Intentional opportunities creating real benefits for Indigenous Peoples

Published: Jun 05, 2024

image-20240605134708-1It was a railway track that led Lee Price to creating positive change through his work at Nutrien, providing positive economic and social benefits for Indigenous people in Saskatchewan. Read on to find out more about Lee’s work driving our Indigenous Supply Chain Strategy, and as an…accidental inventor.

What does a “Manager, Indigenous Supply Chain for Potash” do?  

I work with a collaborative and dedicated team of procurement professionals who create and drive opportunities for positive impact for Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities. By utilizing and leveraging our local supply chain spend, my position is responsible for implementing and supporting our Indigenous Supply Chain Strategy, which involves our Potash business unit’s continued commitment to sourcing goods and services from local Indigenous businesses.

The Indigenous Supply Chain Strategy also includes supporting our network of non-Indigenous suppliers and their commitments to become engaged with Indigenous communities and businesses, creating employment and economic development opportunities that benefit those communities and, in turn, the larger Saskatchewan economy – this is the focus of my role, as well as building processes which allow for a consistent approach to implementing and evaluating Indigenous impact within our supply chain.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

I’m from Big River First Nation in Central Saskatchewan. My children are First Nation. So, I’m deeply invested in seeing Nutrien continue to succeed in creating positive change in our province. I get to play a role in a much larger process providing positive economic and social benefits for Indigenous people in Saskatchewan. I find that extremely rewarding.

More specifically, when I see our suppliers becoming enablers of change who create intentional opportunities within their businesses for Indigenous people and then I get to see how those opportunities translate to real benefits for Indigenous people, it’s an exciting thing to witness.

How did your career path lead you to Nutrien? 

The initial route that led me to Nutrien was a railway track. I worked in rail operations management for 15 years with several large class 1 railroads in Canada and the US. My career with the railroads was both exciting and rewarding, however at times, it did present challenges in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. So, when an advertisement for a rail position at Nutrien was shared with me, I jumped on it and since then my family and I could not have been happier. Joining Nutrien allowed me to succeed in my field, drawing on my skills and experience - and I get to enjoy the benefits of a much healthier work-life balance.

What other roles have you had at Nutrien? 

Before joining the Potash procurement team, I was in Transportation, Distribution and Logistics as a Rail Specialist in our Nitrogen business. Working collaboratively with rail carriers, our Sales and Product Management teams, and in coordination with our production facilities, I managed the positioning of our rail fleets and the movement of our products across the US and into Mexico.

Why is a particular focus on Indigenous Peoples and companies within our supply chain important for our business? 

One of our senior leaders said it best, “We want our communities to reflect our business and our business to reflect our communities”.

So, it’s no surprise that Indigenous inclusion aligns with our core values. We recognize our social responsibility to contribute positively to the lands in which we operate, and we believe we can create a positive impact by engaging Indigenous suppliers directly and indirectly through our supply chain. This underpins our commitment to reconciliation by supporting Indigenous businesses, creating employment opportunities, and strengthening sustainable economic growth for Indigenous communities.

There is also a genuine commercial benefit to Nutrien and our supply chain - the more robust our supply chain, the more strengthened and sustainable our ability to operate becomes. Not only that but as our supply chain becomes more diverse, the more it can foster innovations and solutions that can improve upon how we do business.

I’ll add another quote. This time from one of our suppliers, “This (Indigenous inclusion) is not just about the bottom line or best value for Nutrien, it’s also about the best value for our communities, the best value for our province, as well as the best value for our supply chain”.

What is a fun fact about you that people may not know?  

Not long ago, I accidentally became an inventor. I created a new swim fin that allows children to walk in their fins without the hazard of tripping. I was trying to help my young daughter swim, climb, and walk around the pool safely while wearing her fins. When I couldn’t find anything on the market, I came up with the idea myself and was fortunate enough to patent my walkable fins in the United States, China, and the EU.