96 entries categorized "About Us"

Every day is Family Day for these Petro-Canada associates

When I was growing up, my parents owned a catering business. And like every other kid whose parents owned a business, I was pressed into service. I spent a lot of afternoons decorating vegetable trays and mini-cheesecakes and a lot of evenings replenishing empty food platters and washing up in a various clients’ kitchens. At the time, I resented it a little; I would have much rather been hanging out with friends. But as an adult, I am so grateful for the experience! I learned so many lessons about customer service, entrepreneurship and event planning that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.

Consequently, I have a special place in my heart for family-run businesses. This Family Day, I thought it would be fun to profile a few of the family-run Petro-Canada locations.

The Johnson Family
The Johnson Family

First up, meet Steve and Leaha Johnson. Steve and Leaha operate a Petro-Canada branded fuel station that also includes an A&W restaurant in the small village of Valemount, BC - a village with the population of just over 1,000 people.

Located in the traditional territory of the Simpcw First Nation, part of the Secwepemc, or Shuswap, Valemount is located between Edmonton and Vancouver in the North Thompson Valley and is approximately 320 kms north of Kamloops. Located on Highway 5, Valemount is a wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. Mount Robinson, the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, sits in Valemount's backyard.

Steve and Leaha have been Petro-Canada Associates for the last 4 years as operators of the Valemount Petro Canada. Previous to that, Steve worked at the Kamloops Travel Centre as an A&W manager for 4 years. They are both active members supporting the community of Valemount, and have been gold-level supporters of VARDA (Valemount & Area Recreation Development Association) for the last 4 years.

Steve and Leaha Johnson
Leaha and Steve Johnson

PT: Thanks for sharing a bit about your family business! What's your favourite thing about Valemount?

SJ: I love how close the community is: you can walk anywhere and bump into someone you know.
LJ: I love how close I have become with so many people that we see every day at work, or that we work with through our kids’ school PAC and other groups we are a part of.

PT: What's the most popular item in your convenience store?

SJ: We work with a group here in the village that do catering and smoked meats. They provide all of our fresh in-house sandwiches - they are very popular!

PT: Do you have a favourite customer? 

LJ: Everyone has a favourite customer, but we love them all. I think the favourites (and they are many) are the ones who come in to share how their families are doing and talk with us about ours.

PT: What does your family like to do for fun?

LJ: Our kids love Pokemon, so Steve collects cards and teaches them all things Pokemon. We enjoy movies, walks with the dogs, trips to the lake to collect tadpoles, roasting marshmallows. Really we just like being together. 

PT: Describe your family member co-worker in one word.

SJ: Leaha is inspiring
LJ: Steve is incredibly kind.

Thank you, Leaha and Steve!

Next up, we checked in with Barb and Mike Futros.

Barb and Mike own and operate MTT Service, a Petro-Canada branded fuel station that also includes a sit-down restaurant, lounge and motel. Their business is a gathering place for the people in the small community of St. Laurent, MB.

Located in the traditional territory of the Ojibwa Saulteaux First Nation and the Metis People, St. Laurent is approximately 75 kms north of Winnipeg. The station is on Manitoba’s only major highway headed to Northern Manitoba. MTT Service is a natural stopping point for people traveling between the northern and southern regions of the province for commercial or recreational purposes.

Barb and Mike have proudly been Petro-Canada Associates for almost 20 years. Their kids, Emma and Donald, are also a key part of the business.

I caught up with Barb to ask her some questions about the business:

PT: Your business is a real family affair! Who all is involved?

BF: Mike, my husband, and I make sure the day-to-day operation of the station is handled. Mike maintains all the equipment, and I am the "accountant". Emma, our daughter, works multiple positions. She is a great GSA (guest service attendant), always polite and friendly, and she also waitresses in our restaurant. She loves interacting with the guests. Donald is our "maintenance" guy; he stocks and rotates all the coolers, cleans the yard and runs all the equipment for snow clearing.

