It’s no secret that many employees spend countless hours supporting numerous causes to make their communities great places to live.
We’re proud that eight members of the Suncor family have been recognized by Your McMurray Magazine (YMM) Top 50 Under 50. Congratulations to Naseem Abdo, Mohammed Al-Dhaby, BJ Fitzpatrick, Darren Ehler, Michelle Landsiedel, Nicole Rymes, Graham Ure, and Tyler Whelan.
Naseem Abdo is an optimist. “I am a believer that most people are good and we can end hate and racism if we unite.”
To help foster that belief, the Team Lead Quality Assurance, Mining and Upgrading, makes it his mission to fight hate and Islamophobia by educating people about Islam and Muslims in his community. He says through education, people understand each other which helps build a stronger Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.
“Helping to make a more inclusive and united community through education and open dialogue means a lot to me and my family.”
Naseem encourages everyone to volunteer. “Never underestimate the positive effect of a good action, no matter how small it is. We all have different abilities that can help build a strong community.”
Naseem was also recognized as a SunCares Changemaker in 2020.
Nothing makes Mohammed Al-Dhaby and his family happier than a big grin on someone’s face.
“The best thing for us is to help change a life and we always like to see other people smile,” says the Regional Maintenance Coordinator for Suncor.
Mohammed, his wife, and his two boys have volunteered with many community organizations for several years. One of their favourite ways to give back is through the Canadian International Immigrant Refugee Support Association, helping newcomers to Canada find a home and settle in.
“No matter what you do, no matter how little it is, you will always see the blessings and happiness at your own home.”
Mohammed was also recognized as a SunCares Changemaker in 2022.
A Fort McMurray boy, Darren Ehler always gets satisfaction from the enjoyment people experience at the music events he organizes, promotes and performs.
“I used to do a lot of all-ages shows around town, and that's kind of where it started from there,” says the Construction Coordinator, Mining and Upgrading, Regional Services.
Darren continues to support the city’s music and sports scenes by being involved in events like Rock the Rails, Wood Buffalo Ribfest, and the memorial show he holds to honour Joey Delusong, a friend and local musician who passed away in 2015.
“It's a smaller event that has a lot of meaning and allows his friends and family to remember him, his music, and the impact he had on our arts community.”
When BJ Fitzpatrick isn’t doing his job as a Senior Emergency Response Officer for Suncor, you’ll find him with a whistle between his lips, a pair of skates strapped to his feet, and a stick in hand.
Sports—especially hockey—played a big part in his life growing up in Fort McKay. Named to the Top 50 Under 50 in 2021, BJ gives back to his community by coaching hockey, working with youth, and helping organize Indigenous events. This work has included organizing visits of prominent Indigenous hockey personalities such as Jordan Tootoo and Ted Nolan.
“Because I was given these opportunities growing up, I think the kids in our communities should have those same opportunities.”
Ask Michelle Landsiedel how she manages so many volunteer commitments and still holds a full-time job as a Senior Project Advisor and she’ll tell you (with a straight face) that she’s really not that busy.
Rock the Rails, the Arctic Winter Games, the Red Cross (local and national), and the Community Standards Appeal Committee are a few causes she’s involved with these days. But Michelle is quick to note that her motivation isn’t so altruistic.
“I like being involved in things and I love this community, so I want to access the best of what it has to offer and the best way to do that is to volunteer.”
The United Way Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo has become a big part of Nicole Rymes’ life. In 2021, she chaired Syncrude’s campaign that raised $2.1 million for the region’s charities and continues her support as a board member.
In fact, Nicole, Manager, AN Maintenance (Shovels), got to see one of these charities in action in a remote area when someone she and her family were with had to be medevacked because of an emergency.
“It was the Local HERO Foundation helicopter that came and took them out, so that was pretty eye-opening for us.”
Ultimately, Nicole’s dedication to the United Way reflects her love for her community. “I'm just very passionate about promoting Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo it in a positive way.”
Coming from a big company like Suncor, Graham Ure has a lot to offer smaller businesses that make up the fabric of Fort McMurray’s economy.
“A healthy business environment means we have a healthy business community,” says Graham, Suncor’s Director of East Tank Farm Assets, who serves on the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce.
"This means we have the shops and services required to be a great place to live.”
And for Graham, the benefits of volunteering go both ways. “You meet some incredible people and gain experience that you can actually bring back to your own job.”
When Tyler Whelan is at work as a Field Trainer at the Aurora project at the Syncrude site, his singer-songwriter persona always tags along, finding inspiration from his colleagues.
“I get to hear their stories of what brought them to Fort McMurray firsthand and it often inspires me to write songs.”
Tyler is very active in the music scene and one of the ways he gives back to his community is by performing at shows that benefit many causes. He notes that his experiences wouldn’t be possible without a strong community that is supported by companies such as Syncrude and Suncor.
“It's a great community and there's a lot of helping hands here.”
We thank and support these winners and every employee who contributes to their communities in meaningful ways. Through our SunCares program, we support employee engagement, volunteering and donation opportunities and the causes that are important to them.