2022 · volume 3

President's Message

Boozhoo, members!

It seems like the snow might finally be on its way out, and we’ll be looking forward to warmer days soon.

The energy of spring has affected us here at the ABPA as well, and it’s been exciting to see our members and colleagues moving and shaking in the region. There are new ventures, growing influences, and events coming soon, and you can read more details in the newsletter below. 

Our first Pathways to Indigenous Prosperity event of 2022 is happening online Wednesday, April 27th. ABPA Vice President Rachael Paquette, of Paquette & Associates Lawyers, will be sharing her experience about the HR matters new and growing businesses need to know, and we hope to see you there. 

Finally, a very great Chi-Miigwetch to TBT Engineering Limited, this month’s Newsletter Sponsor! Scroll to our Feature below to learn more about TBTE and the work they do in the Northwest.




As a proven industry leader, TBTE works in conjunction with all our stakeholders to expertly investigate, test, plan, design and manage projects across Northern Ontario.

Our primary sectors are Infrastructure, Mining, Energy, Transportation, First Nations, Government and General Public with commercial services through 16 complimentary divisions.

In the community

#P2IP | HR Basics for Business

Hiring and investing in employees, policymaking, and ensuring employers and employers understand their rights and obligations is crucial for success, and we’re looking forward to welcoming Rachael Paquette of Paquette & Associates Lawyers to share her experience.
Ron Marano of Marano Consulting will join us as emcee, so bring your questions!

There is no fee for ABPA members or members of a First Nation community to attend, and we have a non member rate of $25.00.

A Familiar Voice on the Future Skills Podcast

ABPA President Jason Rasevych was interviewed for the third episode for The Conference Board of Canada Future Skills Centre podcast.

This latest podcast focused on economic trends and opportunities facing SMEs and how Indigenous entrepreneurship can have a major social impact on First Nation people. 

Have a listen below!

Welcome Indigenbiz!

Member and Director Steven McCoy of Gencity Consulting has a new venture!

Indigenbiz is a media platform inspired by a dream to change the narrative in mainstream Canadian media when it came to covering First Nations and Indigenous people.

Indigenbuz seeks to share positive news stories that highlight Indigenous people and communitie, and become the go-to resource for Indigenous business news stories and articles – and among his first in-depth profiles features Jason Thompson of Superior Strategies.

You can visit the site read the debut articles, as well as inquire about advertising opportunities or reach out to Indigenbiz for more information. Congratulations and welcome to Indigenbiz!


Homegrown, down to earth consulting
TBT Engineering Limited Provides Services to the North, from the North

“We knew we wanted to grow the company, and really combat that age-old perception that the experts have to come from ‘somewhere else’,” Rob Frenette recalls, sharing how he and his partner, Liana, first acquired Thunder Bay Testing in 1995. This venture would eventually grow to become the largest independently owned multidisciplinary engineering consulting firm in Northwestern Ontario.

“Growing up, Liana in Barwick and myself in Fort Frances, we had lots of friends in different industries, we had family in different industries, and we saw how routinely municipalities would have consultants coming in from somewhere else. Quite often, recommending products or policies or procedures that might work great in Southern Ontario or maybe Alberta, but not so much in Northwestern Ontario. There shouldn’t be anyone more expert in the conditions we live and work in than the people in the North.”

Investing in local professionals and diversifying the services offered was a long term strategy that has paid off very well 25 years on. From a staff of two to now over two hundred, TBT Engineering has become a one-stop shop for projects and developments with clients and partners as large as the Ministry of Transportation twinning a highway or as small as a private landowner requesting a survey and testing services to plan a septic field.

“Always, anyone, large or small,” Rob confirmed about their wide range of clients, “Whether they’re a First Nation community or a mining development, an institution or private developer, or a school. It starts with maybe some land surveying and from there to a whole range of civil engineering or electrical engineering, drilling and geotechnical, all the various aspects that go together along with a contractor to turn a vision into a reality. That’s really what it is we do, we help you to turn your vision into reality.”

TBT Engineering has a focus not only in sourcing local expertise, but in growing it in the wider region. With over a dozen formal relationships with First Nations led organizations, communities, and projects, increasing the capacity in northern communities is an important value for the company.  Some partnerships for TBTE include Washteh, with Windigo Community Development, and the community-led collective Minodahmun Development, as well as numerous service agreements with many communities along the North shore. Services such as waste management, site testing, and electrical and mechanical support for infrastructure development are provided for projects such as mining sites and even subdivision development.

“We’re not a multinational share driven corporation whose primary focus is shareholders pockets,” explains Rob, “Of course we are a business, we do need to profit, but businesses should have a moral and social responsibility to the communities they live in, and we try to do that regularly and generously.”

One such project that allowed TBTE to give back to the region is one very meaningful to Rob and the TBTE team.

“One job, start to finish, was for the Salvation Army. We were a key part of the design, of all the civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, the materials testing, as well as a major corporate sponsor of the new Salvation Army in Thunder Bay. I strongly believe in the importance of that particular facility, it’s beautiful what they’ve done. It’s helping homeless men, providing a place where they can go and as long as they’re sober and drug free, to get back on their feet. There’s  assistance with addictions, with trauma, mental health issues, and hopefully finding the strength and dignity to move forward, and get better… It’s a demonstration of what we can do personally and professionally when we all pitch in.”

When asked why a landowner, developer, or councilor with a community development portfolio should reach out to TBTE, Rob answered “at the end of the day, we’re local. Our head office is in Thunder Bay, our president, our people, they live in Thunder Bay. We’re all dealing with the same snowstorms. What little we had back in 1995 and growing into what we are today is exciting and it’s awesome to see the transition happening now. We’re confident that this will continue to be a locally owned, employee owned, northern focused consulting group that can relate with our clients and our colleagues and the communities we’re living and working in.”

If you’d like to submit a project summary or RFP, you can visit their website or call their Thunder Bay head office at (807) 624-5160. Reach out today for projects or partnerships to find out how TBT Engineering can help make your vision a reality.

Benefits of your membership

We provide information sessions and networking events targeting relevant topics and projects for business expansion in Northern Ontario.

We develop best practices for major First Nations development projects and non-First Nations businesses related to procurement policies and human resource polices focused on inclusion.

Members will be the first to know about special discounts on all events and access to new programs for doing business in Northern Ontario

Members will have better access to economic buyers and key decision makers in Northern Ontario through our business directory and special events and conferences.

We Need to hear from you.

Are there topics or areas of interest that you want to learn more about?

Do you know an Indigenous professional who you think our members should hear from?  

What do you want to see from your ABPA membership?

We try to keep an ear to the ground, but Indigenous enterprise is a thriving, growing economy, and there’s always new voices to hear and new faces to see.

 If there is something or someone you would want to see in a seminar, workshop, or networking event, we invite you to get in touch. Feel welcome to pitch us a topic, nominate a speaker, or simply tell us what’s important to you. Let us know…

Sponsor an ABPA Newsletter Today

Would you like to see your name and logo featured for our Anishnawbe Business Professionals community? Sponsor our newsletter. Your name, logo, description of services and contact information will be distributed to our membership and all our social media channels. If your Business or Organization would like to sponsor a future Newsletter, reach out to us at

Ch-Miigwetch for your support for Indigenous Business!