Subcontractor Spotlight – 4 Evergreen Resources
In 2021, when AFDE was awarded the Right Bank Foundation Enhancements work (which includes the Approach Channel and the Piling in the Stilling Basin and Tailrace), it introduced a component of Earthworks scope which was new to our GSS Civil Works contract. The AFDE Partner companies certainly have the capacity to mobilize equipment and supervision to perform this scope, but part of the cost/operations analysis considered sub-contracting it and that is the direction we took. A subcontract was negotiated and awarded to 4 Evergreen Resources (4EG) – a Saulteau First Nations owned company.
Starting as a small Joint Venture business over 15 years ago, 4EG began by undertaking clearing contracts primarily in the Energy sector. 4 Evergreen has experienced dynamic growth over the last decade to become a major clearing and civil construction company in the region, servicing the Heavy Civil, Mining, Energy, Utilities and Forestry sectors. It is 100% owned and managed by Saulteau First Nations. 4EG directly employs over 130 people as well as several band member owner/operators and subcontractors. It has become a major contributor, not just to the Saulteau First Nations, but also to the entire region, as a significant employer and through supporting businesses in the local communities.
Since arriving on-site, 4 Evergreen Resources has been doing great work for us. Foundation Enhancements Area Manager Jason Tingstad couldn’t be happier with the arrangement: “We have a great working relationship with 4 Evergreen. We tell them what we need done, and they go and do it – they’re fully integrated within our operations. Most of all, if we disagree on anything, or need to negotiate changes, the best way to describe 4 Evergreen is that they are responsive and fair. As with any Subcontractor, I was cautious at first, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Calvin Napoleon is a Superintendent for 4EG and mobilized to site in October 2021 to support the Piling operations in the Stilling Basin – the first component of work for the Foundation Enhancements. Calvin is a member of the Saulteau First Nations and has a strong connection to the land in this area. Some of his fondest childhood memories are snowshoeing through what is now the Site C footprint on a trapline with his grandfather.
His work experience is quite varied, but the common factor is that he has always worked on the land. He was a wrangler in the nearby Northern Rockies for a Guide-Outfitter for several years, and then began working in the Oil and Gas sector, starting out as a roughneck on the rigs. For many years he was a faller, clearing seismic exploration lines and lease sites. His first experience at Site C was as a faller in 2019 and 2020, clearing the Transmission Line Right of Way and the footprint for the Reservoir. He took great pleasure in showing off his skills to the specialized fallers who had been brought in from the West Coast for their expertise in heli-logging on steep terrain.
Along the way Calvin took every opportunity to learn new skills, and often had a chance to get into equipment, starting with small skidsteers, and moving into skidders, loaders and excavators. The approach that he always took was to note which operators were the best, and to model his work after theirs, asking for tips, listening carefully to what they said, and trying to put their advice into practice. He also found himself being channeled into leadership positions. He recalls the first day he was called on to lead a Safety meeting as the moment his managers took note and started asking him to take on supervisory roles.
Calvin has a simple philosophy that governs his work. He says, “You need to prove yourself, and always be honest. Work hard to gain trust, and work harder to keep it. That’s what is important to me personally, and it’s just as important when I am representing my company.”
Trudy Logan is also a Superintendent for 4EG, overseeing the work in the Approach Channel. Like Calvin, Trudy also has a long work history connected to the land. She credits the family farm and her grandfather for instilling a strong work ethic in her. As a young child, she would get up early and work hard to complete her chores so that she could tag along with him as he went hunting and trapping.
She has worked for the Ministry of Forests (one of her favourite jobs was collecting seed cones), Oil & Gas companies, and started operating equipment while working for Surerus Pipeline out of Fort St. John. She has worked for 4 Evergreen for 7 years, starting as a Safety Technician. 4EG was working on multiple lease sites and providing reclamation services, and the client that Trudy was responsible for was Shell. Before long, the Shell representatives suggested to the 4EG management that she be promoted to supervise all of the operations on their sites.
On the Site C Project, Trudy has supervised crews clearing the Transmission lines and the Reservoir, then returned to the Transmission lines to build access roads. 4EG also performed extensive earthworks on the Lynx Creek Causeway near Hudson’s Hope. Trudy, who is naturally curious, always asks questions, and has enjoyed the learning that comes with each client and each project. Specs and Regulatory obligations can be unique for Oil & Gas companies, the Ministries of Forests and Transportation, and for BC Hydro. Her work has required her to interact with Archaeological and Environmental consultants, and she has especially enjoyed getting their perspectives on Environmental & Cultural Heritage issues.
The learning is what inspires her in her current assignment as a subcontractor to AFDE. She participates in combined meetings, always listening and asking questions about the design and construction methods in order to get different perspectives on how to approach a job. She is so proud of her crew and seeks to inspire them to always learn something new as well. She values the Team environment with AFDE and is always willing to help out with any local knowledge or connections that she has.
Both Calvin and Trudy are proud of their heritage, and proud to work for 4 Evergreen Resources. They see 4EG as providing a legacy – contributing earnings back into the Community and giving members the opportunity to participate in Industrial activities in their Traditional Territory and Treaty Lands. The company has a Preferential Hiring Protocol with a goal of providing employment to Community members first. Their On-the-Job Training focusses on versatility, giving their employees ample opportunity to get experience on different pieces of equipment.
This is important to them – they both have a long list of mentors and leaders that they credit for their personal advancement (the list is too long to include here), and they sincerely thank them for the opportunities given and the trust that was placed in them. They see 4 Evergreen Resources as a means to provide the youth from their community with opportunities that weren’t always available to them. Trudy says, “I always try to encourage and inspire them. I say, ‘Look around – we’re working on something amazing here!’ There have been other dams and big projects in the past that we’ve had no say in and have been left out of. We’re finally a part of something, and I want to make sure that they’re proud of that – because they should be!”
4 Evergreen Resources is a great example of what can be accomplished when the leadership of a First Nation makes the decision to invest resources to build a competitive business. But as Saulteau First Nations Chief Justin Napoleon notes: “This doesn’t happen in isolation – it requires project proponents like BC Hydro and companies like ADFE who recognize that working with Indigenous businesses is not only sound practice, but also adds economic value to their operations.”
4EG – an important part of the AFDE Team!