From zero to 90 in a decade
APE Group’s Lloyd Antoine is a shining example of a Mikisew success.
Having started out as a millwright, he is now a successful business owner employing a team of nearly 100 people and providing valuable services to major constructors and producers in the region. Lloyd is proud of this achievement, and he’s not the only one — APE Group was awarded “Top Aboriginal employer” from the Alberta Apprenticeship Board, all while maintaining 100% Aboriginal ownership.
Lloyd and his wife and business partner, Melanie, built their success on years of hard work. Both come from Fort Chipewyan and moved to Fort McMurray more than 20 years ago. APE Group was founded in 2008, and Lloyd and Melanie worked hard to expand the company, providing mechanical services to the oil sands industry, and logistical services transporting freight by barge to and from Fort Chipewyan.
They are now respected business figures and prominent community ambassadors in Wood Buffalo.
Lloyd was motivated to become an entrepreneur for several reasons. He wanted to focus on his strengths. He wanted a career change that suited his family goals. And he wanted to be able to provide work, apprenticeships and mentorship in the region and for First Nations. He has since exceeded those goals and now takes pride in seeing his employees flourishing in their trades.
Providing mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities isn’t the only way Lloyd gives back. He is involved in community philanthropy and carries on the family tradition of volunteering to help those around him succeed.
Staying in touch with the community is also important to Lloyd and Melanie, who make frequent trips back to Fort Chipewyan and enjoy spending time outdoors and on the Athabasca River. They have stayed connected with family and with the community in general despite the demands of running their flourishing business and their philanthropic and volunteer work.
Lloyd sees his success as an entrepreneur as a product of three things: thinking big, compromise and, above all, patience. He believes others can succeed with the same formula and tells any prospective, young entrepreneur to stay the course. “Keep at it, keep asking questions, and patience, patience, patience,” he says.
It’s a formula that has certainly worked for Lloyd and Melanie.
Learn more about APE Group at apegroup.ca.