Focused on being a professional and reliable partner to our stakeholders
The Sutherland Group is a broad based solutions provider to the forestry industry and beyond. In 1995, Chris, Melanie, and Robert Sutherland started the first business, Sutco, with one logging truck, a customer centric approach, and a vision of building a family oriented organization.
To successfully provide our customers with comprehensive solutions, coupled with our entrepreneurial drive, we expanded into the Sutherland Group over time.
The range of services provided by our team of domain experts includes: roadbuilding, blasting, harvesting, portable wood chipping, barging, and transportation services.
We have a long-term vision to expand our capabilities to serve our stakeholders with a continued focus on innovation, professionalism, transparency, and safety. We ensure that all of our practices are in line with environmental and sustainable standards. We are committed to meeting critical deadlines, running an efficient operation, and meeting our customers’ requirements and goals.
Why are we unique:
- Family owned, operated and value oriented
- Creative problem solvers
- Proven and unparalleled domain expertise
- Responsive and effective communication
- Professional, transparent, reliable, dependable
Services we provide:
Our Group of Companies
Transportation of logs, wood residuals, general freight, and heavy haul through our assets and brokerage division.
US based transportation operations including residuals and general freight.
Wood fiber processing, road building, and other forestry management services.
Environmental timber harvesting services.
& Tug Services
Barge and marine services on the Arrow Lakes, BC.
& Equipment Repair
Repair, maintenance, welding and fabrication for commercial transport and heavy duty equipment.
Rock drilling and blasting primarily for road building and construction.
Sutherland Group Highlights
25+ year history of providing innovative solutions to enable the forestry supply chain to run efficiently.
Continued global focus on renewable resources and environmentally friendly operational practices.
Broad portfolio of services for our customers with varying cycles and asset intensities.
Deep and expanding long-term customer relationships.
Modern fleet of equipment with state of the art technology for tracking, safety, and environmental impact.
Operational excellence built on service, creativity, trust, safety, and reliability.
Built on family values with focus on respect, transparency, partnership, and long-term investment in our team-members.
Our Leadership Team
Chris is co-founder and owner of the Sutherland Group. He’s primarily focused on driving and growing our customer relationships, corporate strategy, and new business ventures. He’s a creative problem solver with a genuine talent for recognizing needs and opportunities across various industries.
Chris started the first company of the group, Sutco, along with his wife and father in 1995. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he purchased a logging truck at the age of 19, headed to Salmo, BC, and the family business began. He has grown the organization organically and through acquisitions into the enterprise it is today.
After graduating high school, Chris attended the heavy duty mechanics program at BCIT and was top of the class. This allowed him to repair and operate his equipment. To this day, Chris will still throw a set of coveralls on and assist the mechanics, and he enjoys getting behind the wheel of a big rig or an excavator to offer support AND just for fun! You will often hear Chris say “I love what I do, and as long as I do, I will keep doing it.”
Chris is an inspiring leader and a lifelong learner. As a prominent visionary, he continues to look for additional opportunities given the various industry demands, and gratefully welcomes the challenges that are presented along the way. He undoubtedly believes people are the critical success factors across the Sutherland Group. Because of this, Chris continues to focus on ensuring the best qualified, experienced, and culturally aligned team members are placed in all positions across the group of companies. He’s a CEO member of TEC Canada, a division of Vistage, to further drive organizational success.
Chris and his family have lived in the Kootenays since 1995. Chris has many things in his life that bring him joy: fishing, biking, skiing, yoga, and his new found passion of gardening are just a few to name. Just like his wife, Melanie, what he treasures the most is spending time with his growing family. He is appreciative, every day, that he gets to work alongside his entire family.
Melanie is co-founder and owner of the Sutherland Group. Her day involves leading and supporting the accounting operations for Sutco. In addition to this, Mel also plays an integral role in the overall strategic direction of the Sutherland Group.
Mel’s huge HEART was the driving force behind “Love Drive”, our group’s charitable initiative. Mel strives to be present with her team while showing her appreciation for their contribution.
Melanie loves playing outside whether it’s hiking, biking or paddle boarding; she’s happiest when her family joins her. Mel has a passion for teaching yoga and all local staff are invited into her home for a morning session of yoga each week (Pre-Covid). Mel’s greatest life treasure is her family. In 2021, she and Chris became grandparents and the new adventures are just beginning. Fun Fact: Chris and Mel had their first kiss at the age of 4 in preschool!
