Employee Spotlight: Brent Laroque
Brent Laroque identifies as Métis. Originally from Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, he explains that his heritage is complicated: Colonialism has impacted his culture and it is only recently that he has been able to fully celebrate his Métis identity.
“Growing up in a Métis community provided me the background to understand a diversity of views and cultures,” he said. “I have a deep appreciation of the role Indigenous people have played in the development of our province and our country.”
With plans to go into a biofuel research career, Brent pursued higher education in engineering and microbiology. In 2010, he graduated with two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Saskatchewan—a Bachelor of Engineering in Agricultural and Bioresources, and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology—and took his first job as a research and development technician with an international biotech firm.
Though Brent enjoyed his R & D role he quickly realized that to progress his career with this particular organization he would have to leave his home province.
In search of a more local opportunity, just over a year after graduating, Brent began his waste career when he joined Saskatoon-based liquid waste management company Envirotec as a dispatcher. A former summer student of the company, Brent had participated on a government program to collect hazardous waste in small towns across Saskatchewan, and already had a good grounding in the business.
In the early days, Brent eagerly took on extra work to build his industry knowledge and it wasn’t long before his commitment was rewarded. Within a year of joining Envirotec, Brent moved into the operations side of the business, preparing job bids and tenders and coordinating service requests. With an impressive grasp of the business operations and a natural aptitude for the tender process, Brent quickly became an indispensable member of his team.
Such was his impact that a few years into his tenure, Brent was approached to take on a more involved assignment. With his background in Engineering and Environmental Science, his superiors felt he was the perfect fit for an assistant manager role in the Saskatoon office’s Transfer, Disposal and Storage Facility (TSDF). Managing a large team, Brent was responsible for overseeing the safe processing and treatment of hazardous liquid waste products such as chemicals and solvents collected from local customers.
When GFL acquired Envirotec in 2016, Brent continued to impress, making his mark in the TSDF. Under his management, the Saskatoon facility thrived.
“During my time as assistant manager, the operations grew four times bigger,” he recalls. “Through my time at GFL I am most proud of the work I did in operations. I am proud to be part of that growth and that we accomplished it safely.
“I learned a lot during this time, but I was also ready for a new challenge.”
So when GFL’s liquid waste operations expanded in 2020, backed by almost a decade of career experience in the industry, Brent once again found himself in demand.
With new work sites and an increasing customer base, the expansion called for a leader well-versed in the liquid waste line of business including stringent health and safety protocols.
Brent’s hard work, keen attitude and industry knowledge made him a stand-out for the promotion and later that year, he accepted the role of Environmental Health and Safety Manager. Within the purview of his new position, successfully managing and developing safety regulations for GFL’s Liquid West Canada division, along with navigating the safe delivery of essential services during the unprecedented Covid pandemic.
“It has been quite the year,” he said.
Brent’s career trajectory at GFL is a fitting example of the opportunities available at the company for those who work hard and apply themselves.
“GFL expects a lot, but in return they offer a lot of opportunity. Expectations are high and I had to work my way up,” Brent said. “But every manager I’ve had at GFL has been a mentor to me. They all offered me opportunities and encouragement, they got to know me and asked me what I was interested in.”
Brent is eager to support new Indigenous employees at GFL and highly encourages Indigenous and Métis job seekers to apply with the company.