PT: How did your family get involved with Petro-Canada?

BF: Many years ago a Petro-Canada territory manager named John Fenn would stop in and always say that this would be the perfect place for a Petro-Canada. After many years under another brand, we thought it was time for a change, and we made the decision to join the Petro-Canada family. The decision was one of the best we have ever made.

PT: What's the best thing about running the Petro-Canada in your community?

BF: St. Laurent is a small community and Petro-Canada fits in perfectly. Not only are we able to help our community directly, our customers are able to see how Petro-Canada supports other programs nationally.

PT: What are the pros and cons about working with your family?

BF: Oh boy, that's a loaded question! Every working relationship has its ups and downs, but I genuinely appreciate working not only with my spouse, but also my kids. For Mike and I, teaching the next generation what has taken us years to learn is priceless.

As an extra treat, Barb and her family recorded a short video for our readers with some of the answers to our questions. Thanks, Barb! You can really see why your location is such a beloved part of the community!

Finally, we check in with Leesa Bakker. Leesa is located in Edmonton, Alberta. She operates 11 Petro-Canada sites in Edmonton and the surrounding area.

PT: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Leesa. Tell me about your family business.

I am surrounded by close family members who are focused on our success. They are supportive in the daily challenges of operating 11 locations and 70 team members. I can count on my family to adapt and excel at the ever-changing retail landscape. Our leadership team includes my big brother, Darren Morgan and his wife, Sharon. Plus my niece, J’Nayia is working part-time while attending the University of Alberta.

Darren is someone I can count on to be there when needed. He has worked with the team since 2008 in many different roles: starting out as a GSA, moving up to managing a location, and not long after, managing multiple teams. Staff and managers look up to him for his leadership and experience.

Sharon is our financial operations manager. Her amount of experience and passion for the business cannot be measured. We started our Petro-Canada career at the same time, and I was lucky enough to have her join my team in 2010. Her support and dedication to our business and team is immense; she is always training and encouraging managers to excel. She is very focused on processes and efficiencies that make the team stronger.

The Bakker & Morgan Families
Sharon, Leesa and Darren (left) | Jenna Bakker (top right) | J’nayia Morgan (bottom right)

As the family quickly grows up, we will soon have the opportunity to work with five more young adults, ranging in age from junior high to university, in the near future. They are all patiently waiting for their opportunity to be part of the team. It is exciting to share our passion for the business with the next generation!

Working with close family is not without challenges, but operating a team 24 hours a day, 365 days a year does not mean we allow ourselves to be consumed by work. We avoid “shop talk” when we get together as a family, as we value and respect the role that we each play in the success of the business. It is a journey we are very proud of.

The Bakker & Morgan Families
The Bakker and Morgan Families

PT: What does your family do for fun - to help blow off some steam?

LB: Our family loves sports: hockey night at the arena and anything outdoors. We also love road trips!

Sharon and Leesa
Sharon and Leesa

PT: What’s one of your favourite moments working with your family?

LB: The Amazing Race Canada came to one of our stores and filmed a challenge: they had to spend Petro-Points for snacks in order to get the next clue. Great memory.

~|~

A big “thank you” to Barb, Mike, Leaha, Steve and Leesa who shared their stories with me! And Happy Family Day to all of you and to our readers!

~ Kate T.


We’re Rooting for our FACE™ Athletes in Beijing!

One of my highlights of 2021 was watching the Canada vs Sweden Women’s Soccer Gold Medal Final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games. I may have been alone on my couch, but I felt connected to everyone across the country as we held our breath during that tense penalty kick-off, and cried out together with relief and elation at that final winning goal. What a rush! I felt so proud to be Canadian, and so proud of Team Canada. (I’m not gonna lie, there were some tears.) These days especially, the efforts of our athletes can bring us all together.

And now, only a few short months later, we get the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, starting February 4. I mean WINTER, right? That’s our SPECIALTY. Bring it on.