Partner, Sutherland Group
Doug is a partner at the Sutherland Group and focuses on the vision, culture, and overall operations of the growing companies. He leads team members in the pursuit of personal and professional goals that align with the Group’s vision.
With over 25 years of leadership in the sports, entertainment, and transportation industry, Doug’s passionate about inspiring team members who ultimately provide industry leading service and support to all stakeholders.
Doug began his career in the entertainment industry in Vancouver as a production assistant on the TV series Smallville and then continued his career producing independent feature films in Los Angeles for Whitewater Films. With his creative and production responsibilities, he was the lead negotiator on contracts including financier, talent, and union agreements. Doug returned to Canada in 2009 to proudly join the growing family business his brother, sister-in-law, and father started.
Doug has a Bachelor of Commerce with distinction in International Business from the University of Victoria. He continues to develop as a leader with TEC Canada a division of Vistage and is currently an executive board member with the BC Trucking Association, Canadian Trucking Alliance, and Trucking HR Canada.
Doug has lived and worked in Canada, United States, and Mexico. He’s been blessed to play on incredible teams, winning provincial championships in hockey and basketball. Today he calls West Kelowna, BC home and has the best team ever with his wife Alicia, daughter Uma and dog Yeti. They can be found on bike trails all over North America.
Chief Financial Officer,
Michael is the CFO of the Sutherland Group responsible for financial reporting, planning and analysis, capital structure management, budgeting, investor communications, strategy, and corporate development.
Michael is a senior corporate finance executive with over 20 years of experience working in both an operational and advisory role. He is a process oriented problem solver playing numerous and critical roles across the organization.
Michael began his career developing wireless infrastructure software for Motorola and InterDigital. He then worked in Investment Banking advancing from Associate to Managing Director at JPMorgan and subsequently at Greenhill. He advised a range of technology clients on corporate strategy, M&A, risk management, and capital structure optimization.
Michael has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from McMaster University and an MBA with distinction from New York University. He is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement from New York University.
Michael is a dual Citizen of Canada and the United States and has worked in Toronto, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and finally Kelowna, BC. He is an avid outdoorsman whose interests include sailing, running, mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, yoga, and any and all adventures with his wife, two sons, two dogs, and of course the cat.
Vice President of
Justin is the VP of Operations for the residuals division with responsibility for dispatch, planning, maintenance, and field level support. Justin performs planning and analysis, budgeting, customer relations, corporate strategy, and customer base development.
Justin is an experienced senior executive with over 25 years working in both operations and safety roles. He is process driven with critical strengths in operational strategy, team leadership, and development.
Justin began his career as a conductor for Canadian Pacific Railway where he worked for 20 years. He started from the ground up and had roles including locomotive engineer, rail traffic controller, service design scheduler, and senior trainmaster. Justin has worked internationally in rail transportation holding positions of general manager through to senior director working in multiple locations including Calgary, Montreal, Chicago, Denver, and now in Kelowna.
Prior to coming to Sutco, Justin travelled all over North America providing corporate safety and operational guidance to 27 short line railroads and building operational strategies. In his youth, he attended the College of Notre Dame and played junior hockey for the Notre Dame Hounds then further attended SAIT for secondary education. Justin is more of a movie buff than an outdoorsman but enjoys playing golf, hockey, wake surfing, riding motor bikes, and family adventures with his wife, daughter, and their dog.
Vice President of
Operations, BC EcoChips
Charlie is the VP Operations for BC EcoChips responsible for whole log chipping, log yard management, grinding services, and custom solutions for residual fibre processing.
Charlie has been connected to the forest and pulp & paper industry over the last 20 years as a heavy duty mechanic, then as a truck sales representative with the Inland Group.
It was in the sales role where Charlie’s relationship with the Sutherland Group was born, as a solutions provider for all things trucking for Sutco Transportation. Charlie’s sales acumen and deep understanding of the industry and heavy equipment provides the Sutherland Group with a unique ability to grow the business.
Charlie was born and raised in Penticton, BC and has deep roots in the community. He spends many hours coaching minor hockey and baseball. He loves to give back to the community by teaching respect and pride for your hometown to the youth he works with.
Charlie loves all things outdoors including camping, dirt biking, fishing, and hiking with his kids. He has also been known to play an eclectic campfire acoustic guitar set.
