Tsi Del Del Enterprises has come a long way in 25 years said Alexis Creek First Nation Chief Ervin Charleyboy in reference to his community being the recipient of an Aboriginal Business award in recognition of its partnership with Tolko Industries.
“From a small logging operation that started in 1992 with three buckermen, one old triple six ranger skidder, and a 1966 loader, we were doing six loads a day back in those days,” Charleyboy said.
The partnership started off with Jacobson Brothers, went to Riverside and eventually found its home with Tolko, he added.
Charleyboy, along with Band Coun. Percy Guichon, and Tolko’s Tom Hoffman, accepted the Aboriginal – Industry Business Partnership of the Year award for the joint venture at a ceremony in Vancouver on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Hoffman, manager of external and stakeholder relations at Tolko Industries, said the company will generate somewhere between $20 to $25 million in revenue this year.
“It’s the second largest logging company in Williams Lake and currently employs about 80 people,” Hoffman said. “Tolko is more than just a partner, we are a beneficiary of this company and are able to access fibre for our manufacturing facilities and we’ve developed a symbiotic relationship with Alexis Creek First Nation that we think we can use to show other willing partners in other jurisdictions how to build a successful business relationship with First Nations.”
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett attended the award gala and praised the partnership.
“They’ve got mechanics, truck drivers, whatever it takes to keep a logging operation going, and they have people being trained,” Barnett said. “It’s a wonderful, profitable company.”
A large majority of the employees are from First Nations communities, Chief Charleyboy said.
“We have four different shows going — one near Bella Coola here, two in the Tatlayoko area and one in Riske Creek. We’ve got people from the Carrier, Chilcotin and Shuswap Nations — whoever can work is working.”
The BC Aboriginal Business Awards were launched in 2008 to honour and celebrate business excellence. A total of 15 Aboriginal businesses, entrepreneurs, partnership entities and community-owned enterprises will be recognized at this year’s gala dinner.