This year, 215 Canadian athletes and their coaches are making the journey to Beijing to compete with the world’s best in 14 different sports. For them, it’s the culmination of years of determination, hard work and sacrifice. A few of these athlete/coach pairs share their experience below:

If you follow us on Facebook and Instagram (and if you don’t - now is the time!) then you already know that we love cheering on Canadian athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Petro-Canada is a long-time sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). Each year, through our Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACE™) program, 55 athletes and their coaches are selected to receive direct funding. These special grants come at a crucial time for athletes, when they’ve started training for the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but are not yet eligible for government funding. Since 1988, Petro-Canada has given over $12 million in financial support to 3,000+ Canadian athletes and coaches.

 This is a big year for the program, with 30 FACE™ athletes in 12 different sport disciplines competing in Beijing. We’re proud to see so many FACE™ alumni on the team!

If ordinary folks like me get so worked up during the Olympic Games (sitting on our couches, weeping with joy), I can’t imagine how the families of Canadian athletes must feel. Since 2010, Petro-Canada’s Canadian Athlete Family Program has supported the families of Team Canada by providing them with two complimentary tickets to their athlete’s event. This year, since they won’t be able to attend, we’re sending each family a limited edition cheer box. This specially designed box is filled with items to help show support, make a little noise from afar, and send positive vibes all the way to Beijing.

Petro-Canada Family Program Cheer Box

If you were following us for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games, then you saw some of the Team Canada families sharing stories and pictures of these cheer boxes - they were a huge hit! This time there are a few extra boxes to give away to lucky fans so stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram for details. Also on our Facebook page, we’ll be giving away limited edition Petro-Canada Olympic or Paralympic pins each time a Team Canada athlete wins a medal.

Beijing Olympic Stickers

If you want to add a little Olympic spirit to your own social stories, you can download our Petro-Canada Giphy stickers! There’s a wavy foam finger, a “Go Canada” animation, and an awesome selection of “visual cheers”. They’re easy-to-use, fun, and will show our athletes that you’ve got their backs. You can find them here or search for “petrocanada” in the GIF toolbar of your favourite social app.

Bobsleigh Bolt Game

And for those in-between moments as you’re waiting for the next Canadian to compete, Petro-Canada and Team Canada have a special treat in store: a fast-paced mobile game called Bobsleigh Bolt! Download the Team Canada app to play (available on iOS or Android) and start bragging to your friends about your high score – plus, you’ll be able to win some great prizes.

Enjoy the Winter Games, everyone and good luck to our 30 FACE™ athletes and to all of Team Canada!

Like my fellow Canadians, I’ll be cheering from my couch: Go, Canada, Go! 

~Paul D.


Welcome to 2022 – An Interview with Pat Ritchie, VP of Sales & Marketing

Instead of setting some new year’s resolutions for 2022 (which I have done in the past with varying degrees of success), I’m trying a new approach. I’ve set an “intention word” for the year. For 2022, my word is “Action” – mainly because I have a bit of a tendency to procrastinate, but also, with all the pandemic restrictions from the last 2 years, I’ve gotten a little, shall we say, sluggish, so I want to get my “action” back on.

But resolutions or intention words aren’t just for individuals, they can be for organizations as well. I thought that the start of a new year would be a good time to connect with Pat Ritchie, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at Suncor (proud parent of Petro-Canada). Pat sets the direction for everyone who works on the Petro-Canada brand, and with 2022 being a year we’re all looking to start fresh; I was keen to hear his thoughts and plans.

Pat Ritchie, Suncor

PumpTalk: Pat, thank you for taking the time to chat about your vision for 2022. First, can you tell me a bit more about your role and history at Suncor?

PR: While I’m new to the role of VP, Sales & Marketing (moved into this role in June of 2021), I’ve been at Suncor since 1996 and part of the team supporting Petro-Canada throughout this time. In this role, I have the great fortune of leading the team that makes sure Canadians can get to what matters most to them.

PT: When you think about 2022, what comes to mind for Petro-Canada?

