Windspeaker Radio speaks with Marie Boucher of Sakasteew Transportation based in Fort McKay First Nation.
Located in the heart of the Oil Sands in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, in Fort McKay First Nation Alberta.
Fort McKay AB
When it opened in the early 2000, Sakasteew Transportation filled an important need in the Fort McKay area.
“There were not too many transportation companies at the time,” said Boucher, and she had the experience and the support of her employer to strike out on her own.
She had worked with Fort McKay Transportation for 21 years on the Syncrude site in northern Alberta. She took that experience and some financial assistance from her Fort McKay Transportation to develop to Sakasteew Transportation. They even gave her an initial contract to transport their employees from Fort McMurray to the Albion site each day.
Not only did the new company get employees to various sites, Sakasteew served as a means to support her children and now her grandchildren in their education needs. And to supports her community by providing employment opportunities to others.
“Lots of people like to work for community owners,” she said. “It’s like one big family. We support one another.”
It was a good time for her to start a business. Her children were older and in school, so she didn’t need to worry about having babysitters. Boucher has now been in business for more than 18 years.
The health of the industry and, by extension, the wellbeing of her own business depends on oil prices, said Boucher.
“Money management is the key,” she explained on how she has survived the ups and downs of her business over almost two decades. “You have to learn how to manage money.
“Yes, some years were hard when the recession hit,” but she learned to save money during the times when things were good.
Being a business owner requires determination, said Boucher.
“Never give up when times get tough. Always find a solution to survive.”
She tells young people that education is the key to owning a business. Research what you want to do.
“Running a business requires a lot of office work. Organization is important. Legislation and policies must be followed be in a good standing with the company.”
And she stresses the importance of safety.
“Without safety there is no work for you and your company.
And, if your goal is to be in businesses, learn to have a business mind.
And, above all else, be honest and walk with integrity.