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I've always been a big believer that everybody should have the opportunity to apprentice. Get into it, stick with it, and get your ticket. It's always something to move forward with or fall back on."
Doug Golosky, BBA (Hon)
Doug Golosky understands that skill development is key to connecting people to jobs. He has achieved outstanding success as a business leader in the trades and helped hundreds of trades people complete their apprenticeships and launch their careers.
Doug was born in 1949 in Fort McMurray, where he has lived all his life. His grandfather was from Romania and his grandmother was Cree.
Doug’s ‘work comes first’ attitude started in childhood while helping out on the family’s trapline, hauling water, gardening, fishing and chopping wood. In grade 10, he left school and started his working life, learning to be a general labourer and doing odd jobs. Then an opportunity opened for him to train at one of the first welding programs offered at the Alberta Vocational Centre (now Keyano College). This is where he began his welding apprenticeship, which he completed at NAIT in 1965.
For the next two decades, he worked for different companies that struggled to find success. Feeling frustrated in 1984, he took the risk and, with his wife Carol, founded Clearwater Welding & Fabricating Ltd – what would be the first of many companies.
“I worked for guys and watched what they were doing. I decided to try not to make the same mistakes they did. But I also realized that your employees are the key to being successful,” Doug says.
He learned early that companies have to build their own workforce, and that it was up to him to create the work culture he wanted, which came down to treating all his employees like he wanted to be treated.
“I said I only wanted two things from young people when we decided to offer them a job and apprenticeship,” shares Doug. “Number one was show up for work every day, and number two was be willing to learn. If you have those two skills, we can do the rest.”
At that time the oil sands was seeing a resurgence in investment and production. In 1986, Clearwater Welding secured a long-term contract with Syncrude, which spanned more than two decades.
In addition, Doug and his brothers started trucking steel from Edmonton and the company expanded beyond welding. He bought his first shop from a local business and continued expanding, eventually moving into Edmonton, Lloydminster and Montreal.
Over time, Doug’s business ventures grew to include eight companies. Together, they were one of the largest contractors in the Wood Buffalo region, employing more than 1,000 skilled tradespeople.
Despite his major successes in business, Doug sees as one of his biggest achievements the number of opportunities his companies have been able to provide for young people in the trades, especially those who, he says, might be headed down the wrong track. He helped hundreds of apprentices earn their journeyman tickets. His perspective is that anyone who is willing to learn and has the drive to show up every day in any kind of weather can have a career in the trades, including Indigenous peoples and women, both of whom he’s made it a point to hire.
Doug has sat on the board of CAREERS, The Next Generation. He is pleased with the growing expansion of skilled trades education in high schools, and programs that let students start on their apprenticeships while earning school credits.
Doug has held many roles within the industry, including as a crucial driver behind the development of the Northeastern Alberta Business Association in 1993. He also was on the board of Alberta Chamber of Resources steering committee for Aboriginal Programs in the Resources Industries initiative.
He turned one of his old construction companies into an initiative called Lynco Eagle, a First Nation and Métis partnership that provides training and employment for Indigenous peoples by hiring from First Nation and Métis communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Lynco Eagle partnership also provides construction, fabrication and manufacturing services for clients in the oil and mining industry.
Throughout his career, Doug has been an insatiable learner, noting how the trades operated in other provinces when his company expanded nationally, and finding ways to advocate and support apprenticeship education here in Alberta. He recognizes the stigma the trades carry as a career choice, and hopes that opinion evolves into a more positive one. Doug is proud of the people who apprenticed with his companies and have grown their careers. Their successes include educating apprentices at Keyano College, and becoming vice-president of a large oil company.
“More people are learning that they can be successful in the trades. Some people used to think if your kid didn't go to post-secondary and become a lawyer or something like that, they were not top notch citizens,” says Doug. “I believe that attitude is changing. In the trades, no matter who you are, the world is open.”
Doug has been recognized with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Business and Commerce and as the Resource person of the Year from the Alberta Chamber of Resources. He’s earned the National Association for Excellence in Business Education Partnerships award from the Conference Board of Canada, and was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.
He’s also received the President’s Award, the Ivan Ahenakew Award of the Interprovincial Association on Native Employment, and Syncrude Canada’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Hiring/Training Practices with Aboriginal Population. He has a journeyman certificate in welding and an honorary Bachelor of Business Administration degree from NAIT.
Doug’s family has lived in Fort McMurray for more than a hundred years. He and his wife Carol have no intentions of breaking with this tradition. They have a daughter, a grandson and one great grandson.