BGE Indoor Air Quality Solutions was started back in 1968 in Edmonton, Alberta. We are fortunate to have so many employees become part of our family and spend some of their most important years with us. Later this year, we will bid farewell to Bert LeBlanc, who is retiring after 40 years with our BGE family.
We caught up with Bert earlier this month to chat about his journey, and what comes next.
BGE: Thanks for sitting down with us, Bert. Forty years is a long time to be with one company! How did you get started at BGE?
BL: Well, it’s a long story, but I will give you the highlights. I grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick and spent the first few of my working years traveling around the world. I was essentially living like a nomad, meeting people in different places who would point me in the direction of some of the most amazing adventures of my life. After spending time in Asia and Europe, I settled in Edmonton and reconnected with some friends from Moncton who were working at a company called The Filter Shop, owned by a fellow named Darrel Sutton. He offered me a job in Sales, and I decided to take him up on the opportunity.
BGE: What was it like working for The Filter Shop at that time?
BL: It was actually quite similar to my traveling days! At that time, The Filter Shop had locations in Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon. So for us sales folks, we were packing filters in our cars and driving around the country trying to open new accounts and build our brand. I think I’ve driven all the way to the Arctic Circle selling filters! Eventually, I ended up in Fort McMurray, and I was given the opportunity to build a presence in that community and see how we could help customers in the Oil & Gas sector.
BGE: How did you get your first customer in Fort McMurray?
BL: One thing about working for The Filter Shop was being exposed to so many experts on indoor air quality. It’s pretty amazing to see how much expertise lives within one company! Darrel was very focused on educating customers and making sure we were giving them the tools to make the best decisions. And I had lived my life forming relationships. So it seemed fitting that our first customer in Fort McMurray would give us a chance to come in and do some research and testing on their indoor air quality. Through some of the testing and research, we were able to help this company understand the true effectiveness of their indoor air quality system and to highlight some vulnerable parts of their system. That gave us an invitation to bid on a major piece of work that year, and to get our first customer in this region and industry.
BGE: And is it true that this project also led to developing some of BGE’s signature filters?
BL: That’s right! From that on-site research and testing, we were able to work alongside our customers and figure out the nuances of the Oil & Gas business and incorporate some of their needs into our products. That’s how we designed our Red Industrial and 8000Excell filters, some of our most popular and longstanding products to date.
BGE: Wow! What a neat journey this has been for you. What will you miss the most?
BL: Definitely the people I’ve met along the way. I have made many friendships at BGE, from the team I work with on a daily basis, to the customers I have helped along the way. I have really seen the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo region grow and transform from a transient, industrial town to a vibrant, diverse, family-focused community. But I know they are all in good hands with our local team, including Trevor Smith and Brody Ellis, who are both highly experienced professionals, long-time residents of Fort McMurray, and huge advocates for the community. I have no doubt that they will both thrive in their roles with BGE and will get a chance to meet some of the incredible people I have been fortunate to have worked with.
Well, Bert, we wish you well in the next adventure of your life and we look forward to your postcards from wherever your family and your bike take you!
Best of luck!