D&B Flagging: 100 per cent Ktunaxa owned

The acquisition of D&B Flagging was a good strategic move for Nupqu Developments and ʔaq̓am Community Enterprises

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Female flag person, Theresa Clarke, in high-visibility gear, with a D&B Flagging truck behind her

Theresa Clarke is a well-trained, experienced flagger for D&B Flagging and Traffic Control. — Marie Milner photo

Nupqu Development Corporation and ʔaq̓am Community Enterprises recently joined forces to acquire D&B Flagging and Traffic Control—the biggest company of its kind in the East Kootenay.

“D&B Flagging is based in Cranbrook, but it has a regional presence,” said Kevin Wilson, business development manager for Nupqu Development Corporation. “We looked at the business model and realized that if Nupqu Development Corporation and ʔaq̓am Community Enterprises combined forces, using Nupqu’s administrative resources and Chris McCurry’s strategic perspectives as managing director for D&B, we could do this together. Both organizations are there to generate revenue, employment and training opportunities for the Ktunaxa citizens.”

Exciting opportunity, carefully paced

“ʔaq̓am has been interested in flagging companies for quite some time,” said McCurry. “We saw the opportunities for training and employment for our citizens, and that was a driver for this purchase. We’re quite excited to take it on, and we’re proceeding carefully, figuring out all the pieces and making sure we have a good core staff before we look at growing.”

Wilson agreed that for this year, the pace will be slow and careful. “The goal is to learn all the different systems and build good relationships with the employees,” he said. “At peak season we expect to have 35 to 40 people out on the roads. We did a bunch of recruitment and hired a manager, and we’ll take our time making any further changes.”

“We took the company over last fall when it was quiet,” said McCurry. “It’s a human resources-heavy business—we want to take care of our employees and make sure they’re trained and coached, and that we can grow at the right pace.”

Chris McCurry of ?aq?am Community Enterprises and Kevin Wilson of Nupqu Development Corporation represent the two groups that own D&B Flagging. — Marie Milner photo

Talking strategy

“Ultimately,” said Wilson, “our strategy is to get a good handle on it this year, and then expand the business throughout the region. It’s a stable regional business—you’re always going to need roads and road maintenance. We could base trucks and personnel in Ktunaxa communities throughout the region. We have good equipment, good people and a solid customer base, so—so far, so good.”

Wilson explained that the mandate of both organizations is to take advantage of economic opportunities and return benefits to the citizens through employment and profit. Fundamentally, the acquisition of D&B Flagging is a business opportunity that complements the capacity of the Nation, the communities and what’s happening in the region. Having a regional presence and footprint is part of the strategy.

“The Ktunaxa have always had their own economy—a trading economy with themselves and their neighbours,” said McCurry. “This is a time of transition, and we are working toward building a stronger presence in our local and regional economies. D&B Flagging and Traffic Control diversifies our business portfolio and we’re excited to continue to look for further opportunities locally.”

For more information, go to www.investaqam.com and www.nupqu.com.

Marie Milner

Marie Milner is a writer and photographer for Kootenay Business magazine and several other publications. She appreciates the inspiration that she gets during her interviews and hopes to share that inspiration with you. View all of Marie Milner’s articles

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