Métis entrepreneur sets a ‘high bar’ for himself and others
Entrepreneur Jordan Jolicoeur (Electrician ’11) draws his energy from a variety of sources. As CEO and president of Carvel Electric, he gets charged up by working to grow his business. But community building is also a powerful motivator. As a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Jordan is committed to bringing jobs to Indigenous people.
“It’s my passion to set the bar higher for myself and everyone around me,” he says.
With respect to his Stony Plain-based company, that passion began to emerge in 1997, when Carvel was started by his dad, Sylvio. Jordan and his brother Joel (Electrician ’07) would join him on evenings and weekends, getting an introduction to the trade by wiring houses and commercial buildings. When Sylvio wanted to turn the lights out permanently on the operation in 2013, “my brother and I took it over and decided to see what we could build,” says Jordan.
After getting his journeyman ticket, he went on to take a prep course at NAIT for his masters certificate, “which helped broaden my view of the electrical industry.” Today, Carvel has gone from smaller wiring jobs to servicing refineries, railroads and other maintenance and construction work across Canada.
For his efforts, Jordan was recognized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business in 2018 with the National Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneur Award. All the while, members of his community have shared in the benefits of a business plan that has inclusion built into it.
Building on strengths
Since taking over the company at 25 years old, Jordan has ensured he does what he can to give back. As head of a company owned by his own Métis family, “I believe it's important to hire [First Nations] people and create opportunity.”
“I'd like to see the stereotypes around Indigenous people in our country be changed and the conversation around Indigenous people change,” Jordan adds.
In Alberta in 2018, 59.7% of the Indigenous population had a job, in comparison to 67.4% of the non-Indigenous population. Among the biggest barriers to employment were lack of experience, education and training. “I'd like people to see Indigenous people as the successful people and powerful people they are.”
“I'd like people to see Indigenous people as the successful people and powerful people they are.”
Each year, Carvel offers an Indigenous high school student a placement with the company, working evenings, weekends and in the summer – like the Jolicoeur brothers did.
“We believe it's more of a mentorship program than a technical skills program,” says Jordan. “We get to show these young students what it's like in the working world and what having responsibility means, and also the quality of life that being an electrician can give to an individual.”
In one case, a student parlayed that mentorship into becoming one of the company’s top apprentices – an outcome that aligns with Jordan’s philosophy on leadership.
“[To me,] leadership means the ability to see somebody's strengths, and you build on [those], and you show them what their strengths are. When you understand what your strengths are, that's where you're going to be successful in your career and in your life.”
Developing people is a key part of Jordan’s long-term strategy for Carvel Electric, which he hopes to grow into “the premier electrical service company in Alberta.” That means building on his father’s intention for the company, but it’s in keeping with the spirit in which it was established.
“I grew up watching my father give opportunity to the people around him and it changed their lives,” says Jordan. Ultimately, that has come to include his. For “a young, young man,” he recalls, entrepreneurship was a path to personal growth that now includes family life and the recent birth of his first child. Now, Jordan wants to offer similar opportunities to others.
“Carvel Electric is building a company that creates opportunity not only for Indigenous peoples, but for people that want to push themselves to be the best they can possibly be.
“If I can do that with our company, that's important to me.”