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JP Gladu heads for the oilpatch

Northwestern Ontario-raised First Nations business champion leaving CCAB post for natural resources sector
JP Gladu, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business president. (Supplied)

JP Gladu is leaving his post as president-CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) after seven years to go work in Fort McMurray.

In a Dec. 5 announcement, Gladu was named CEO of Bouchier, one of the largest Indigenous-owned contracting firms in the Athabasca Oil Sands region.

The appointment becomes effective April 2020. Bouchier is a road-construction civil engineering company.

He's succeeding co-founder and current CEO Nicole Bourque-Bouchier, who will step into the role of president.

Raised in Thunder Bay and Lake Nipigon, Gladu is a member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek, located on the eastern shores of Lake Nipigon in northwestern Ontario.

Trained as a forester, Gladu holds an executive MBA from Queens University and has spent two decades working in the natural resources sector. He serves on the board of directors of Ontario Power Generation and Noront Resources, as well as on the Canadian Electricity Association Public Advisory Panel.

“JP is a thoughtful, talented leader and gifted collaborator," said Bourque-Bouchier in a statement.

“He has extensive experience in the natural resource sector, but his ability to bring together non-Indigenous and Indigenous businesses toward sustainable partnerships and shared economic prosperity has made him the ideal successor to take us into the future.”

Co-founder David Boucher called the addition of Gladu a "monumental step forward for our company."

“We are optimistic about the growth potential in this region and have established ambitious goals for the next decade. This change in leadership will give us the opportunity to focus on our strategic vision.”

Bouchier, a member of CCAB , has more than 1,000 employees. The company expects to grow its workforce by 48 per cent within the next five years.

Randy Moore, CCAB co-chair, heaped praise on Gladu for his leadership in directing the business advocacy group's "phenomenal" growth.

Over Gladu's seven-year stint, CCAB membership jumped 424 per cent as he helped extend the small Toronto-based not-for-profit company's reach, mandate and programming in areas of finance, certification, and Aboriginal relations and procurement on the supply chain side.

“JP understands the enormous potential of Aboriginal business in Canada and the world," added CCAB co-chair Alicia Dubois. "His application of this knowledge has been a tremendous benefit to Aboriginal business."

The CCAB board has already commenced the search for Gladu's successor.

“The past seven plus years have been an incredible journey, not only for me, but for this amazing organization as we’ve grown to new heights,” said Gladu.

“It has truly been an honour to be the president and CEO of an organization that has advanced ideas, programs, events and research around economic reconciliation. The commitment from the board of directors has been unwavering and I am certain this will continue. The friends and colleagues I have met across this country while at CCAB have helped shape my views and passion in growing the Indigenous economy.

"I will carry this passion and knowledge forward in my new role as CEO of Bouchier.”