By Lindsay Ducharme
Lee Wilson, along with his brother Chris and good friend Ivan Boucher, cofounders of Birch Mountain Enterprises, have never been the type of people to sit back and wait for things to happen. It was their ingenuity and unparalleled drive that has carried them from a small one-truck business, to a thriving company which now employees over 120 people.
Birch Mountain Enterprises was recently named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Regional Aboriginal Recognition Awards (RARA) ceremony, a feat Wilson says they are not taking lightly.
“We started it in 2005 as a heavy duty mechanical company and then from there we branched off into welding, so we had mechanic trucks and welding trucks. In 2006 we bought our first steam truck to help assist our services in the mechanical trade and that got really busy so we bought another steam truck and a second water truck to help and then we snowballed into the position we are in today. From the mechanical sector we expanded to include everything to the service sector of the oil field industry,” Lee explained of their beginnings.
“It was an amazing feeling to be recognized. We have been around Fort McMurray for 8 years plus, and to get some recognition like this, it means everything. Reputation means everything to us, we have made a conscious effort to not take on any work that might jeopardize our reputation.”
While Lee had the initial idea for the company, less than a month after Birch Mountain was created his brother Chris came on board. Exactly a year after the company was created, Boucher joined the team and added welding to the company’s repertoire.
“Where the company is now has met and exceeded all of our expectations of what we thought we could do,” he continued.
Making the recognition all the more significant is the fact that Lee gets to share the experience, along with their success and day-to-day experiences with his brother and friend.
“It’s been fantastic working together. We keep ourselves humble, we help each other out. Without the two partners there’s no way that we could be as big as we are. Everybody brought a different aspect of the business to the table. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful,” Wilson said.
True to form, the trio has no plans of slowing down anytime soon, with further expansion and growth on the horizon. However, the men are also using their desire to succeed to inspire the youth of the region. “Never give up on your dreams and give back to your community as much as you can. After all we are just small town Fort McKay boys, and if we can do it you can too,” Lee stressed.
The RARA Awards recognize individuals who have made positive contributions to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, including the communities of Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, Anzac, Janvier, Fort MacKay, Conklin and Gregoire Lake. This year marked the organizations 26th year.
For more information on Birch Mountain Enterprises visit their website at www.bmel.ca.