The Lax Kw’alaams First Nation now owns an engineering company.
The formation of Embark Engineering was announced on Wednesday at the National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference in Prince Rupert, and the company is an undertaking of both the Lax Kw’alaams Band and established engineering firm Kerr Wood Leidal Associates Ltd.
“We’ve had a longstanding working relationship with Lax Kw’alaams, and this evolved from discussions that we had while attending the conference last year,” said Frank Belfry of Kerr Wood Leidal, who will be taking on the role of general manager for Embark Engineering.
“We’ve been working with Kerr Wood Leidal for 30 years. they’ve done great work and we saw this as an opportunity for a partnership…It’s in the early stages right now, but we want to get things moving as quickly as we can,” said Lax Kw’alaams mayor Garry Reece.
The company will have its head office in Lax Kw’alaams, with an office in Prince Rupert possibly in the future, and band manager Wayne Drury will be CEO while Reece will be chairman of the company. Embark Engineering will introduce academic programs and scholarship in the future to help create engineering careers for the people of Lax Kw’alaams.
“We will identify individuals who want to follow through with engineering careers, get them the right skills and training and go from there,” said Belfry.
“We have someone working for us now compiling the list of jobs that will need filling, not just in the engineering side of the business,” added Reece.
While no contracts are in place now, but work Kerr Wood Leidal is undertaking for the band at the moment will be funneled through to the Embark Engineering.
Governance for Embark Engineering will be through a board consisting of two members from the Lax Kw’alaams band, two members from Kerr Wood Leidal and one person agreed upon by both parties.