By Pat Rediger
Early in his business career, Miguel Catellier thought he had discovered the golden ticket. The destination it took him to, however, was not the one he expected.
He joined a network marketing company at age 17 and then turned his attention to real estate, and six years later he owned seven properties. After stints on the oil rigs and flipping houses, he was eventually approach by an acquaintance to work in a metal recycling business.
After spending a year with the company, Catellier realized there was an opportunity for him to not only create a company with huge potential for growth, but also make a positive impact on the environment. In 2015, he launched TruGreen Metal Recycling in Emerald Park.
“I realized that there’s plenty of obsolete farm equipment all over the countryside in Saskatchewan that a lot of farmers would like removed, but don’t have the means of doing it,” Catellier said. “That’s kind of how we started TruGreen.”
TruGreen is a mobile metal recycling company that primarily focuses on cleaning up obsolete farm equipment from farms and acreages, as well as taking on industrial metal recycling projects. When the company is contacted by a customer, they put together a detailed estimate of what equipment is required, how long the cleanup will take, and how much the customer will be paid for the material.
When the crews arrive, the bulk of the material is processed and loaded with a 25-ton excavator equipped with a custom demo grapple. The smaller metal and debris is then picked up with the company’s 40″ electric magnet attachment. TruGreen then sells the material to companies who will process it further and then melt it down.
TruGreen has recycled over 200 million pounds of steel products since 2015, and has recently expanded into Alberta.
“At TruGreen, we’re really focused on making sure we’re doing a great job and caring about leaving our customers’ properties as clean as possible,” Catellier said. “It’s never possible to please everyone 100 per cent because you’re coming in with big equipment and ripping equipment apart, but we’re definitely the best in the industry in terms of making sure people are happy with how we keep their yard clean and respect the land.”
Catellier, who enjoys reading business literature and biographies, was inspired after reading Elon Musk’s biography to get into the solar industry. In 2018 he launched TruGreen Energy—a full-service solar energy engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm serving Saskatchewan.
“I was reading Elon Musk’s biography several years ago and he’s the kind of guy that has really been able to see around corners extremely well in his career. He’s an incredible person and I looked at the fact that he was really doubling down on solar,” Catellier said. “Frankly, a lot of huge players in business are doubling down on solar, like Google, Apple, and Amazon, to name a few. When you consider that in a single hour the amount of power from the sun that strikes the Earth is more than the entire world consumes in a year, it obviously makes sense to try and capture that.”
Catellier began by researching the market and realized that Saskatchewan has the most potential in all of Canada to develop solar power. He purchased a small solar company and used their experienced staff to develop TruGreen Energy.
The company was busy in 2018 installing solar panels for customers in the residential, commercial, community, agriculture and home building areas. Catellier said the company received over 3,000 quote requests that year.
“We’re not even close to being big enough to service the demand that’s out there,” he said. "We’re growing steadily, but it’s one of those businesses where you want to grow at the right pace. Really, 2018 was just about getting warmed up and 2019 is going to be much bigger.”
In 2018, Catellier was named one of CBC’s Top 40 Under 40, which was a positive sign for him. “I was honoured to get that award,” he said. “It was evidence that I’m going in the right direction and that what I’ve been doing is worth it.”
All told, Catellier’s two companies generate eight figures of revenue per year, create around 40 full-time jobs in the province, and put back millions of dollars each year into Saskatchewan's economy.
“It’s awesome to contribute to the Saskatchewan economy,” he said. “I really love being an entrepreneur. There are risks and pressures and stress that come with that, but we can actually make something that works. Pretty much all our employees are making the most money they’ve ever made. That’s a great feeling knowing that all those people are supporting their families.”
Catellier was born in Regina, grew up in Manitoba, and returned to Saskatchewan to start the businesses.
“From one angle, there’s just a lot of scrap metal out there, and Saskatchewan is the number one place in Canada for solar, so that’s why we call Saskatchewan home,” he said. “Aside from that, the people here are awesome. There’s something about Saskatchewan people; it’s like one big small town, which is nice.”
To learn more about TruGreen Metal Recycling, visit https://trugreenmetal.ca. To learn more about TruGreen Energy, visit https://trugreenenergy.com.