Bitcoin at $50,000

Just a quick look back at January in 2016. Bitcoin was $634CAD and I was at West Edmonton Mall staring at this machine, debating if I should buy one – but it was so expensive!!

I didn’t and now it hit $50,000CAD!!!

But, it will be interesting to see where it goes in another five years. Stay tuned!

Life and Times in Lamont

We are in a new world these days with the implications of COVID19, both in business and personal lives. I have noticed some major changes that are both good and the bad within the community.

The Good:

People of all ages out and about the streets of Lamont is at an all time high. From kids going to the candy store, to seniors doing their daily shopping, everyone seems to be busy and enjoying the nice weather (early October).

The cars parking along the walking trails in Fort Saskatchewan are clogging the street as people and families are out exploring the river valley. I see more and more of people walking their dogs and cycling the trails.

The Bad:

Businesses really seem to be struggling from reducing occupancy in restaurants to making people stand outside to wait to increased operating costs of cleaning procedures, its clear that business models will have to change for the long term.

Unemployment seems to be very high with many people scrambling for work. Mostly I have found that under-employment is the biggest issue, with experienced tradesman working as labourers and professionals scrambling for clerk jobs.

The Ugly:

Some people have not worked since the whole COVID19 started and if it wasn’t for the CERB and extended unemplymnet benifits, they would be living in their car.

Of course those susceptible to disease are even more profoundly effected with self-quarantine and social hiding. As the lockdowns ended we see more individually out and about walking and other non-contact activities.

Those are my observations for October 2020. Let all hope for a better 2021!


Concrete Works

We have our own concrete drills, chippers and coring machines to execute our projects, whether they are needed for electrical conduit pass-through’s or anchor bolt drill holes for pump bases.

The photo above depicts cored holes for power and communication lines entering our mining farm at our Head Office.

In addition, we offer these basic services to our clients for all sorts of reasons.  If you have a need to penetrate concrete walls, floors, or grade beams give us a call and book your appointment.


Low Oil Price Effects

I have been watching the price of oil for years and have never understood the underlying dynamics to adequately predict prices.  But, I have witnessed the effect around me on other businesses and of course our own bottom line here at e-MCi.

Over the last year, the Fort area has seen closures and bankruptcies in our local area with everything from restaurants to large manufacturing businesses and now that we are hitting new lows for Western Canadian Select (WCS) I expect the trend to continue.

But not all news is bad for the Industrial Heartland as we have also seen companies move into the area from other high cost of operating area’s such as Edmonton, as well as companies centralizing from many locations into a larger centralized facility.  e-MCi has also taken this step by centralizing three of our locations into one office located in Lamont which offers reduced capital expenses and thus lower taxes and operating costs.

For us at e-MCi work comes at times of industry growth in the form of construction, at times of recession in the form of retooling facilities due to relocation or downsizing, and during public sector budget growth.  When times present the status quo we also get work through breakdowns, shutdowns, and maintenance.  Therefore e-MCi is a great bell weather for the economy in general as we see first hand how companies and institutions spend their money.


How are they spending their money now?  Construction is almost zero, shutdowns are short and far between, breakdowns are minimal, and maintenance is deferred.  Although this paints a bleary picture for e-MCi we are doing fine as our client base is diverse and as an example: WCS may be low, but oil-rail transloading is increasing proportionately to the reduced pipeline activity.  Another example is in the agriculture sector as the farmer were hurt substantially due to foul harvest weather, but service and maintenance on grain dryers increased including lighting in area’s not used during good fall weather.

So in conclusion we are making less money, but our operating expenses have been reduced, just as we are doing less projects, but reduced our manpower as required.  This means we are a financially healthy organization and bull on the future of Alberta as we have a diverse economy that is not solely dependant on oil.

Gerry Lamarche

CryptoCurrency Mining

This is just a quick video of our first FUNCTIONING mining rig using two GTX 1080TI graphics cards.  Our plan is to run 12 graphics cards and mine Ethereum (ETH) and see what one full month of mining brings for returns.  After our evaluation we will decide which coin to mine and if further builds are wanted.


Our intent is to use solar energy to power our rigs and replace the propane heat that we currently use in our office with the waste heat generated by our mining rigs.  With 12 cards, power supplies and motherboard our heat will be 1800W 24/7.  This equal to a small electric heater for under your desk running full tilt all day.

Tool for Troubleshooting

Everyone in business struggles with personal cell phone use, wether in the field or office.  But e-MCi smart phones are a mandatory part of the tools required by our field techs.  The video below illistrates the usefullness of real time troubleshooting for a fertilizer conveyor.  The movie provides high resolution of each segment of the conveyor without the laborious task of manual progression.  The field tech can identify broken or bent segments in 30 seconds of run time and make the nessary repairs as needed.

See for yourself with this!

This video was taken with an iPhone 6 built-in camera with the slow motion setting on.


