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It was love at first sight. When Greg Oshust first visited Golden, British Columbia, he immediately wanted to find a job there. Canada’s forestry sector gave him that opportunity — and 17 years later, he remains captivated by the outdoor activities, beautiful scenery and small-town atmosphere provided by his job as Chief Engineer with Louisiana Pacific. And when it’s time for a bit of rest and relaxation, he knows the great outdoors are just minutes away.
This is his story as a member of the GreenestWorkforce, Canada’s forest products industry.
I remember when I first came to Golden. I was living in Southern Alberta, working in the power-generation industry, and I brought my family to Kicking Horse Resort for a ski trip. I looked around at the mountains and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to find a job in a place like this?” Lo and behold, an opportunity came up in the forestry business. I jumped on the chance to live in such a beautiful community — and I’ve been here for 17 years.
I’m now Chief Engineer of the power plant at Louisiana Pacific’s mill here. I have 16 people reporting to me, and we’re all working together to make sure our big wood-fired boiler runs right so the presses have the power to manufacture plywood and laminated veneer lumber. We supply all the energy to the mill. When there’s a problem, we have to solve it. If we don’t, no product goes out. So my job has a huge impact on the whole mill. It’s both challenging and very rewarding.
What’s great about working here is that the community has as much to offer as the job. If you like the outdoors, this is the place to be. First, there’s the world-class ski resort. My family and I are avid skiers, getting out to Kicking Horse around 40 times each season. It’s simply some of the best skiing I’ve ever done. During the summer, the Kicking Horse River is one of the best in North America for whitewater rafting. You can hike up to the top of the mountain — and then paraglide down to the bottom. Or you can take an ATV and go down a logging road, exploring the area and soaking in the scenery.
And everything’s right here. Because the plant is in town, I can leave for work five minutes before my shift starts. No sitting in traffic 45 minutes each way. And when the week’s over, I can be out the door and at the campsite with my family in less than an hour.
Would I recommend a career in the forestry sector? Absolutely. In fact, my son and daughter both worked at the mill when they were in high school. They made more in a day than the kids at the fast food place made in a week. My son was offered a job as soon as he graduated. The knowledge and skills he gained as a student opened up so many different career options in this industry. And those options are growing right now, because this industry is looking for workers. There are jobs here, there are opportunities to advance. For career-seekers, this is the place to be.
I’ve lived in several communities across Western Canada, but this is by far the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place. Why? Because it’s a great town and a great lifestyle. It’s the best place I’ve ever worked.