PR: Like many Canadians, I am hopeful when I think about 2022. Hopeful because I know Petro-Canada has a role to play in Canadian communities. In particular, I think about our associates and their staff - the folks who work at your local Petro-Canada stations as well as those that ensure business and farmers have fuel – who continue to put in all their effort to ensure the safety and security of our guests. This isn’t just in the ongoing daily cleaning and sanitizing efforts, but efforts that go above and beyond in support of local needs such as charities or stepping up to support relief efforts. It has been a tough few years but I am so proud of our team of associates. They truly are amazing people.

A few examples come to mind:

  • Retailer Sam Singh, who operates 10 of our Petro-Canada locations in Toronto, matched the $10,000 donation that we gave to each store manager to invest in their community and donated $20,000 to support the North York Harvest Foodbank.
  • The team at Coastal Mountain Fuels who supported recent relief efforts during the massive flooding in British Columbia. They moved a fuel tank from Langley to Chilliwack in one day so that volunteers who were helping people get out of inaccessible areas by boat had the fuel they needed to carry on.
  • The folks at Frew Energy in Ontario who sent emergency supplies of hay to farmers experiencing drought.

Bottom line, our site operators strive every day to Live By The Leaf and support not only customers but also the communities in which they live and work.

Another reason I’m hopeful for 2022 is the great work being done by the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation. They just celebrated their first anniversary and have already made a positive impact on Canadian family caregivers from coast to coast. We could not have predicted that the pandemic would have impacted us the way it has, but we can expect that the demands on family caregivers will only increase; we are proud to be able to continue to help.

PT: 2021 was a difficult year across Canada for Indigenous Peoples. The ongoing recovery of children at former Residential School sites across the country has shone a spotlight on the importance of Truth and Reconciliation efforts. How do you see Petro-Canada continuing to address this?

PR: We know that we have so much to learn about how we can best actively participate in Truth and Reconciliation. I know personally, I continue to learn every day. When we commissioned Indigenous artists to create murals at six of our locations – Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver – to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I was truly humbled by ferocious honesty of the artists who have shared their stories and vision for Truth and Reconciliation on murals at our sites. These pieces of art help all of us to appreciate Indigenous experiences in an unbiased and undiluted way. I’m excited for more of them to roll out in 2022 as we continue this important conversation.

PT: The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games start next week. The decision for Canadians to compete at the Games has been controversial. How does this affect Petro-Canada’s position as a National Partner with the Canadian Olympic Committee?

PR: As a National Sponsor for the Olympics our efforts have always been focused on supporting those who wear the leaf and compete for Canada. If Canadians are competing at the Games, we will be there to support those athletes, coaches and their family. We’re proud to have 30 athletes who received our FACE grant over the years headed to Beijing to compete. And next month we’ll announce our Fuelling Athletes Coaching Excellence (FACE) Class of 2022 – 55 pairs of athletes and coaches who are up and coming stars in their sports – and continue to support their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

I personally really love watching the Olympic and Paralympic Games and can’t wait to watch our athletes compete and bring home the Gold!

PT: Aside from your plans for the Petro-Canada brand, any new year’s resolutions or goals on the personal side?

PR: With the restrictions over the past 2-years I have spent a great deal of time sitting at a desk in my house. I’ve set a goal to get 10,000 steps per day. This is a goal that has made my dogs very happy.

PT: Pat, thank you for chatting with me about 2022. Any final thoughts?

PR: We can’t be certain what 2022 has in store for us. But we know this: helping to move Canadians towards what matters most to them is what we do. We know that energy needs continue to change, and we are committed to adapting to the changing needs of Canadians. And we know that no matter what lies ahead, we will be there together.

~ Kate T.


Behind the Scenes – Ensuring Fuel Quality at our Terminals and Stations

I have a confession. I still buy DVDs. Sure, I subscribe to a few (ok, way too many!) streaming services – they are very convenient, especially when travelling. But for a few choice films, I still purchase the DVD. Why? So I can listen to the director and crew commentary. I love hearing all the behind the scenes stories: how certain shots were set up, weird things they used for props, how costumes were designed (side note: Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy has some of the BEST commentaries – four different tracks!).

