensler, who has been here almost since the beginning. He’s joined by Carter and Kaylee, both of whom have extensive experience in the travel industry. Kaylee is a recent addition to the team, and although she jumped on board just before the team transitioned to working from home during COVID-19, she’s been a quick learner and an excellent team member.

    Gemstone Travel almost exclusively handles corporate travel. We can book full door-to-door travel that includes cars, trains, busses, boats, and hotels. However, our primary focus is on airlines and charters that take workers from their homes to remote camps. We deal with all Canadian airlines, as well as international airlines, and we can also book private fares that aren’t available to the general public.

    Despite our small team, we’ve been recognized as a top agency by the IATA – the International Air Transport Association. Gemstone Travel is currently ranked in the top five agencies in Western Canada by sales – ahead of nearly two hundred other agencies registered with IATA.

    The CIRYS/Sabre Integration

    The travel team at Gemstone works alongside the developers, and that’s not a happy accident. The travel agency may be a separate arm of the company, but as Mike puts it, “No one is an island at Gemstone. All information is shared. You may not understand it all individually, but it all becomes clear as teams work through it.”

    One of the most valuable benefits Gemstone Travel offers to clients is accessible end-to-end booking services from virtually anywhere. This is thanks to the integration between CIRYS, our proprietary travel booking software, and Sabre, the reservation software used by travel agents and airlines worldwide. As a Sabre Authorized Developer, Gemstone has been able to enhance the services offered to our clients.

    Here’s how the two software systems work together:

    Using the web-based CIRYS software, users can search flight bookings in real time to and from virtually anywhere for their workers. CIRYS does this by translating complex flight information from Sabre into a user-friendly interface (Sabre is not user-friendly unless you’re a trained travel agent or airline booking agent). End-users on CIRYS can easily search for flights based on parameters like date and time, preferred airlines, and flight costs. Once the preferred flights have been selected, with the simple click of a button the requests are sent to the Gemstone Travel team for ticketing. All of this is done online, and everyone gets what they need right away. The employee who booked the tickets receives flight booking confirmations, and passengers are directly sent their e-tickets.

    Without this integration, booking commercial flights for workers would be far more complex and require constant direct contact with booking agents or travel agents. This way, it’s simple and easy for operators and project owners.

    However, this integration isn’t easy to maintain. First, CIRYS has to decode all the high-level information from Sabre to make it easily viewable for users. Second, every time something changes on Sabre, our CIRYS developers have to make updates. That’s why our development and travel teams work so closely together; the travel team helps the CIRYS team understand which changes have been made in Sabre and what the end result will be, and vice versa.

    A Day in the Life at Gemstone Travel

    All of the team members come from travel backgrounds, but this type of agency is different from that of many others because it’s high-volume, yet small in stature. Despite the difference, Mike says his move from the worldwide conglomerates of the travel industry to the small but mighty Gemstone Travel is the best move he could have made.
    Mike is also proud of his team. Despite all the unexpected changes that have come with COVID-19, they’ve kept up with the rapid pace of bookings with no issues or inconveniences to clients, which is a significant feat.

    Mike, Carter, and Kaylee also help the rest of the Gemstone Logistics team get around, whether they’re heading to a remote camp for on-site software training with a client, or headed off to a sunny destination for a bit of fun with family and friends.

    Learn More About Remote Workforce Management & Travel with Gemstone Logistics

    Gemstone Travel is just one essential component of our integrated workforce solutions. We’ve worked hard over the years to put together award-winning teams and fully integrated solutions that work better for remote camp operators and their employees.

    To learn more about our software and solutions, visit our website or get in touch with our team.

    What’s New in the Gemstone Logistics Education Program in 2020 

    What’s New in the Gemstone Logistics Education Program in 2020 

    What’s New in the Gemstone Logistics Education Program in 2020

    Although we tend to think of technology as self-sufficient, it relies heavily on the people creating, maintaining, and operating it.

    People are the driving force behind technology. They’re also (arguably) the most essential resource in any business. That’s why investments in people are just as important as our investments in technology. At Gemstone Logistics, we invest in our team regularly through our education program.

    Why Investing in People is Important to Us

    The human resources philosophy at Gemstone Logistics has always been based on opportunity and potential. Skills are important, but skills can be learned. We believe in giving people the tools and knowledge they need for success, rather than simply expecting it. We choose to hire based on traits like motivation, teamwork, and an openness to learning.