Maintenance Militia

A radical new concept of pure reactionary plant maintenance. It symbolizes that production is number one (after safety) in terms of operations and aims to forgo the many layers of management that can get in the way, and counter-intuitively save you money, time, and production losses. A firefighting guide to maintenance.

Case Example:  The operator calls and says;

The pump is down!  We don’t know what happened but its causing the plant to be down! We need this fixed now, before the tank overflows!

So we are going to make lots of assumptions and tell a fictional story of how financial losses can be mitigated by using the ‘Maintenance Militia’ system. Perhaps when you where a child (before video games) you encountered a book series where a decision was needed after reading each page and based on your decision it would take you to different page somewhere else in the book.  You flip back and forth in the book reading and making decisions and of course with multiple endings sometimes you died in the story and you would start again with different decisions trying to save the day.  Remember Choose Your Own Adventure!   This example will follow a similar theme, a blog version of a video game.

Lets start:

You answer the phone, listen to the issue and say

  1. Sorry I need a work order in the system before I can send a guy.
  2. I’ll dispatch a millwright RIGHT NOW!
  3. It’ll have to wait as everyone’s in a meeting right now.

Shopping Local in Fort Saskatchewan

We hear the mantra often, shop local, but in most cases it does not work.  We are in a world economy now with shipping cost and currency wars playing havoc in the local community.

Case 1:

I needed some potassium bicarbonate for a cooking ingredient, as the recipe calls for it, and I was unable to locate any in Fort Saskatchewan.  I tried everywhere and drove all over town, finally I gave up and went online.  It took a couple minutes and found dozens of suppliers from all over the world selling the stuff.  Each supplier has pros and cons from shipping times to price and quantities available, but I settled on an e-Bay supplier  intralabs from the United Kingdom – imagine buying a small bag of food ingredient from Plymouth, United Kingdom and shipping to Fort Saskatchewan – over 6,700 km away! 


I had to ask myself does this make sense and at first I stated that is was amazing I was buying stuff from the UK, but then after I though about it, it made more sense for businesses in the Fort to NOT stock it and have to sit on such a low use commodity.  This opens the door to businesses around the world to specialize in one product.  

It was at this point I realized the future of shopping is online, so I proceeded to create a new e-MCi website and also convert our brick and mortar store in Waskatenau, between Redwater and Smokey Lake.  I figured people in the UK may be interested in the products I offer, especially the surplus electrical products.  All over the world companies and businesses may choose to use used materials in order to get their projects done and see no problems with used equipment, especially when currency wars could cause new items to be excessively expensive.  

So here we are in the Fort and I’m buying from literally on the other side of the Earth.  I started to drive around the Fort with a new look towards the businesses and the services they offer and compared them to the online shopping businesses.  I realized that many are on their way out, lots with legs and some in the middle, so here is my take on the types of businesses and there life expectancy.

Grocery Stores:  Short, will soon be online based with delivery services like Skip the Dishes

Bars:  Short, unless they allow for smoking weed.  Hard to have a relaxing drink or two and drive home.  But, a resurgence once self-driving cars arrive

Gas Stations:  Very Short, as automated pumps are becoming more common everyday, we have one a short distance from Ardrossen.  This means the revenue needed to keep a person behind the till is drastically reduced.

White Collar Service Companies: Very short, as all over the world you can export your data and have IT and professionals processes if for you at a fraction of the cost.  This includes jobs for lawyers, accountants, eye doctors, and pharmacies.  How long for your phone to take a picture of your eyes, sent to a lab to make your glasses – this year.

Blue Collar Service Companies: Long, until robots can unplug your toilet these jobs are safe

Construction:  Not short but soon, as robots have made inroads into assembly of buildings.  Check out this story about a robot brick layer already in use.

Clothing Stores:  Very short with the integration of Amazon and other mass warehousing and drop-shipping companies.


Medical Services:  Extremely short, but will never disappear as people still want to talk to people for now.  Here is just one institution offering robotic surgeries.

Police:  Mid length of replacement due to ability of auto-shutdowns being built into new cars, if you speed it just shuts down your car and if its driverless it will lock the doors and drive you straight to jail!  Lets not forget about the advances with drones.

Fireman:  Long, the complexity of fighting a fire will take a long time to automate, but new tools for the firefighters will definitely reduce the manpower required for fights.

Restaurants and Servers:  Long even though the automated robot will replace many fast food stores and workers, the elegant meal on the town will live long, so look forward to a bank of fancy vending machines at your school cafeteria

Maids:  Long as people still want people to interact with, but for commercial needs the cleaning staff will be short lived.

Farmers:  Very short, as the breed has been dying for years and young kids are not interested, it will be the fasted switch to automation in the world.  I, myself, am waiting for a self driving tractor instead of buying one now.

Drivers:  Dead, we have already seen the death throws of taxi drivers due to Uber and the longhaul takeover is now.


