“In the Spotlight” features Canadians with a passion for Canada’s Natural Resource sector. Our first spotlight is Tyler Gigg, an avid skier, father of 3 and mine worker in Northern Alberta.
Canada Action: Tyler Gigg! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today and thank you for accepting to be featured in our very first “In the spotlight” in the inaugural edition of our Newsletter! As mentioned, “In the spotlight” features everyday Canadians that are really proud of our natural resources sector and since you've been volunteering for us for a couple years and you work in mining, we thought it would be great for us to feature you! Can you share a little bit about your background and how you made it into mining?
Tyler Gigg: Yeah! It all kind of started with finishing high school out east in Barrie, Ontario and I always wanted to chase the coattails of my parents. They were big skiers so I'd basically always had a goal of going out west and living up to the expectations that my folks had for me back in the day of - you know, “one day you'll make it out west too” - and I did! I had a goal of making the national ski team and after that fell short for a number of reasons, I moved out right after high school and basically never came back. I started in Whistler and went as high as I could there professionally with my ski career. After multiple injuries and always knowing there are a thousand guys that are better than you, I decided to quit while I was ahead and just kind of tried to reinvent the wheel somehow. After my ski career and doing sales and marketing for a ski company for quite a long time, I looked up one of my old friends when my wife and I moved back from Utah. He was in mining in a big way and I decided then and there to make the jump to start my family because there's no way I could’ve started my family with being on the road all 300+ days a year, travelling all around the world. So I decided if I’m going to reinvent the wheel, why not start right now, rip off the band-aid and start fresh! So that's what I did! I looked at my old contacts and started in the Elk Valley, in the Eastern Kootenay’s. I started with coal mining and then long story short, I got picked up by a big mining outfit in Northern Alberta and I've been with them ever since and it's absolutely incredible what we do. I am really proud to be doing what we do just like the half a million other Canadians who are working for Canada.
Canada Action: Why did you choose mining? Especially being out west, you could have worked in any kind of natural resource sector so why specifically mining?
Tyler Gigg: Mining because I really like being outside. Also, it runs in my family. It skipped a generation but my grandfather was a CFO for a gold mining outfit after World War II in Bourlamaque (now Val D’Or, Quebec), and my dad was actually raised there, my uncles and aunts were born there. My parents were educators and teaching wasn't for me, but I love working with my hands and having something to show for what you've done, all your hard work. Furthermore, mining is a great lifestyle and it’s an attractive employment opportunity for a lot of Canadians just like myself. I often see a lot of single moms, who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity, succeed in mining and rise to leadership roles. That is why I love doing what I do.
Canada Action: Why do you think natural resource development is important for Canada?
Tyler Gigg: I'm not a big business guy but what I do know is that when you look at the economics - if you look at our output, what we have coming out of our country, the resources sector is such a base point for our economic development. It always has been no matter what our country is going through. Whether you look at pre World War II or after, we've always fallen on natural resources to bring our country back up and that's where unfortunately, we are right now as a country and we need to stand strong, stand united and work together. We've got amazing ethical and environmental standards, amazing men and women who work for our country every day. We're one small fraction of the GDP but we're really hard workers and we're all linked in this together and certainly right now more than ever we need to work together as a country. This is a time when we can shine in both the resource and energy sector.
Canada Action: Definitely. And I think you bring up a good point. We are different from other countries when it comes to how we develop natural resources. As you said, we have really high ethical and environmental standards and I think sometimes there are a lot of misconceptions and people don’t know how much work and time is spent before we actually start any kind of development. Or how we already have a land reclamation plan before we even dig the first hole for that mine or pipeline.
Why do you think all Canadians should care about Canadian natural resource development? Is there any kind of message that you want to tell Canadians reading this?
Tyler Gigg: You know what? My wife had a really good analogy. She's always talked about shopping locally. If you go down the street and support your local farmers market instead of the big chain stores, there's something to be said for that. Natural resources are very similar. We can shop locally as opposed to, you know, bringing in oil and gas and other different resources from overseas considering we have our own ethically produced resources right in our backyard! And that is on the verge of failing right now. I just have a big problem with not being able to do that and I feel like a lot of Canadians in the resource sector, our hands are tied right now and I think that if we had the ability to do more we would shop locally a lot more. Now is our chance. We really need to set ourselves apart from everybody else. The deficit is out of control and now is the time that we need to work together to make it happen. If we don’t do it now, it will take generations before we even put a dent in what's happened recently.
Canada Action: Definitely, 100%. Tyler, Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Tyler Gigg: No! Just that I Iove volunteering for Canada Action! Just the ability to have a small footprint and to be able to help... that's why I do what I do and there are a lot of other people who like me help out. From the East Coast to the West Coast to all over. We’re happy to help and we’re proud to be doing what we’re doing. We’re one very small part of a massive army of people but we’re happy to help in any way shape or form that we can.
Canada Action: And we’re very grateful to have people like you. And yes, it’s a small portion - but if we all come together it becomes a big portion right?
Tyler Gigg: Absolutely
Canada Action: Tyler, thank you so much for taking the time!
Tyler Gigg: Thank you!
Do you know someone who works hard for Canada’s Natural Resource sector and should be featured in our “In the Spotlight” segment? Tag us @canadaaction with the hashtag #inthespotlight with your nominees!
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