Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why I Love This Town – The United Way Campaign is Back

For those of you who’ve never been here, never lived here, or even just never participated in the United Way Campaign… well it’s a little difficult to describe how the folks in this town pull together to support those in need.

But trust me on this, it’s a pretty amazing process.

Last year, for the fourth year in a row, Fort McMurray was classified as “Canada’s Most Giving Community”. The goal of last year’s campaign? $5 million.

How much was raised? $5.4 million. How awesome is that?

This year, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of people will be working together to meet, and hopefully exceed, 2010’s goal of $5.678 million. A goal I am confident we can meet.

Not sure how the United Way helps to support our community? Check out the 2010 Campaign Brochure. Want to help out but don’t know where to start? Try here.

This is just one of the reasons why I love this town.

Model Heavy Haulers

<shameless plug>

(Warning, bit of a shameless plug for a family member here, but it’s pretty cool, so it easily passed my “should I post this?” test)

Cat 797 Model (wooden)In 2007 I took my in-laws for a site/mine tour… and my father-in-law was speechless when he came close to the heavy haulers in the mine. Well, I guess “holy mackerel!!” is technically not speechless, but that’s just getting needlessly pedantic don’t you think?

The point is that as a retired school teacher who has taken up woodworking, he now has some time on his hands – and boy has he put that time (and his hands) to good use.

He was so impressed with the heavy haulers, specifically the big Cat 797s, that he’s taken up to hand-crafting a few haulers at a time in order to further fuel his woodworking addiction.

  • Measurements: 18” x 11” x 11”
  • Handcrafted Mortise & Tenon
  • All glue, no nails or screws
  • Woods: mahogany, cherry, jatoba, oak, and black walnut
  • Rear axel is brass (to support the weight!)
  • Only 3 available

They are pretty amazing to see up close –  the wheels do indeed rotate, and as you can see from the pictures the bed does raise up and down on tiny wooden pistons. Pretty smart.

If you are interested in obtaining one of the haulers, or just think they’re pretty cool and want my father-in-law to know, drop me a line on Twitter or through this here blog and I’ll be in touch.

</ shameless plug>

And so ends the shameless plug for a family member. Next up? A review of the new CEMA website coming later this week:

Why This Blog (Part Two)

(This is Part Two of the “About” section… Read the whole thing, if you want to)

Ok. Part Two is less about rhetoric and more about me.

So hi. This is me. Matt. Nice to meet you.

This is a blog about the oil sands – an industry in which I make my living as a Human Resources Advisor.

Along with my wife, I moved to Fort McMurray from Victoria, BC, in Feb of 2006, and have had the right combination of hard work, education, attitude, luck and connections to establish a new and (so far) successful life in northern Alberta.

I have a communications degree, am currently in the process of becoming a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP), and in a previous life I used to be an apprentice cook.

You can see more about my digital presence through my account at I have a personal twitter account, where I tweet about non-oil sands related bits and bobs as @MattYouens, and once in a while I blog on …and stuff like that….