Love Drive, Our Charitable Initiative
To formalize our charitable initiatives, we have created an official program called “Love Drive”, The Heart of Our Company.
For years, The Sutherland Group has valued the importance of giving back as a business. Giving back not only comes from the hearts of all team members, but it is also embedded into our corporate commitments. For that very reason, we work hard to give back to the communities in which we operate. We believe that being of service cultivates joy and supports our family-based culture. Giving back and paying it forward inspires people to think of others which is what our world needs more of right NOW.
WE are NOT just driven by our own successes, but by the well-being of our team members and their families, communities, and the world around us. WE truly want to make a difference and it is our mission that “Love Drive” becomes an integral part of the Sutherland Group’s legacy!
Our community involvement:
Canadian Cancer Society • Plaid for Dad • Pride Parade • Anti-Bullying Pink Shirt Day • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada • Relay for Life • Kaslo May Days • Rossland Mtb Club • Nelson Maple Leafs Hockey Team • Salmo Children’s Centre • Kelowna Heat Hockey Team • Test of Humanity • Travis Hauck XC Mtb World Championship • Castlegar Rotary • Castlegar Yogathon • Be Seen Campaign • Triple Shot Cycling Club • Evan Guthrie Professional Mtb • Salmo Golf Club • Salmo Valley Youth & Community Centre • Salmo Curling Rink • Mission Hill Elementary • Creston Valley Cruisers • Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation • Salmo Fire Department • Royal Canadian Legion • Castlegar Green Jays Baseball Team • Bill’s Heavy Duty Scholarship.
Benefits of working with us
Safety is our number one priority. We provide a safe work environment throughout all of our companies. It’s our commitment to equip all team members with the tools and training necessary to perform jobs effectively and safely.
We are proud of our ability to offer team members employment security which includes year-round work. We also provide all members the opportunity to participate in a company matched pension plan.
Health Care Benefits
We understand the importance of offering health care benefits to our team members. Therefore, we provide all full-time team members with an extensive medical benefit plan that includes life insurance, dental, and vision care.
State of the Art
We take pride in operating premium and innovative equipment. Our team members can operate their equipment with reliability, comfort, and productivity while safely returning home to what matters most.
We value the loyal and established business relationships that we have built with stakeholders who encompass similar ethics. We are dedicated to building transparent, honest, and mutually beneficial partnerships.
We are committed to continually train team members who are motivated to maximize their potential. Our focus on creating opportunities, within all of our companies, is the very foundation we were built on.
Sutherland Group Enterprises Launches Corporate Philanthropy Program
September 6, 2021
Since it’s inception, Sutherland Group Enterprises has valued the importance of giving back as a business. Giving back not only comes from the hearts of those who work in the Sutherland Group of companies, but also embedded into their corporate commitments. To strengthen the organization’s numerous charitable initiatives, they have created a formal philanthropy program called Love Drive, The Heart of Our Company. Love Drive officially launches during National Trucking Week, September 5-11, 2021.
“Sutherland Group has proudly supported and will continue to support multiple charities and non-profits, because we believe we can make the world “Better Together”. Love Drive helps us to reorganize all our charitable activities under one umbrella and allow us to remain open to supporting new causes or unexpected events like the pandemic, the fires and other unforeseen disasters where funds are needed quickly.” says Melanie Sutherland, Program Chair.
“The idea of Love Drive initially came from wanting to find a way to support the rising concern of mental health and wellness as the COVID 19 pandemic triggered a considerable degree of fear, suicide, anxiety, and depression. Love Drive aligns perfectly with our corporate commitment to give back as well as having our team members feel like they are contributing to a program that will support causes close to them. Our mission is that Love Drive becomes an integral part of Sutherland Group Enterprises legacy,” adds Sutherland.
To help spread the message of Love Drive, Sutherland Group Enterprises have purchased a commercial sized food trailer which will also have its official unveiling during National Trucking Week. The food trailer is a significant component of the Love Drive brand and will be travelling to various fundraising events and to customer and supplier locations as part of the Love Drive program.
To learn more about Love Drive, The Heart of Our Company, contact Melanie Sutherland, Program Chair by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A website for the program will be coming soon and can be found at www.lovedrive.ca.
