B.C. Logging Company Honored with Leadership Award

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), Ottawa, Ont., Canada, and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) this week announced that Al Humphrys, GM of Duz Cho Logging, has won the FPAC/AFN Aboriginal Forest Products Business Leadership Award. The company is 100% owned by the McLeod Lake Indian Band, from McLeod Lake, B.C., Canada. Duz Cho was honored with the award on Tuesday of this week at the AFN General Assembly in Toronto, Ont., Canada.

The award celebrates First Nations entrepreneurs for their success in a forest products business that exemplifies business leadership, exceptional environmental and safety performance, and the delivery of high-quality products and services. The award recipient must also demonstrate a strong, long-term commitment to the Aboriginal community, especially Aboriginal employment.

"FPAC is pleased to recognize Al Humphrys and the whole team at Duz Cho Logging for their excellent business leadership," said Catherine Cobden, president and CEO of FPAC. "We applaud their commitment to skills training and their employment strategy to recruit First Nations employees. As part of our Vision2020, the forest products industry is committed to attracting more Aboriginal workers and Duz Cho is a dynamic example of how this can be done."

Duz Cho Logging employs some 140 people, including about 20% Aboriginal employees, and is the largest company ever to win this award. It has been in business for 24 years, a testament to a First Nations business that has built success decade after decade. Duz Cho shares its profits with the McLeod Lake Indian Band, and actively supports local community projects such as donating to the high school graduating class and to a student bursary at the College of New Caledonia. These community investments are helping to encourage active First Nations participation in the forest products industry.

"This award recognizes entrepreneurial efforts that have positive environmental, economic, and social impacts that keep First Nations' communities strong and growing. Duz Cho Logging is a true leader in the industry that stands as a model for how First Nations can help shape the future of a healthy Canadian forest industry," said AFN NB/PEI Regional Chief Roger Augustine, chair of the Chiefs Committee on Economic Development.

There are now about 1,400 Aboriginal owned businesses in Canada, and about 17,000 Aboriginal people working in the sector, making the forest products industry the largest employer for Aboriginal workers.

This is the third time the FPAC/AFN Aboriginal Forest Products Business Leadership Award has been presented. The Skills Award for Aboriginal Youth was recently announced, and the winner will be awarded in the fall of 2012.