But my interest in behind-the-scenes details isn’t limited to films. I love talking to people who work out of the public eye in areas I know nothing about. So, I thought it would be interesting to talk to someone whose work is incredibly valuable to an end product I use most days – gasoline – but in an area I’m unfamiliar with.

Enter Marie-Claude Raymond, Senior Advisor, Fuel Quality at Suncor. The Fuel Quality team at Suncor (proud parent of Petro-Canada), as you would expect, ensures the quality of the end product – gasoline and other fuels – for customers. I sat down with Marie-Claude to ask her what that really means and what her day-to-day job entails.

PumpTalk: Marie-Claude, thank you for talking with me today! Tell me about the Fuel Quality group. What does your team do?

Marie-Claude Raymond: The Fuel Quality group ensures the quality of gasoline and other fuels for our customers. We are involved with everything that relates to fuel quality, including making sure new fuel-related products meet the expected quality and follow provincial and federal regulations. New products include things like renewable fuels (biodiesel and hydrotreated renewable diesel), as well as new fuel additives. We also monitor provincial and federal regulations in case anything changes that would impact our current products.

Petro-Pass Station

The team also fields requests from potential business customers, like municipal authorities, who want to start using renewable fuels for their fleets. And we support sales and marketing teams at Petro-Canada if they respond to a tender from these potential customers or need to review contracts.

And, we audit processes at the terminal to ensure the quality of the fuel is always maintained. If there is a question about fuel quality, we are the ones who conduct the investigations.

PT: Wow, that’s a lot of different skills! Did you have any special training?

MR: My background is in chemistry; I worked as a chemist in Suncor’s Montreal refinery lab for several years. All the work in the lab prepared me well for the move to the fuel quality team. It’s a very collaborative environment. It is important to be flexible because priorities can change quickly. We need to be able to work with different groups of people: supply chain, maintenance, customer service, sales, etc. Teamwork, good communication, and customer focus are very important aptitudes.

PT: You mentioned that one of the areas you’re responsible for is investigating fuel quality issues. How does an investigation come about? And what activities are part of the investigation?

MR: We don’t have a lot of quality investigations because our process for delivering fuel is so comprehensive. But, if there is one, typically customer service will have alerted us to a concern from a customer at a particular retail site. To conduct the investigation, we follow a very specific process to validate the quality of the fuel from the terminal where it originated to the retail location where the customer received the fuel. We make sure that the procedures in place to maintain the quality have been followed.

Petro-Canada Station

PT: If you do find any problems with the quality of fuel, where are they likely to be?

MR: Having water created through condensation in the tanks is the most likely problem area. It is best practice to keep tanks full, especially when seasons are changing. Plus, at our retail sites, we have filters and monitoring alarms on the tanks to detect water. Following the regulatory and safety processes as we move fuel from terminal to station is so important. It’s why, as a customer, you want to make sure that you purchase your gasoline from places where these processes are in place.

~|~

Marie-Claude – thank you so much for this peek behind-the-scenes at Petro-Canada’s Fuel Quality team! Are there any other areas you’d be interested in learning more about at Petro-Canada? Let us know in the comments!

~Kate T.


Being Thankful for Members of Our Community

In Canada, early October can be a time of reflection and gratitude. One of my favourite rituals at this time of year is sitting around a big table of family and friends, and reminiscing - and in particular, noting what we are each thankful for.

Giving thanks...

Looking back over 2021, something that stands out for me are the stories that members of the Petro-Canada and Suncor community shared with us and allowed us to share with PumpTalk readers. I am grateful for the generosity of these folks and proud to be a member of this community. Here are some of my favourites:

Many, many thanks to this inspiring group of people for sharing their stories and for making the world a better place.

~Kate T.