Ironclad Logistics, A First Nations-owned business, is using their reputation as dependable fuel-delivery company focused on safety, to grow economic opportunities with Indigenous communities by partnering with them to build fuel/energy businesses in their communities.
“In honour of my late grandmother, I asked myself how can I add value to these communities, and the answer was to help them build an economy in a sector that will see growth,” said Dale Tsuruda, co-founder of Ironclad Logistics. “Everyone uses fuel, and we have been building successful partnerships in Indigenous communities throughout the province.”
Ironclad Logistics was started in 2002, when Tsuruda and his business partner, Jeff Salmon, purchased a small fuel-delivery company called Denwill. The company employed 10 people, and that number has grown steadily over the years, and included the purchase of a second fuel-delivery company called Bridgeway. Now Ironclad employs 110 people, delivers over 1.6 billion litres of fuel per year, and manages over 280 locations.
They started hauling fuel for Petro Canada, and grew their client list to include Chevron, Shell, Husky, CP Rail, CN Rail, and more. Also, Ironclad is one of the few Canadian companies qualified to haul liquefied natural gas for Fortis.
“We built the company slowly with a focus on safety, and have won over 15 safety awards in the past 10 years,” saidSalmon. “When entering the fuel industry 14 years ago, we had then and continue to have, a heightened respect and awareness around the dangers of handling fuel that drives our safety culture and journey to zero incidents with every decision.”
The safety record has helped them build up a trust with industry, customers, and employees. The launch of Ironclad’s NationFUEL initiative with Indigenous communities is so far well received with high interest.
“It can start with a simple card lock, or commercial fueling station, that earns the community some revenue and create jobs selling fuel,” said Tsuruda. “Depending on its location, that can grow into a full gas station, and then a truck stop and restaurant, or maybe even a hotel after some time. It has the potential to be a catalyst for creating capacity and other economic development projects.”
“We want to set up future generations to be successful in business,” said Tsuruda. “And we’re passing along our values that emphasize safety and environmental sustainability.”