Spotlight: Mistahiya Contracting
Mistahiya (“Grizzly” in the Cree language) Contracting is a business owned by Dwayne and Carmen Richter, based in Moberly Lake, BC. As Saulteau First Nations members, Dwayne and Carmen grew up in the area. Dwayne has a background in Heavy Equipment Mechanics and Operating, and Carmen has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree. They decided to start a business – working as a team to combine their unique strengths, while raising their family in their home community.
Together, they identified a niche for business opportunities that they could take on. They noticed that a vacuum truck out of Chetwynd was being used to service their community’s needs. Dwayne, working at the local mill, spent his evenings working on getting his operator’s license and in 2013 they purchased a vacuum truck and started their business. Since then, they have expanded their fleet and services to include gravel and water hauling, as well as portable toilet rentals and servicing. They work in the Wind, Oil and Gas, Pipeline, Forestry, Hydroelectric and Residential sectors.
In addition to being a co-owner of Mistahiya, Carmen puts her Professional qualifications to use as part of the team at the SFN Lands & Resources department. In her role she evaluates the Environmental Assessments that come as referrals for Projects that are proposed to take place in the Nation’s Traditional Territory and Treaty Lands – so she knows the scope of developments which likely to go ahead – and what opportunities those projects may bring to their community.
Dwayne and Carmen introduced Mistahiya to AFDE in 2018 before we arrived on site. Together we identified the need for portable toilets. Although we knew that many of our locations would be semi-permanent and serviced by washcars, we were able to provide enough certainty that there would be an ongoing need for portables to give Mistahiya the confidence to move forward with the initial capital outlay.
Since then, Mistahiya has been providing all of AFDE’s supply and service needs. They supply heated units during the cold winter months, and their units are flown by crane into spots on the project that can’t be serviced by washcars. Our Site Services managers appreciate their responsiveness, and the fact that they often come forward with their own, unsolicited ideas on how they can implement more cost-effective services.
As a First Nation company, Dwayne and Carmen truly endeavour to ensure that benefits from their business extend into their community. They actively recruit and employ their personnel from the community. Mistahiya promotes and/or sponsors several community events and projects, and they often contribute their services as well. And Carmen also lends her expertise to several of the Nation’s externally recognized and very successful conservation and restoration efforts (more here: Caribou Homeland on Vimeo ).
AFDE is proud to be associated with a company that invests so much in their community!