History of NCIA: Celebrating 40 Years in the Heartland
“Over the years, our members have continually demonstrated the power and benefits of collaboration. The progress we’ve been able to make as a group is far greater than what would have been possible working as individuals.” – Laurie Danielson, Executive Director, NCIA
NCIA is built on the spirit of abundance. Since the beginning, we have lived by this belief—that “together we can do so much”. As a collective, the Northeast Capital Industrial Association can stand back with our partners and member companies today, after four decades, and give testimony to what we have built together.
Since the incorporation of the Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association (FSRIA) in 1982, later renamed to NCIA, we have witnessed breaking ground in the region. We have seen many changes of ownership and the merging of corporations. Our members have proudly taken the global stage, leading the way with new technologies in oil and gas, manufacturing, agriculture and others.
As a facilitator and a collaborator, NCIA created a space where government and industry can discuss initiatives and decide on actions that are mutually beneficial. Through the creation of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, four municipalities are now aligned and united in a collaborative investment for our collective futures. The growth of business, industry and the building of safe communities where our families now reside are a result. Today, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which includes Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, is home to more than 1.4 million people. Municipalities have been able to maintain autonomy and pursue the opportunities that matter most to them individually because of the community table around which we can gather.
Though our vision at NCIA has been far-reaching, we have kept our sights on what matters close to home. In 2001, we strengthened our mandate and long-term vision by renewing environmental priorities for the region. With our partners and stakeholders, we played a key role in helping to build accountability and set high stewardship standards for companies operating in the region, including:
The Regional Noise Management Model, a regulatory tool for managing industrial noise on a large scale and the first of its kind in the world
Air quality monitoring and reporting for residents through Fort Air Partnership
A collaborative approach to mutual aid and emergency notifications through NR CAER
Joint efforts with the Government of Alberta on a regional groundwater management project to protect the Beverly Channel Aquifer for future generations
The establishment of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland as a Designated Industrial Zone
These are only a few examples of joint opportunities that have drastically impacted and advanced our region.
“We are all striving for continuous improvement,” notes Danielson. “Be it through beneficial partnerships, facility upgrades or new ways of doing business, NCIA members are actively trying to reduce our environmental footprint in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.”
Today, NCIA’s 23 member companies range from large integrated global chemical and petro-chemical industries to smaller industrial service companies. Members directly employ approximately 8,500 people including long-term contract employees and turnaround contractors which creates an additional 30,000 indirect jobs for the region. This translates into a payroll of $850 million (direct jobs) and provincial tax revenues from NCIA employed persons of $85 million. Current industrial investment in manufacturing plants and infrastructure in the region exceed $43 billion. We expect that to grow by another $15 billion in the next 10 years.
“Our focus is on issues that impact the region along with opportunities for leadership,” says Danielson. “This is about bringing together the people, skills, knowledge and resources to facilitate success.”
For our 40-year milestone, we take a breath with our community members, a moment of reflection on where we have come from. There is much to celebrate.
NCIA is planning several initiatives and events to mark their 40th anniversary. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved!
Hear the story of NCIA's history through three different vignettes (originally aired on Mix 107 in April/May 2022)
Ten inspiring high school students in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland each received a $1,000 scholarship from NCIA to grow diversity within the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Environmental and Conservation Sciences and the trades. Through the one-time 40th anniversary scholarship fund, applicants were judged on their academic standing and an essay on how they planned to make a positive impact on their community through their chosen career. Below are some excerpts from the scholarship recipients' essays.
I have been accepted into the neuroscience program at the University of Alberta and am hoping it will lead to medical school and becoming a doctor. | would like to combine my education and career pursuits to help and support people’s mental and physical health so they can reach their full potential in all areas of their life. We have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that a thriving and resilient community is related to the physical, mental and social well-being of its citizens and the programs that support them. – Alex Want
After graduating university my goal is to create a local business in my community using my culinary degree. | want to create a space to give back to my community as well as thank all the incredible individuals who have helped me reach my goals. For me, giving back to the community is not just recognizing inspiring individuals but also creating a larger impact on somebody's life. – Avery Porcina
I am very excited that I was accepted to the University of Alberta to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. I hope to learn more about enhanced agricultural resilience as our future depends on it. Our environment is key to sustainable agriculture and food security all around the world. Food is everyone’s business, but I feel we need to improve education amongst the general population on the “farm to plate” processes. Where and how our food supply comes from is more significant than ever and I look forward to learning more about it and becoming an advocate going forward! – Brooke-Lynn Finnerty
I am excited to go to school to become an engineer and help my community. Although it’s truly a marvel to see what engineers have done for the world, there are still so many problems that need solving. Today in Alberta, access to clean drinking water is still a problem many Indigenous groups face. Along with that, many people lack proper heating in the winter. Engineers can help; I will help. I intend to spend the next 5 years learning how to accomplish these goals, and when I am finished, put my knowledge to use. – Cadon Irwin
I hope to become an engineer. I want nothing more in life than to build what the world needs. As an engineer, I would work to develop the technologies the world needs. With these technologies the world will be able to operate more efficiently, resulting in greater abundance for society to enjoy. I would work to ensure this abundance is most prevalent within my community since I care so very deeply about my community and hope to see it thrive. – Carl Mahé
I am attending the University of Alberta this fall to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. I am an environmentally conscious person, and by being a chemical engineer I wish to maintain my priorities in environmentally conservative practices. Ensuring the safety of those I work with and the communities surrounding the refineries are top priorities. – Darian Persaud
I will be starting my first semester of engineering at the University of Alberta in September. In the future, I wish to work in the nuclear engineering field so that we may work to make a safer and cleaner planet for our future generations to thrive on. Nuclear energy is far more suitable for a clean and sustainable future for our planet. I wish to work with others to help fix our environmental conundrum and work towards a safer and cleaner community for generations to come. – Deven Thaleshvar
Growing up I was always one to solve problems, which is the reason for my constant interest in the STEM industry. I hope that with my involvement in the community I can bring the idea of a STEM field available to people. I would like to pursue my master’s in computer engineering and start my own business with a focus on helping my community, whether that be designing more efficient and environmentally friendly batteries or creating code for safe automated robots. – Ian Ference
In my career, I hope to work with industries and help them find solutions to greatly reduce their carbon footprint and their waste level. For example, farming is a massive industry within Alberta, and one to be proud of. The terrain found here makes the province an ideal place for the market. However, animal agriculture is one of the leading greenhouse gas emitters, cited as being responsible for around twenty percent of human greenhouse gas emissions. I’d like to introduce more efficient livestock management practices to hopefully decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are being released from these plants. – Morgan Vany
I am excited to be attending NAIT in the Civil Engineering Technology program in the fall. This career path has really interested me because I have grown up watching what others have built and have always considered what I like about those things. However, I have also thought about what I would change. I want people to see my designs and think about how they would make them better, because that is how things continue to get better in our world. By pursuing a career in Civil Engineering Technology, I hope to directly be a part of taking our communities into a future that I know I can be a part of and be proud of. – Zeth Pawlik