    This is where the Gemstone Logistics Education Program comes into play. We invest in training for our employees and managers on a regular basis by offering them financial assistance for their educational pursuits. There aren’t any hard and fast rules in the program; requests are approved on a case-by-case basis. Any employee can put in a request for a course, seminar, conference, or even to continue their post-secondary education. Or, if we spot a course or conference we think someone on the team could benefit from, we let them know and make it happen.

    It’s not all about technology-based learning, either. Leadership, communication, sales, marketing, and other essential skills are all considered under the education program.

    We credit the education program as one of the top reasons for our employee retention rates, which are especially high for the tech industry. According to many studies, career development is one of the best ways to keep great employees working hard in your business. Although we invest in a person’s abilities so they can achieve more (even elsewhere in the industry), they tend to want to stay because they know we’re committed to their personal and professional success.

    A few Gemstone Logistics team members have already used the education program in 2020 to expand their skills.

    Justin – Angular Conference for Front-End Web Development

    Gemstone Logistics was fortunate to add Justin to the team when we acquired Orissa Software, the company that originally developed our CampWare product. Over the past year, he’s been leading the team responsible for bringing CampWare from its original desktop version to an online application. In particular, Justin handles the user experience portion of the software. His educational background in video game design and programming helps him create intuitive interfaces that require less training and support for end-users of CampWare.

    It’s no surprise that the ng-conf conference was on Justin’s radar for April 2020. He submitted the idea and was given the green light. Gemstone Logistics committed to covering the cost of the ticket, as well as his travel expenses. He was excited to attend his first-ever conference and grateful because he knew his managers thought he was worth the investment.

    At the conference, Justin expanded his knowledge about Angular coding. In Angular, you break down code into smaller components, rather than coding in one big line. This results in numerous benefits. It makes editing the code easier and ensures better readability for team members and other coders who are involved in the project. It can also lead to a better overall front-end user experience.

    Of course, ng-conf didn’t go exactly as planned this year. Physical distancing due to COVID-19 meant the in-person conference in Salt Lake City was cancelled. Instead, it was held virtually. Justin says the speakers were extremely creative, theming their presentations around everything from Disney’s Frozen to the wonderful world of wizardry. One presentation that stood out was led by an 11-year-old who uses a particular framework and application for Angular. Justin says his knowledge base was impressive, especially for his age.

    Although the conference moved online this year, the good news for Justin is that he’ll still get the chance to attend in-person in 2021.

    Rhys – Continuing Education at NAIT

    Rhys is a business analyst with Gemstone Logistics. He facilitates product development framework, bridging communications and data analysis between project owners and development teams to make sure we’re creating the best possible solutions. Rhys took a short break from Gemstone a few years ago to work as a consultant, but found it wasn’t as hands-on or people-focused as he preferred, so he rejoined the team and has been with us ever since.

    Before landing at Gemstone Logistics, Rhys came out of NAIT with his CST diploma (now known as DMIT). He always intended to go back to complete a full Bachelor of Technology degree, but he was eager to get some field experience under his belt after the initial two-year program. Unfortunately, once you’re locked into a full-time position you don’t want to leave, it’s hard to return to school.

    Luckily, Rhys didn’t have to make that choice. He’s been able to go back to NAIT to finish his degree, starting in the January 2020 semester, with the help of Gemstone’s education program.

    It’s no walk in the park: Rhys balances full-time school with full-time work at Gemstone Logistics. But he says it will be worth it to achieve the full degree because he’ll be in a better place to develop his career – especially for someone who’s still so young in the industry.

    Rhys’ classes and work at Gemstone have moved online for now to help everyone stay healthy, but he’s glad to be busy during this unusual time.

    Learn More About Employee Programs at Gemstone Logistics

    Gemstone Logistics’ software solutions help our clients take care of the people they depend on to get things done. It only makes sense that we’d be doing the same behind the scenes. In addition to our education program, we also offer other perks and resources to our staff to make sure they’re set up for success.

    If you’d like to learn more about our employee programs or apply for a position with Gemstone Logistics, get in touch with our management team.