ABOUT SUTHERLAND GROUP ENTERPRISES
Sutherland Group Enterprises is a broad-based solutions provider to the forestry industry and beyond. In 1995, Chris, Melanie and Robert Sutherland started the first business, Sutco, with one logging truck, a customer centric approach, and a vision of building a family-oriented organization. To successfully provide customers with comprehensive solutions, coupled with entrepreneurial drive, it expanded into Sutherland Group Enterprises over time. The range of services provided by Sutherland Group Enterprises include roadbuilding, blasting, harvesting, portable wood chipping, barging and transportation services.
INQUIRIES CAN BE DIRECTED TO:
James LeFranc Joins The Sutherland Group in conjunction with BC EcoChips acquiring assets from Woodchuck Ltd.
July 12, 2021
We are excited to announce today that the Sutherland Group has hired James Le Franc to lead our Timber Harvesting and Road Construction operations. As part of James joining the team, BC EcoChips will be acquiring certain equipment assets from WoodChuck to expand the capabilities of our businesses.
James is a recognized leader in his field with over 30 years of experience and a reputation of efficiently tackling complicated jobs in some of British Columbia’s toughest terrain. James is currently the owner and operator of Woodchuck Ltd, a strong player in Timber Harvesting and Road Construction in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia. Prior to founding Woodchuck in 1993, James was the Manager of Road Building and the Winter Logging Program at Sunshine Logging. James is expected to start with the Sutherland Group in mid August 2021.
We are also delighted to extend offers to all of Woodchuck’s existing employees to join BC EcoChips in mid August in conjunction with James’s start date. James has a talented team of experienced professionals that will be a great addition to the Sutherland Team.
James will initially be spending most of his time working with BC EcoChips and Landmark. We expect that over time his expertise will also be leveraged by Brooklyn Barge and Tug and the recently acquired KC Drilling and Blasting.
“ I have known James for over 25 years and believe he will be a tremendously impactful addition and a strong cultural fit with our Group. James is a creative problem solver, domain expert, operator and a mentor. James will enable the continued growth of our organization and allow us to take on new more complicated projects.” Chris Sutherland
Plaid 4 Dad 2021, 1st place
July 1, 2021
Sutco’s team is proud to be awarded 1st place (3rd year in a row) in the Plaid for Dad Campaign. This amazing campaign is a nationwide movement working toward a world where fear surrounding prostate cancer is no longer an issue!
We would like to say a Huge THANK YOU to our team at Sutco, as well as, our Plaid for Dad Truck sponsors: Atco, Bill’s Heavy Duty, CBS, Cummins, Inland, Kalesnikoff, Kal-tire, Kenworth (Paccar), Mercer Celgar and Meritor. We also extend a special thank you to our many other 2021 donators: BFL, Great West Equipment and AM Ford, our family, friends and everyone who showed support by donating and wearing plaid.
We are “Better Together”, and TOGETHER We can bring awareness and fight Prostate Cancer.
BC EcoChips Acquires KC Drilling and Blasting
June 25, 2021
We are excited to announce today that BC EcoChips Ltd. (“BC EcoChips”) has expanded with the acquisition of KC Drilling & Blasting Ltd (“KC”). The addition of KC’s Drilling and Blasting capabilities expands the services we provide to better serve our customers and will position us for greater success in the marketplace.
KC has been a leading provider of rock drilling and blasting within the Kootenay Region of British Columbia for the last 42 years. The forestry customers that KC serves and the services it provides are highly complementary to BC EcoChips’ road building division.
KC has a strong reputation for high quality services, precision results, safety, and family values. We plan to maintain the KC Drilling & Blasting brand while benefiting from the scale benefits of being part of BC EcoChips and the broader Sutherland Group (Sutco Transportation Specialists, BC EcoChips, Landmark Timber Services, Summit Truck & Equipment Repair and Brooklyn Barge & Tug). We expect to see numerous synergies between KC and BC EcoChips in the coming months through combined site operations and leveraging best practices across each organization.
As we complete the integration of our businesses, be assured that we are committed to delivering the high level of service to which you are accustomed. Our goal is to make this a seamless transition for all stakeholders. Garrett Underwood joined KC in early May as the new General Manager and will continue to be leading the business as a part of BC EcoChips.
Please contact Garrett Underwood at email@example.com or (587) 225-8114 for all customer related matters. For other administrative matters please contact Courtney Sutherland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our new mailing address is:
KC Drilling and Blasting
PO Box 430, Salmo BC, V0G 1Z0
We are excited to have KC as part of the BC EcoChips team and we look forward to continuing to work with our customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.