This Aboriginal owned and operated company
is growing rapidly, thanks to strong industry
ties and a solid alignment between business
objectives and community goals
By Mark Halsall
A slumping Saskatchewan economy has caused some companies to struggle in
recent times, but Pinehouse Business North (PBN) is one of the exceptions.
PBN was established 10 years ago to foster economic development in
Pinehouse, a northern Aboriginal community of some 1,400 people located about 500 kilo-metres
north of Saskatoon.
The company, which specializes in civil earthworks construction and environmental
waste management for the mining industry and also does general building construction and
road maintenance work, has been doing very well the past few years.
“We have grown quite significantly over the last three years or so,” said Garrett Schmidt,
director of operations for PBN. “We’ve basically doubled our growth.”
Schmidt credits a shared vision and strong leadership within the company and its home
community for much of PBN’s success.
“We have an alignment between the community’s goals with the business objectives of
PBN, which can be a hard thing to match at times for community-owned corporations,” said
Schmidt. It’s this alignment, he adds, that enables the company to thrive while helping to
support the people of Pinehouse.
“We have a very strong relationship with industry, not only the northern mining compa-nies
but also with the Saskatchewan government,” said Schmidt, who works out of PBN’s
At the same time, he adds, the business is very integrated into the community, with much
of PBN’s earnings going towards infrastructure improvements as well as community devel-opment
initiatives that support training and traditional knowledge sharing.
PBN, which had 200 people on its payroll last year and is now one of Pinehouse’s biggest
employers, offers extensive skill development and job training for residents.
“For example, last year alone we invested in over 8,600 hours of training…We try to en-hance
the skills of people so they can become valuable members of our workforce,” said
Schmidt. “The end goal is for the residents of Pinehouse to have a better quality of life.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PINEHOUSE BUSINESS NORTH
44 Think BIG | Quarter 4 2017 | saskheavy.ca