Meet the Olszewski family: A story of community and lasting legacy

Published: Jun 13, 2024

For the Olszewski family, Allan is the definition of home. It’s a place where generations of this family were born, raised, work and are planning to stay. Nutrien’s Allan mine is more than just a place of employment for the family. It’s been a place to build community, friendships and successful careers.


The story begins with Keith Olszewski, who was born and raised in Allan. Keith’s father was the town administrator for 40 years. Keith met his wife in Allan, who he has been married to for 39 years, and together they have two sons, Braden and Brent. Keith worked at, and has now recently retired from, Nutrien, after a successful 46 years, nearly half of a century.

Keith began his career at the Allan mine on January 9, 1978. He started underground as a Mine Operator and performed roles as a Service Crew Operator and Back-up Operator for the first 20 years of his career. In 1998, he started his Mechanical Millwright Apprenticeship and became a Journeyman Mechanical Millwright soon after. He came to surface in 2001 and remained in this area as a Millwright for the last 26 years of his employment.

image-20240613141442-2Now Keith’s sons Braden and Brent have a legacy to uphold.
Braden, Keith’s oldest son, moved away from Allan briefly to play junior hockey after he graduated high school, but moved back in 2007 and has now been at the mine for 17 years. He now lives on an acreage about 30 km east of the mine site with his family.  Braden played senior hockey in Allan for 13 years with the mine supporting the team in supplying jerseys and other essential items.

“Nutrien has provided me with a lot of opportunities to grow my career. I started underground as a Back-up Operator then moved to surface a year later in mill operations, promoted to staff as a Control Room Supervisor in 2013 then to Mill Operation Planner then to my current role as Mill Operations General Foreman,” says Braden. “My role has moved around a lot over the years as opportunities arose with the expansion. I supported the large expansion and was on the rollout team when we transitioned from 3270 to Oracle, as well as several other change management initiatives that took place at site.”

Nutrien’s priority on safety also gave Keith and Braden the opportunity to share the experience of being members of Allan’s emergency and mine rescue teams throughout their careers. Keith was a member of the mine rescue team for numerous years and won two provincial competitions. Braden has been a part of the emergency response team since he came to surface in different capacities and his team won Nutrien’s annual Firefighter’s Rodeo in 2018.

Brent, Keith’s youngest son, has also stayed near the town of Allan, living on an acreage about 40 km west of the mine. He started at the mill in 2010 and moved underground in 2011 where he operated the borer and shaft until 2023. Now his career is growing, and he is currently an Apprentice Millwright and worked on the same crew as his dad, Keith, until his recent retirement.

Keith and Brent have had two vastly different experiences due to technological advancement at the mine. Keith had to complete tasks with a hands-on approach and without computers, compared to Brent who was one of the first operators to run the tele-remote borer underground and the first operator to run it from surface.

Keith, Braden and Brent have worked alongside each other for the last 17 years and have valued getting to see each other every day. Their shared experiences made their bond stronger and allowed them to easily blend work-related tasks with family matters,

“It was great working with my sons, and it made me proud to watch them progress in their areas of work,” says Keith. “Now that I am retired, my advice to my sons is you’ve got to have a little fun to keep things rolling.”

The legacy of the Allan potash mine is interwoven with the legacy of the Olszewski family—a testament to hard work, community, and the importance of family. It's a story that resonates not just in Allan but throughout Saskatchewan, showing how Nutrien can leave a lasting impact on its people and the community.