    How & Why Gemstone Logistics’ Strategic Acquisitions Strengthened Our Offering

    How & Why Gemstone Logistics’ Strategic Acquisitions Strengthened Our Offering

    How & Why Gemstone Logistics’ Strategic Acquisitions Strengthened Our Offering

    Fully Integrated Software Solutions

    Gemstone Logistics has been providing remote workforce management solutions for over a decade. We’ve come a long way since our president and founder, Tom McHale, used his three decades of experience in the oil and gas industry to start a consulting business for workplace travel and accommodation management.

    Gemstone has always been motivated by innovation and the constant drive to take bold new approaches as technology advanced. We first acted on the need we saw for software-based workforce management solutions in 2013. Since building our flagship product, CIRYS, for travel management, we’ve built and acquired other pieces of the workforce management “puzzle.”

    Although our acquisitions have given us the ability to be more flexible and accommodating for clients, they didn’t come without their own set of challenges. Here’s a brief history of why, how, and when we made our strategic acquisitions.

    Taking Care of Your Employees from Door-to-Door

    Growth for the sake of growth has never been our goal. From the outset, we were looking at the problems our customers face from all angles and asking, “How can we do more?” They were asking us the same question, which is why we decided to expand our company by integrating new software products.

    One of the main challenges remote camp operations have always faced is the lack of a full-service and fully integrated end-to-end solution for getting their employees from home, to a worksite, and back home again. Clients asked us for more. They wanted management and reporting for charter flights, accommodation oversight, and LEM tracking. And while it didn’t happen overnight, we’ve since delivered on those requests thanks to the collective effort of several teams.

    Our First Product – CIRYS

    Our first proprietary software solution, CIRYS, was designed in 2013. CIRYS offers flight and transportation booking, as well as room booking. Since designing it, we’ve added highly requested features such as a convenient traveller app for on-the-go bookings, custom reporting options, and a CampWare integration. This leads us to our first acquisition – Orissa Software.

    Our First Acquisition – Orissa

    Acquiring Orissa Software in 2015 was a no-brainer for the Gemstone Logistics team. We were already working with some of the largest camp operators and catering providers in the oil and gas industry, and they needed solutions for managing extensive remote workforces.

    With Orissa, we acquired CampWare, a market-leading solution for managing guests once they arrive at a remote camp location. This allowed us to offer our first end-to-end travel and accommodation solution for remote workforces. Since then, we’ve made upgrades and and integrated it into our other programs.

    Of course, when you acquire a company, you want to retain the talented individuals who already contributed to its success. In that sense we ‘acquihired’ several key people who are still with Gemstone Logistics to this day: Jenn, Jerry, Justin and Rhys.

    Our Second Acquisition – DXI Solutions

    Our second acquisition was built out of a long-term relationship we’d been developing for years. Our flagship software, CIRYS, had been created in 2013 in partnership with Dr. Jianfei Xu, who owned a company called DXI Solutions.

    In 2016, we made the strategic move to acquire DXI Solutions and officially bring its talented staff and programs into the Gemstone family. This included a couple of programs called x-site and i-site, the features of which would eventually be combined to become ILLUMYS, our project control management software. Since both ILLUMYS and CIRYS were built on Dr. Xu’s proprietary software, UniEngine, we were able to bring elements of ILLUMYS into CIRYS for our clients, including demand forecasting and shift scheduling.

    During this time, we weren’t just figuring out the logistics of combining our software systems; we were also trying to integrate staff and offices. With DXI Solutions came current staff Steve, David, James, and of course, Dr. Jianfei Xu.

    The Challenge & Excitement of Integrating Staff & Offices

    At one point in time following these acquisitions, our team was spread out across four offices in Edmonton and Sherwood Park. Although it was challenging to collaborate, we invested in digital communication tools like Skype and took the time to visit each other to get to know each other better.

    In 2017, we officially brought everyone together in our Time Square office space in Sherwood Park.

    Although it’s been four years since our last major acquisition (we’ve also grown a small but mighty travel agency who in 2019 ranked #15 out of 180 agencies in their area), we’re still growing internally, which means shifting people around to find the right fit and workflow is fairly common. We also tend to promote from within and allow for cross-training, so that requires flexibility in workspaces.

    Opening the Door to Opportunities

    If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Gemstone Logistics would not be the same without all of our talented team members and innovative solutions. We’ve been able to serve clients with the robust solutions they need for managing large remote workforces, both in Canada and across the globe.

    We continue to be open to these opportunities, strategically evaluating companies that could bring value to the portfolio, and in turn, to our clients. If you want to learn more, get in touch with our corporate development team.