Partnerships in the oil field
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Success stories in the Oil Sands: Nicole & David Bouchier

Creating their own work environment

Nicole Bourque-Bouchier never thought she would be chief executive officer of a heavy equipment contracting company. When she first started Bouchier Contracting Ltd. with her husband David Bouchier, there was a major learning curve involved.

“The first year I was in business I didn’t know what an excavator was,” she says. “Now I could probably sit back and bid any job myself because I’ve learned so much over the years.”

The couple started Bouchier Contracting in 2004 with only two pieces of equipment. Their first job was building a temporary access road for Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., and they’ve been carving out roads throughout the harsh winter months ever since.

Nichole is a member of the Fort Chipewyan-based Mikisew Cree First Nation and David is from the Fort McKay First Nations. For them, employing local aboriginals played a key role in the decision to start the company. “It was really important for us to be able to create our own work environment with people that we like to work with,” she says.

About 60 per cent of the company’s workforce is made up of aboriginal people from the Fort McMurray-Fort McKay area. While it has become increasingly difficult to retain a steady workforce in the province’s bitumen belt, Bourque-Bouchier contends local contractors have certain advantages over their bigger brothers. “I think that it makes good business sense when you work with an aboriginal company because the money stays here,” she says.

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