TRADE HEROES: NELSON Environmental Remediation Ltd.

Food and Agriculture, Global Logistics
Published On
August 29, 2023

Welcome to Edmonton Global’s first installment of “Trade Heroes”, a new series, where we highlight regional companies that are excelling in trade and export. Exporting is never an easy job, but the impacts it brings in terms of economic growth and job creation are worth the effort.  We’re proud to highlight these business leaders as heroes to acknowledge their hard work and the positive impact they bring to our regional economy. If you’d like to suggest a business to be featured in Trade Heros, please use this form.

Edmonton Global’s team, NELSON Environmental’s team members (including Darryl Nelson, company President / Co-founder along with Todd Woywitka, Senior Project Supervisor over 30 years)

NELSON Environmental Remediation Ltd. is an environmental remediation contractor based near Edmonton.  Warren Nelson, CEO, and Darryl Nelson, President, co-founded NELSON Environmental in 1993. They specialize in remediating and restoring soil that has been contaminated with organics such as hydrocarbons, chemicals, pesticides, PCB and a broad range of other toxic organic compounds. What makes them unique is their specialized Thermal Desorption Technology, a mobile system employing a thermal process to remediate and preserve soil cost-effectively and efficiently by extracting and destroying organic contaminants. Unlike other passive methods such as landfill disposal that simply defer liability to future generations, this technology eliminates liability concerns of contaminated sites under their slogan of certainty “Clean Dirt, No Doubt!”.   

Soil is purified, allowing it to be preserved and recycled for subsequent land use of the highest value whether urban commercial/residential redevelopment, agricultural productivity or forested / grassland natural area restoration. 

Export Journey 

NELSON has been working in international markets for approximately 25 years taking their first steps beyond Canadian borders, in Texas, Honolulu, New York, North Dakota American Samoa and Spain. Haysem Naboulsi, NELSON’s corporate director of business development explains that company growth and the desire to serve global markets drove their expansion efforts, as they recognized the potential for tapping into new markets and seizing international opportunities. “Spotting greater growth and global potential, we embraced international markets – reaching new customers and fuelling innovation for long-term growth.” Darryl Nelson also highlighted the advantages of international expansion, including exposure to new cultures as well as the opportunity to travel abroad. “As we expand internationally, we’re also opening doors to new cultures with the privilege of helping other countries achieve environmental goals. It’s a rewarding aspect of our business journey.”  

NELSON is working towards creating a global presence, with plans to extend its expertise and services to regions including East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America.  

The company has remediated sites from locations ranging from the remote high Arctic working at –50C, to urban tropical locations such as Honolulu and American Samoa. 

Working Abroad 

In their most recent venture in Vietnam, NELSON found it surprisingly simple to overcome both cultural and language barriers bridging cultures with local relationships and support from our Federal and Provincial Trade Officers. “Language barriers have become less significant in recent years,” said Darryl. “English is emerging as a commonly shared and global language, facilitating much smoother collaboration”. 

Haysem highlighted that sometimes complexities do arise from varying laws and regulations across regions, making it especially helpful to access expert advice when expanding their international time zones. Working across multiple time zones and diverse cultures poses its own set of challenges,” said Haysem. To address these obstacles, NELSON Environmental hires local personnel, including a multilingual project manager familiar with the cultural nuances of each region. This has helped tremendously in navigating these challenges”. NELSON is currently working on potential international opportunities in Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Uruguay and Brazil.   

Collaboration is Key 

Expanding their international reach has brought other positive experiences to the NELSON team, beyond what it has done to their business.  Warren Nelson is especially proud of the opportunity he recently had to be involved in the sponsorship involving a couple from Ukraine. “The significance of building connections and fostering understanding across different cultures and traditions – that’s the true measure of success,” noted Haysem. Relationships are key when working internationally. 

The work in process, Alberta site 

Today, NELSON’s largest project to date is situated outside of Canada in North Dakota, with the cleanup of the largest crude oil spill contaminated soil volume in US history.  


“We can proudly say that we were pioneers in this industry since this market didn’t really exist in Canada before we started. While we initially believed we would serve only Canada, we discovered immense opportunities outside our home country.” 

– Darryl Nelson, the President of NELSON Environmental 


Their international operations have been supported with funding from the Canadian government and the company actively engages in extensive travel and networking to raise awareness of its brand and expertise across the globe. As they’ve grown, they’ve been able to expand their team to over 100 employees around the globe. 

Veronika Ivanytska