Andrew Nairn has a full life.
The 36 year old is an engineer, husband, father of two young children, general manager of a steel fabrication business and a member of the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department.
While he has spent most of his life in the Cariboo, he was born in Surrey, B.C. His father, Mark Nairn, was working in a camp during the building of a mine at Tumbler Ridge so his mom, Sally Nairn, went down to stay with her parents until Andrew was born.
The oldest of three children, his sister Meghan is a nurse at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and sister Sheila is co-owner of Exploring the Puddle Early Learning Centre in Williams Lake.
Eventually the family moved to Williams Lake and Mark started a company called Lake Power Tool, which he later sold, and started another company called Interior Auto Electric.
Due to working long hours his dad decided he wanted a change, sold the company, and when Andrew was five years old, Mark teamed up with an uncle and the family moved to the Bar M7 Ranch in Riske Creek, where they ran a cow-calf operation.
“Dad got involved with the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association and was the president during the BSE (Mad Cow Disease) and everything. The big thing with the ranch was he could still work lots of hours and get ahead but at least us kids could be with him.”
Back in his construction days, Mark met Mike Beadman who owned Beamac Installations Ltd. and when the Nairns moved to Williams Lake they became friends.
“We spent a lot of time with their family when everyone was growing up,” Andrew said. While Andrew was studying engineering at the University of British Columbia, his parents bought Beamac in 2006.
Andrew worked at Mount Polley Mine as a summer student which eventually turned into a full-time job once he completed his degree. Starting out as a maintenance planner, he eventually went into projects working at the Red Chris Mine for Imperial Metals.
In 2014 his parents were ready to step away from the business so Andrew left Imperial Metals to become general manager at Beamac.
“My wife Trish and I were ready to start a family around then — the timing worked out,” he said. Trish grew up in Richmond and moved to Williams Lake to take a job co-ordinating the Cariboo Chilcotin Invasive Plant Committee.
Three years ago she was hired as an agrologist with the ministry of forests. She was living in 150 Mile House and after about six months decided to join the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department to meet people and that’s how she and Andrew met in 2010.
Some of Andrew’s work days are very long, but when he’s not working he loves spending time with Trish and their children Griffin, 5, and Heather, 3.
“Our kids are finally at the age where we got them up at the ski hill this year. I really love 150 Mile. With the fire department and the community our kids have great friends here.”
“I love everything that we can do outdoors,” he added. “Even with the challenges of COVID — I don’t know what it would be like living in the city right now — at least here we can get out for walks or I can hop on a quad at our place and hit the government trails.”
Growing up on the ranch, which his father completely sold off by the spring of 2017, he participated in a few gymkhanas as a kid, but never ventured into rodeo.
“Our ranch was big enough that both our parents had to work the ranch full time and there wasn’t time for rodeoing.”
It has been a challenging few years to be in business, he added. Beamac’s biggest customer was Mount Polley Mine so when the tailings impoundment disaster occurred in 2014 that had a big impact, followed by the 2017 wildfires which shut many companies down.
A few years ago his friend JJ Bast, a captain with the 150 Mile Fire Dept., came to work for Beamac. “He was ready for a change and I was looking for someone to take the seat in the machine shop, build it up and run with it. He has done a great job and really built it up from himself back there to three, full-time machinists and starting to look for more.”
Beamac is busy doing work for the mining industry and offering mobile machining, he added.
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