Fort St. John's Kikinaw Energy Services has been recognized for outstanding business achievement at the 2018 BC Indigenous Business Awards.
Awards were handed out at a gala ceremony Oct. 15 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, where more than 650 people gathered to honour excellence in Indigenous business in British Columbia.
"It's not my award, it's the company's award," said company president Kory Wood, a member of Saulteau First Nation.
"There's a lot of people behind the scenes who have helped us grow and develop."
Kikinaw means "our home" in Cree, and with a background in electrical instrumentation Wood incoporated the business in 2014 shortly after he started work as a contractor for the Willow Creek mine.
From there, the company was knocking on the doors of wind companies in Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge, and over the last four years Kikinaw has grown its national profile, working on projects in B.C., Alberta, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Ontario.
Today, wind energy maintenance and construction makes up 55 per cent of Kikinaw's business, and Wood hires out of Northern Lights College's wind turbine maintenance program in Dawson Creek.
The company has held steady electrical work at Site C since August 2015, and with the $40-billion LNG Canada project on the horizon, the company is turning its focus to growing its oil and gas portfolio, Wood said.
Kikinaw employs 33 people today, and Wood says his business would have "stopped in its tracks" if he didn't have good employees under his wing.
The company invests around $10,000 a year in community sponsorships, from minor hockey in Chetwynd, to free golf for youth at Lone Wolf in Taylor, to the Tse'K'Wa Heritage Society in Charlie Lake, to a youth entrepreneurship camp at the Northeast Aboriginal Business Centre, and much more.
Wood is working on a Master of Business Administration degree from Athabasca University to develop the business and take advantage of emerging opportunities, but he's cautious about growing too big.
"I never want this business to be outside my ability to have a relationship with everybody in our business," Wood said.
"We're still a young company and we're still improving. We're still constantly looking within and saying how could we provide better service? How can we be a better employer? How can we develop more careers? We're always trying to find ways of getting better."
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