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Health Care Heroes Series: Dave and Nicole Bouchier

Proud Wood Buffalo residents, Dave Bouchier and Nicole Bourque-Bouchier take great pride in giving back to the community that has supported them, and their involvement has made a real and impactful difference in the Wood Buffalo region.

Dave and Nicole co-own the Bouchier Group, one of the largest Aboriginal-owned and operated companies in Northeastern Alberta. Based in Fort McKay, the company provides earthworks, civil construction and site services to the Oil Sands. They employ more than 700 individuals, many of which are Aboriginal descent .

Dave and Nicole demonstrate a true commitment and caring for their community, and have instilled this within their company. One of the Bouchier Group’s core beliefs is to support and develop the communities in which they work. They’ve proven this value through their active involvement with local sports teams, social profits, educational institutions and Aboriginal groups.

In addition to their tremendous community support through their company, David and Nicole donate much of their personal time to several community groups. This includes Nicole’s involvement with the Northern Lights Health Foundation where Nicole passionately advocates for enhancements to health care services in our region.

As a result of their dedication to both their business and their community, Nicole and Dave recently received the 2015 Regional Aboriginal Recognition Award in Entrepreneurship. Nicole was also awarded with the 2015 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Celebration of Achievement Award.

We recently caught up with Nicole, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Bouchier Group, where she shared with us more about her and her husband’s community involvement and why they choose to support health care in our region.

Q: Nicole, what does a ‘day in the life of’ look like for you at the Bouchier Group?
Nicole: Because we’re currently serving without a Chief Operating Officer, I’m really involved in the day to day field operations so I do a lot of site progress meetings, I work daily in our head office with the various departmental leads whether that be Human Resources, Finance, Commercial Estimating, Communications and then I spend a great deal of my time each week on volunteer initiatives such as serving on Boards within the community.

Q: Can you provide a brief history of the Bouchier Group and how it came into existence?
Nicole: Bouchier Contracting started in the fall of 2004 when we took on a temporary road access job at the Canadian Natural Resources Oil Sands Site, and we grew at that site into road maintenance activity and project work from a civil side, and then about five years ago we introduced a Bouchier site services component to the group which focuses on site-specific delivery services such as facilities maintenance and medical, fire and project management.

More recently, we started a projects division aimed more at new construction where we do some engineering work and be that lead project managing firm, in which case it uses our site services division or civil contracting position to carry out the work.

Q: In your role, what would you say is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Nicole: There’s definitely a lot – I’d say it’s primarily overcoming the various challenges because when you’re running your own business, every day is a new challenge; every day brings something different on. It’s getting through each challenge and saying ‘I did that! I’m really happy I overcame that challenge.’ And it changes – what was a challenge 10 years ago is not a challenge today, and it’s other challenges.

I think it’s always rewarding to keep up with change and I think embrace change. That’s another thing – in order to be a business owner, you have to embrace change because things will always keep moving. The minute you stay stagnant, that’s when your business doesn’t grow anymore.

Q: In addition to the Health Foundation, what organizations and causes is the Bouchier Group (and yourself personally) involved with and what inspires your team to give so much of your time and talent back into the community?
Nicole: Personally, I sit on the Keyano College Board of Governors and am a huge advocate of education. I also stay involved with the Fort McKay Hockey Society, where I’m very active with their events such as the recent Jordin Tootoo event which both Dave and I, and Bouchier Group, were huge supporters of. That event was really about building self esteem in youth, especially Aboriginal youth, in our community.

I’m also a huge advocate for women in business, and specifically Aboriginal women in business, so I do many things throughout the year along those lines – anything that raises that awareness.

From a company point of view, we have a number of programs that we do. We do a matching donation program, where we allow our head office employees to donate to a charity of their choice within the Wood Buffalo region, in which we’ll match the donation, or sometimes they may not be able to donate, in which case they’ll say ‘we’d really like the company to look into giving back to this charity’, in which case we’ll do that. We also have a volunteer program, which is in its second year, where we allow so many hours a year away from work to volunteer within the community.

I think giving back is really part of a company’s social responsibility to be very involved in the communities in which they live and work. Fort McMurray is very fortunate to have a lot of those types of companies and contractors in the area that do give back, but with that being said, there’s always room to give and there are more companies that should make it a priority. You see a lot of companies that come in and work, then leave and even if you don’t live here, your head office isn’t here; you should look at ways to give back to the community.

Q: The Health Foundation turned 30 years old this year. Why do Dave and you feel it’s important to support health care in our community?
Nicole: Health care is the basis of a community, because in order for a community to thrive and grow you need healthy citizens. Dave and I have a young family with five children. I’ve had all my children at the local hospital and we’ve had to bring our kids in, whether it be for stitches or bronchitis. So giving back to health care and to the overall betterment of our kids is so important. To me, that’s where it all starts. You can’t have the education if you don’t have the health. Health is really the basis of it all.
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Dave Bouchier and Nicole Bourque-Bouchier at the 2015 Regional Aboriginal Recognition Awards, where they received the Entrepreneur Award. 

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