Ashley Shears and Jamie Matei

Ashley Shears and Jamie Matei

35 & 37 Years Old

Class of 2020

Ashley Shears

“This year has taught me to be resilient, and I try to remember to be thankful for what I have and not concentrate on the negative. Live one day at a time, and do the next right thing.”

As the President of Saskana Group of Companies in Fort McMurray, Ashley Shears-Matei is a successful Aboriginal business owner. She’s also the mother of two and wife and business partner to Jamie Matei.

The couple were both starting working in the safety industry when they met Justin Herman, their other business partner, and the three decided to venture out and open their own oil and gas consulting company.

Ashley was inspired to go into business following in the steps of her Indigenous business owners role models, Nicole Bourque-Bouchier of The Bouchier Group and Melanie Antoine of A.P.E Maintenance Ltd.

“Over time, we added different scopes and became the successful Aboriginal business that we are today,” she said.

She is also a Director with the Northern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association and helps with supporting Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs. Ashley describes success as giving back to her community as it comes with benefits.

“I love our community. I spend lots of time enjoying the beauty of the city,” said Ashley, who was born and raised in the Wood Buffalo region. I love being around children and volunteering.

When she’s not running the business, Ashley enjoys the outdoors and exploring the Birchwood Trails and Gregoire Lake. She’s also a dance mom and actively involved at Generation Dance Studios, where she teaches the Acro gymnastic form of dance.

Being a business owner and president of a company throughout the 2020 pandemic has been a challenge for many, but she has an optimistic and grateful outlook.

“This year has taught me to be resilient, and I try to remember to be thankful for what I have and not concentrate on the negative. Live one day at a time, and do the next right thing. In the year ahead, we will continue to grow within our community, especially during these challenging times,” she said.


Jamie Matei

“Making a difference for our children and giving back to the community that has given so much to us is what drives us to make our business successful.”

Jamie Matei is the CEO of Saskana Group of Companies, an Indigenous-owned oilfield services staffing company. He owns the company with his wife Ashley Shears-Matei and business partner Justin Herman.

With 150 people working for Saskana, the Pandemic has not slowed them down, and the Company is currently working on contracts that will see them double the number of their employees in the next year.

Jamie went into business with a purpose to create opportunities for the community and to inspire the next generation of workers.

“Making a difference for our children and giving back to the community that has given so much to us is what drives us to make our business successful,” he said. “It is a daily balance between the demands of the business, the family and community commitments with a little bit of time on the greens in the summer.”

Family and community involvement are the joys of Jamie’s life, and he has a deep appreciation for the environment surrounding him.

Whether it’s spending time recreationally at the parks and on the trails and the lake or through volunteering in youth sports and various others, you can try to catch him if you can, but he’s always on the go.

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