Prudence McKenzie: Paving Progress at PLATO

Portrait of a woman with a warm smile, in her 40s. She has short, curly dark hair and fair skin with subtle freckles. She is wearing a black top and is inside a room with wooden paneling in the background. The lighting is soft and natural, highlighting her friendly demeanor.

The spring of 2023 was the start of a new chapter for Prudence McKenzie when she stepped into the room where PLATO Testing was launching its software tester training program in Prince Albert.

“At the kick-off, PLATO co-founder Denis Carignan. was introducing me to some of the PLATO staff, and I heard more about the training, said McKenzie.  “I was impressed by how PLATO was answering the Call to Action 92 from the Truth and Reconciliation by ensuring Indigenous people have access to jobs, training and education.”

After a few months of reflection, Prudence made a pivotal choice. She left her longstanding position with the Federal Government to join forces with PLATO, driven by a mission that resonated deeply with her: “Changing our world by building a stronger, more inclusive technology workforce.”

Walking away from the security of her federal role to embrace the unknown at PLATO was challenging for McKenzie, but the transition also marked her best decision. “The best decision I made was to accept this new and exciting position with Plato, I had the opportunity to leave the workforce completely but decided to stay and see how this role can benefit PLATO and my own personal career growth.”

In her journey, Prudence has confronted and navigated many barriers that women in leadership face, however, she’s stood firm in the belief that women are essential to steering us through adversity.  “I was told that women are the ones to lead us out of difficult times and we are seeing that,” said McKenzie.

When asked if there was a greatest moment in her career serving as an RCMP officer or during the past 27 years with Indigenous Services Canada, she noted, “There isn’t a defining moment but more of a realization that all my life experiences have made me the person I am today, and these lessons and skills that I have gained can be used to help others.”

Now, as the Indigenous Resource Advisor with PLATO, she takes pride in every chance to guide students and interns through their transitions into the classroom and workplace. Whether offering advice, lending a listening ear, or providing resources, she thrives on the variety each day brings.

The excitement she holds for her position at PLATO is evident. “It’s not just a job; it’s a chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, to be the support they need in times of transition, and to embrace the uniqueness of each new day. “

Kitsaki’s 2023 Annual Impact Report

Our 2023 Annual Impact Report is here, showcasing how Kitsaki and its group of companies are creating opportunities through sustainable growth.

This document is a testament to the resilience, innovation, and collaborative spirit that has driven Kitsaki through a remarkable journey of growth and community impact.

You can find the entire report below.

Prince Albert Photocopier Ltd. acquired by majority Indigenous-owned investment company, Optek Solutions LP

September 14, 2022, Prince Albert, SK. — Optek Solutions LP (Optek), an IT Services company that is owned by Athabasca Basin Development, Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies, and Kitsaki Management as well as Aebig Investments, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Prince Albert Photocopier Ltd (PAP).

PAP is a full-service IT solutions business and long-standing Ricoh Canada dealer serving the central and northern Saskatchewan market and is considered the market share leader in the area. PAP collaborates with customers of all sizes and complexities to help determine their physical and digital infrastructure requirements to optimize their operations and simplify the management of their IT systems.

Optek provides IT services, support and solutions to organizations of all sizes across Saskatchewan. Optek was started by Athabasca Basin Development, Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies and Kevin Aebig, the company’s CEO, in 2021. Kitsaki joined ownership of Optek in June 2022 as part of the deal to acquire PAP. “As a group, we are very excited to work together to acquire PAP and build on the excellent foundation established nearly 30 years ago by Dan Fenton and Carolyn Fenton,” said Geoff Gay, CEO of Athabasca Basin Development and a representative of the ownership group. “As investors, when we looked at PAP, we all saw a successful, established business and we look forward to supporting the company as it continues to provide excellent service to their customers.”

Dan Fenton will stay on during the company’s transition. “Athabasca Basin Development, Kitsaki Management, and Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies are three very successful Indigenous-owned investment groups based here in Saskatchewan that collectively own over 35 businesses, including an IT Services company whose leader has decades of experience in IT,” said Dan. “Carolyn and I felt this was the right group to take good care of the company and help take it to the next level.”

PAP has 16 employees and will be headed by Kevin Aebig, the CEO of Optek, once the transition is complete. “This is a very exciting opportunity for everyone,” said Kevin. “PAP is a solid, established business with a strong track record of providing service to a huge geographical area. PAP is a growing company in a growing sector and the focus for all of us is in taking care of customers and employees and continuing the spirit of the legacy that was established. I look forward to working with Dan and the employees to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.”