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Rathwell & Rathwell Petroleum

After 35 years of partnering with Steelcraft’s Clemmer Containment Division, 64-year-old Bill Rathwell of Rathwell & Rathwell Petroleum knows he could retire—but won’t.

After all, with the next decade promising a surge of business, thanks to the new Liquid Fuels Handling Code, this is no time to quit. “It’s our Bible,” Rathwell says in reference to the code, which recently declared that all formerly single-walled steel systems be upgraded to double walls. A petroleum equipment contractor, Rathwell specializes in engineering systems for both storing and handling fuel products in the regions surrounding London, Owen Sound, and Stratford, Ontario. “We’re also going to have to put in new systems for alternative fuels like ethanol and bio-fuel,” he says of upcoming projects. “The next 10 years look good for tank manufacturers.” This means more business for Steelcraft—something Rathwell is more than happy to provide.

“Steelcraft’s Clemmer Division has the best system for the double wall,” says the Brucefield, Ontario, native. “In 35 years, we haven’t had a single incident with a Clemmer tank. They make a superior product; their coating is excellent, and they’ve never lost a vacuum underground. That’s why we’ve stayed with them—because of their quality.”

Quality is a word Rathwell’s customers are familiar with. “In 35 years, we’ve never had a leak or a spill in any of our installations,” Rathwell says proudly, having personally overseen each project alongside his brother Don.

Being a small company of seven employees, with an endless work schedule Rathwell doesn’t take on many new clients. “Our customers are our kids,” he says fondly. “Because they’re only doing this aspect of their business (installing underground systems and pipes to service their fuel) once every 20 years, they rely on us to guide them. They’re in the dark, so we help them along.”

As the director of the Ontario Petroleum Contractors Association (OPCA) for the past 13 years, Rathwell is passionate about his product. Together with his wife, Sandra, who has acted as his secretary for the past 35 years, they wonder what the future holds for their “kids” and their company. One thing is for sure, they will continue to provide quality service, thanks to partners like Steelcraft. “They’re great people to deal with,” says Rathwell.