I could keep going and break down each sector of the economy, but I wanted to address why the above changes in the economy affect the local levels.  Its all about me, the millennials,  kids who have grown up with global purchasing power and not just limited to Gibbons or Thorhild.  They don’t have the passion or see the need for buying local products and services as their view is ‘they are to busy’.  Time is the new currency and its precious.  So why drive around town looking for something you need when you just sit on the couch and hunch over your phone and get the thing you need now – delivered.  How will companies change to offer the services?  I think the answer is they can’t and no amount of sign banners or Chamber meetings about ‘Buying Local’ will change their mind, although being a local business I hope they are convinced and do buy locally.


My entire generation has been exposed to companies from all over Canada and the world doing work in Bruderhiem, Lamont, Fort, and Sherwood Park, its the very reason we have so many hotels are lining the highways.  They already understand that companies do not spend their money locally so why should they.   If they have to work out of town then they can spend out of town – its all very logical.

So where does this leave e-MCi?  In the midst of a changing economy with the onset of robotics and online buying, we are getting it together to address these changes.  This website is just one tool we are using to combat the fundamental shift in the Edmonton area.

Next Chapter:  The aging demographics and trade workers.

Payment Options

Its been a busy month at e-MCi’s Head Office, as we have been updating and integrating our websites and client communication systems.  In past we had been strictly a cheque payment driven business, but at technology improves and generations adapt e-MCi needs to keep pace.  We have never accepted credit cards in part because of the service fees but also because of increased IT infrastructure and costs, an extra piece of hardware lying around and the biggest – transaction fee’s!  When large invoices are involved the transaction fees start to bite so we never offered the option – until now.

But we went even further and decided to embrace ALL current payment systems that available to us.  Not limiting ourselves to credit cards and cheques we found literally thousands of payment options and down the rabbit hole we went.  Here’s one I just found the other day – Russian conversions

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 3.32.21 PM
Russian WebMoney


Most of us have heard about Bitcoin, but how about 700 and counting other crypto currencies?  Litecoin?  Dogcoin?  I still don’t have my head wrapped around the changing payment systems that are taking place all around us, but we are trying.

That’s were Honest Jane’s and Honest John’s Clothing (HJCS’s) comes in.  We have already set up over a thousand payment options for our clothing store in Waskatenau to literally take every form of payment in the world!  Now its outdated as even more have become available.

Our Solution:  Offer the same payment systems for both e-MCi and HJC’s

The reason you’ll see our rentals and surplus on the HJC’s Online Shopping Website is for this very reason, the integration of payment systems across both corporations.  Now you can pay your e-MCi invoice on our HJC’s Website and choose between the many payment options which includes credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and e-Transfers.  This list will undoubtedly grow over time but whatever the current fad is, both corporation will accept the same types.  Just a note that payment by cheque through the mail is still our preferred method for e-MCi.

Downside: As part of these payments systems there are added costs which make for a substantial loss to e-MCi such as 3% fees for credit cards, 4% fees for PayPal and so on.  We have never included these fees in our rates or pricing to date because cheques don’t include these fees.  Therefore e-MCi has had to change our policy and add these fees into the invoices as a separate line item so you know how much we have to pay out to make the transaction.  I repeat for clarity that payments by cheque will not have these charges on the invoice as credit card use for us is still minor, perhaps in the future we will build in the fees and give a credit for payers with cheques, but not at this time.

Your invoice will come in the mail (or email based on preference) and look the same without any extra fees built in, UNLESS you request a credit card payment at which time we will update the invoice with the transaction fees for your preferred method.

Clients that choose these alternative payment methods will then have there invoice posted on our HJC’s online shopping website were they can login, locate their invoice, add it their cart, proceed to checkout and then select from the many credit card options.  These include Master Card, Visa, Discovery, and American Express.  We have already had two clients use this service and both provided positive feedback as to the simplicity of the process as its almost identical to all modern online sites.  This is why we chose Shopify as our provider, so you would already be familiar with the process from other online shopping experiences.

Our only payment system not tried out by e-MCi is the Bitcoin option – we can hardly wait for our first client to use this method.



Troubleshooting Forum

Get the conversation going by posting your technical issue here, lets see if any professed experts can help you – many have told me they are ‘the best’ so lets give them a chance to prove it!  Give it shot, maybe it will help others with similar problems.

If this type of information is popular, I will expand the capacities within the website to facilitate the forum.  While you thinking of the answer, play some concentration music located to the right.

Rules:  Be courteous, professional and specific as to problems, you can provide links to info, video or photos to help explain issues but will not be able to paste photos directly in the comments.  I will have to ‘allow’ your comments at first, but after the first one you will be able to post in real time.

Rewards:  What would helping out others be without a little reward?  Well, HJC’s has agreed to provide gift certificates to the best answer to each relevant question.  I will add a dollar amount in each eligible question – sorry but I’m judge and jury in this regard.