Joel Melanson is the President and founder of LARR Management Corporation. Joel specializes in Indigenous business start-ups, business development and contract negotiations. He has owned, managed and operated multiple companies that focused on hand and mechanical logging operations, sawmills, forest fire suppression, lumber brokering and general contracting.
As a senior level negotiator, Joel has negotiated Impact Benefit Agreements and Mutual Benefit Agreements on behalf of Chief and Council for First Nations throughout Western Canada. Joel has negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in contract awards directed toward First Nations Business.
With 25 years of experience working in and understanding of the industry sectors in forestry, oil & gas, mining, and civil construction, Joel brings this wealth of knowledge and experience to First Nations and First Nation business. His strengths are advising in the bid process, best practice in contract negotiations, as well as consultation protocol and processes, which ensure successful partnerships with industry, government and First Nations companies. Speeding profitability, while conducting quality, safe work is Joel’s guiding mantra.
Jim has worked as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. He joined Syncrude in 1980, and in 1982 – 1995 was the manager of Aboriginal Programs. He was appointed C.E.O. for Fort McKay Group of Companies in August 1997 and served in that capacity until 2007.
In between, Jim served as a Catholic School Trustee for 9 years and for 12 years as a city councillor.
Rick Halpern has been in the construction industry for 30 years. His career started in the late 1980’s as a laborer who worked his way up through the ranks becoming an operator then moving into supervisory roles. He initially spent 5-years completing an education in architecture which helped him relate to drawings and the mathematical concept of civil construction. His project experience spans civil earth works, housing developments, pit developments, water intake plants, pipelines, major road building and paving as well as multiple logging projects. Some pivotal opportunities include mentoring the evolution of aboriginal companies from hourly work to prime contractor roles. The past seven years have been focused on senior management, particularly in project management, execution and service delivery roles. His specialty is onboarding and the development of new clients, ensuring tenders are complete as well as reporting templates and all deliverables are met from inception to completion. Project responsibility has ranged from the hundred thousands to 300 million dollars.
With a history of promoting social and economic development within the southern portion of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Walter worked closely with industry and government to develop Impact Benefit Agreements, which were successfully brought to fruition with companies such as Syncrude, Suncor, Cenovus, Meg Energy, CNRL, Conoco-Phillips, Statoil and ALPAC.
While serving as Chief of Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, Walter was also influential in the start up success of several local band initiatives many of which are still thriving today. Improving the infrastructure of his home community included upgrading the water and sewer for the health centre, daycares, schools and the community hall. Walter was also instrumental in the formation of what is now known as the Alberta Treaty 8 organization as well as the Athabasca Tribal Council.
Walter has extensive experience in the aggregate industry and owns a gravel and sand company focused on the oilfield and forestry industries in Northeast Alberta.
Cliff has thirty-two years in senior management with federal and provincial governments. As Assistant Deputy Minister in Saskatchewan, Cliff held portfolios in Municipal Affairs, Resource Development (Forestry, Fishing, Minerals), Economic Development and Uranium Mining. He spent several years as Indian Affairs District Manager in Saskatchewan. Twenty-two years in the Alberta Government, he moved up to Deputy Minister Level and specialized in Aboriginal affairs, economic development strategies, constitutional issues and negotiation of Treaty Land Entitlements. Cliff played a key support role in developing consultation policies both at Treaty 8 and the First Nations level. Cliff has facilitated Community Workshops on government roles on the licensing process (i.e. mineral lease maps and Public Land Sales and Tenure). He now consults and facilitates workshops on strategic planning and economic opportunities leading to business development for First Nations and Metis; Consultation Policies and Practices; Aboriginal historical and cultural awareness for both Aboriginal communities and industry developers to strengthen relationships.
Doug Chilton comes to LARR Management with 24 years experience in the insurance industry. He owned and operated his own insurance adjusting business with 16 branches in both Alberta and British Columbia. Doug specialized in oil and gas insurance claims.
In 2003, Doug entered the automotive industry where he achieved the designation of Master of Sales. He rose to the position of Sales Manager for both BMW and Infinity Brands. Doug has attended business and leadership courses throughout Canada and the United States. Doug has gained extensive expertise and knowledge regarding employee training practices, customer relations, and management knowledge.
Doug has been involved in sports for many years and has served as President of the Vernon Golf and Country Club and on the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Golf and Country Club.
Jori came on with LARR in October 2015 as our Business Development Assistant. Her work experience in the Aboriginal community in Edmonton includes Executive Director in the Indigenous not-for-profit sector. She is founder of All My Relations Wellness Society, a non-profit agency that provides aftercare support services for people in recovery. In her spare time, she enjoys learning about the housing market. She has a Real Property Administrator (RPA) designation and has successfully bought and sold properties in metro Edmonton. Currently she owns a rental property in British Columbia with her husband Tom. She has two grown children and one handsome grandson.