Suncor Day of Caring at The Redpoll Centre

“Not everyone likes to be organized, but there isn’t a single person who likes looking for something longer than they have to.”

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On July 17th, Suncor Energy and The United Way of Fort McMurray staff paired up for a unique Day of Caring®. For the team at United Way, it was unique in the sense that we are usually acting as the facilitator of Day of Caring® projects, matching local companies with member agencies. Instead, United Way, along with our neighbours in The Redpoll Centre, were on the receiving end of a Day of Caring. The team members from Suncor are no strangers to the act of giving. In the last two months alone, Suncor has worked with United Way to give back more than 280 volunteer hours to social profit agencies in Fort McMurray.


This time, it was the Continuous Improvement (CI) team who showed how much Suncor cares. The enthusiastic group of 14 arrived at The Redpoll Centre at Shell Place bright and early. The team, which comes from a variety of backgrounds ranging from engineering to human resources, works throughout Suncor to raise the bar. They get this done by empowering the people most impacted by the opportunity and facilitate the team through a structured process to eliminate waste, reduce variability in performance, and eliminate unnecessary complexity.


Together with United Way and our fellow tenants who make their home in the newly opened non-profit shared space, they led focus teams, each championing a specific area. The teams were broken into three main streams:
• Deployment of a visual management board with a space for idea generation and execution. (CI Tools used: Quality Station / Visual Management Board)
• Visually display the steps required to consistently complete a set of required tasks. (CI Tools used: Standard Work)
• Visually organize the workspace (CI Tool used: 5S – Sort; Set in Order; Shine; Standardize; Sustain)


With The Redpoll Centre being in the first few months in their new space, the assistance and fresh outlook came at a perfect time. Beyond knowledge sharing, the team ensured their advice was put in to practice. Before the day was through, teams had implemented best practices throughout The Redpoll Centre and reported back to all of the teams on what they had learned and accomplished.

Reflecting on the day, a Suncor staff member said, “It was a great opportunity for us to work together as a team as we usually are working throughout Suncor on different projects. Instead of a day spent on typical team-building exercises, this Day of Caring allowed us to work alongside our fellow teammates, learning more about each other’s expertise and achieving tangible results, all while building comradery.”

Another Suncor staff member also said, “We are excited how well this day has gone and this is a start of something wonderful. We want to continue to make an impact in our community. We will do so by working with United Way and other social profit organizations to tackle one challenge at a time.”

The team at The United Way of Fort McMurray is deeply grateful to the team from Suncor for their time and support. We look forward to carrying the knowledge forward and sharing it with the other 13 organizations who currently call The Redpoll Centre home.

Author: Michelle Davies

Michelle Davies is a Bachelor of Events and Tourism Management Student at Thompson Rivers University. She recently joined the United Way of Fort McMurray team as the Community Impact Events Coordinator. Although Michelle is new to Fort McMurray, she isn’t new to United Way previously serving as the Community Impact Associate of United Way TNC in Kamloops, British Columbia. During her four month term, Michelle will be focusing on events, increasing the capacity of Day of Caring projects and assisting our Community Impact team. She is looking forward to furthering her experience in the social profit world and giving back to the community of Fort McMurray. When Michelle isn’t studying or working, she is probably on her way up the nearest mountain hiking, biking, rock climbing or snowboarding. She thrives on interactions, experiences and adventures whether it be exploring in her own backyard or half way across the world.