These days, however, some local businesses have to look elsewhere for work. That includes Akron Engineering, which helps governments and energy companies develop infrastructure projects. The business is based in Fort McMurray but has had to pursue work as far away as Calgary and Saskatoon.

“We need to evolve and be more sustainable and think out of the box,” said Nayef Mahgoub, the company’s founder.

“It’s been tough. Things haven’t been getting better, in general. However, people here in Fort McMurray are very resilient. They are tough people.”