Winter lessons, legacy and land stewardship in 2020

By Alex Fulthorpe, Executive Vice President, Blackstone


Every year, at this time, we prepare for frontier-like living. The summer and autumn harvest have a way of holding our gaze long enough for us to forget the reoccurring hardship of winter. Winter is a season no one should face alone. This particular winter may be burdened with additional pressures that could test our resolve.

Survival requires us to know our neighbours, borrow and lend traditions, share harvest and manufacture fuel to keep warm. In Canada, we all have perseverance in common, and the knowledge that winter won’t last forever. 2020 has presented us all with new challenges in the face of a pandemic, economic unrest, and political and social divide. Our conversations feel fractured, our resolve, at times, unattainable, and I often find myself asking, “What unites a community?”

Blackstone Industrial has been our project for eight years, this year. A small amount of time for some companies, perhaps, but a defining chapter for ours. We have expanded our offerings, founded new companies, learned from missteps along the way, and welcomed so many good people and their families to our team. Much of this has been done in the face of great commodity collapse and what amounts to continued undermining and deterioration of Alberta’s core industry. At Blackstone, we are a fabricator of parts and performers of services for many assets, including pipelines, plants and critical rotating equipment, but we exist beyond the assembly or disassembly line. From the beginning, our labour has been about a remapping the industry for the long-term. It’s how we see maintenance: a preparation for the future and investment in sustainable infrastructure and knowledge. It is an investment in the people who reside in the communities where we work, and who want to build a legacy they can pass on.

Our efforts have always stemmed, first, from stewardship for the land and respect for people. Most of Canada’s territory was mapped and explored with the invaluable support of Indigenous guides, all of whom helped friends survive unbearable winters. Our conversations and partnerships today are about commitment to local job creation, supporting skill acquisition, knowledge transfer, technical training and education. At Blackstone, we are access-driven, with the desire to create prosperity for all involved. We work alongside industries that have not always had control over their futures, and often endure criticism, but we are all getting better every day at what we do for one reason: we are teaching each other.

All citizens of this land want access to skill and knowledge, autonomy to create wealth, and community support. Though many of our lives have slowed to taking it one-day-at-a-time, we’re still building towards something critical to our survival. We are problem solvers and labourers, and remain proud to be so, and we all deserve to hold a vision of prosperity. We live in a vast land; it’s why our country is a sought-after place to live. Despite the winter.

In the coming cold months, let’s get to know our neighbours, break bread, keep an open mind and step away from judgement. Examine things with a more discerning eye, find joy in friends, family and good work, and stay warm.

Learn more about our efforts to work in coordination with our customers and in partnership with Indigenous communities to represent our industry and honour this great land.

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