2019 Resource Leadership Award
Melanie Antoine, Chief Executive Officer, A.P.E Maintenance Ltd.
Melanie Antoine’s roots run deep in the Wood Buffalo region as she grew up in Alberta’s oldest community of Fort Chipewyan. Melanie is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, learning both a traditional lifestyle of hunting, fishing, gathering and an entrepreneurial lifestyle that embraced new learning and opportunities.
After graduating from high school she gained employment with Syncrude Canada. Her years as an operations technician with Syncrude gave her a great perspective on the business of oil sands development, and she began to see where the needs and opportunities lay for high-quality local services and leadership.
As a graduate of Keyano’s College’s Aboriginal Entrepreneurship program, Melanie was equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to manage Antoine’s Pump and Equipment Maintenance Ltd (A.P.E. Maintenance Ltd) of which she is the co-owner and Chief Executive Officer. Her vision to create opportunities for youth through apprenticeships, opportunities for First Nation and Metis people through employment, and to increase the participation of women in non-traditional work has brought attention on the national scale, recently earning her a coveted grant from the Government of Canada Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund.
Melanie and her company’s name are synonymous with generosity in the region. Melanie is a volunteer with many non-profit organizations. She has served as Chair of the Northern Lights Health Foundation board of directors for the past four years. Her community involvement and support also include: sports teams, individual athletes, children’s school programs such as the Aboriginal Student Lunch Initiative, the Paul Martin Aboriginal Entrepreneurship program, the Fort McMurray Chess Club, Fort Chipewyan’s Santa’s Anonymous, Fort McMurray Food Bank, Center of Hope, NAABA, Fort Chipewyan Day Care, Fort Chipewyan Festival of Trees, Daddy Daughter Ball and Fort McMurray Food Festival Golf Classic in support of Waypoints.
To her great honour, she has received the “Adult Student,” “Entrepreneur” and “Volunteer” awards through the Regional Aboriginal Recognition Awards, as well as the 2016-2017 Women of Inspiration Award presented by Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta, the 2019 RBC Women Entrepreneurs Momentum Award (nominee), and in 2018 she was also named one of the region’s Top 50 under 50 by Your McMurray Magazine.
Her business accolades include: Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board – Top Employer of Aboriginal Apprenticeships (2014 & 2015), Finalist for the 2014 Eagle Feather Business Award of Distinction Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, featured in Syncrude Canada’s 2015 Pathways magazine for their commitment to Indigenous employment.
In 2008, Melanie and her husband Lloyd opened Antoine’s Pump and Equipment Maintenance (A.P.E. Maintenance Ltd), Today, A.P.E. Maintenance has evolved into one of the region’s leading industrial maintenance service companies offering oilfield maintenance, construction, and labour in the region as well as freight transport services to the residents of the northern communities. The expansion of the company in its service lines of millwrighting, welding, workforce site services, and logistics has been a remarkable success in developing local business capability, improving support to the region, and doing so in a way that encourages the development and betterment of community members across the region. Melanie continues to identify and pursue growth and employment opportunities that build better communities.