The company was established as Alberta Trailer Hire in 1947 by S.D. Southern and his son Ron Southern in Calgary. Its operations grew in time, and the company moved from renting to selling trailers. It became Alberta Trailer Company, and its name was later changed to ATCO. Its operations expanded to Australia and across the North American continent in the 60s. In the 70s, ATCO established presence in the electricity, petroleum, and natural gas industries.
Today, ATCO Ltd operates through a number of subsidiary companies, among which ATCO Structures and Logistics, Yukon Electrical, ATCO Gas, ATCO Water, and others. ATCO Structures and Logistics features a variety of infrastructure solutions, including site support services, innovative modular facilities, workforce housing, gas turbine systems, and industrial noise reduction systems, among others. ATCO Waters offers comprehensive wastewater and water solutions, together with partnership flexibility and technical knowledge. ATCO I-Tek features a variety of IT solutions and business services, helping clients improve IT security, manage IT costs, and increase productivity. Its services and products include end-to-end managed services, meter data management, asset management, customer care and billing, business critical applications, and hosted solutions.
ATCO Midstream has interests in gas extraction facilities, processing facilities, and natural gas gathering facilities. Northland Utilities is another subsidiary of ATCO Ltd that provides electricity to communities in Dory Point, Hay River, Fort Providence, Trout Lake, and other locations. ATCO Electric provides electricity to customers in Alberta and maintains and operates a reliable and safe system of distribution and transmission lines, which delivers power to towns, cities, Aboriginal communities, businesses, farms, and homes. The company has two subsidiaries, Northland Utilities (Yellowknife) and Northland Utilities (NWT), which serve customers in the northern parts of the country.