Fifty years in business, like with almost any venture over that ten-ure,
comes with its highs and lows, gains and losses. But the one
constant has been the sense of family.
Cameron started the company in 1967 and, when they were old
enough and capable, his three sons joined the fold. Troy, Carmen
and Lyle all worked for the company in 1995 when it took on the
Highway 5 job near Saskatoon.
Today, Carmen’s son-in-law, Darcey, is employed as the compa-ny’s
“One of the big things for us is the family-type atmosphere,” said
Sherry Duncan, who is Carmen’s wife and the person who overlooks
all safety and human resources with the company. “We are nobody
and get nowhere if we don’t have returning staff. We have our core
staff that comes back every season, and because we have a family
atmosphere, everyone feels needed and wanted and valued. That’s
because they are.
“Absolutely, we’re a well-run business and Cameron and Carmen
know how to read the industry. But it’s the staff that has been wel-comed
by this family that has been instrumental in creating the suc-cess
“As with anything, if you treat people the right way, then they’ll
stick with you and be loyal to you,” he said.
At 15, Carmen quit school and started officially working for his
father. There were moments, especially during his early teen years,
when he had doubts of working for his father, or whether it was the
right career path.
He’s weathered the ups and downs and wrestled with frustrations
that are often associated with any job. Carmen admitted to walking
away from job sites on a couple of occasions only to turn around and
go back to the job and the life he loves.
“There was always a little bit of a doubt in the back of my mind
when I was a younger man,” he said. “I married my high school
sweetheart (my wife); that solidified in my mind what direction I
was going in and what I wanted to do.
“After we had a family, there was nothing else I wanted to do ex-cept
be the owner and operator of Duncan Construction and run
this company and make my dad proud.”
As with most fathers, Cameron’s influence played a major role
in Carmen’s dedication to his work. Cameron was a former presi-dent
of the Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association of
Saskatchewan in 1980, so he carried some big weight. Carmen said
he sensed some of his co-workers felt he had an easier go of things
because he was the son of the owner. But that wasn’t the case.
“Dad always pushed me to be better and to strive to have that
sharper edge,” said Carmen. “He always told me that if I was going to
be the boss that I had to lead by example. Sometimes that was hard.
When you’re in that 18 to 25 age range, you want to go out with the
boys. But you had to be careful and come back ready to work hard.
My dad has been my mentor, always has been.”
His mother also played a significant role in the company’s suc-cess;
however, her hands were used for different purposes. Peggy
cooked meals for the company camp, and her skills in the kitch-en
were legendary, so much so that she was known throughout the
road construction industry for the best home-cooked meals around.
“As with anything, if you
treat people the right way,
then they’ll stick with you
and be loyal to you.”
– Carmen Duncan
Minister of Highways and
Infrastructure David Marit
and Carmen Duncan
26 Think BIG | Quarter 3 2017 | saskheavy.ca