Published on January 31, 2019
Alumni Award of Distinction '01
As president and CEO of Guardian Chemicals , Stewart Roth is an advocate and supporter of responsible economic development in Alberta.
In the 30 years since he teamed up with fellow alum Wilf Nikolaj (Accounting ’80 ) to become shareholders and eventually purchase Guardian, the company has grown into one of the nation’s largest specialty chemical suppliers.
Guardian products are proprietary industrial process chemicals used in a variety of settings: mining, pulp and paper mills, transportation, oil and gas, water treatment, printing, firefighting and more.
By focusing on continuous improvement through research and development, the company has moved to the front end of the innovation curve – and into international markets.
As a result, Roth heads a growing crop of chemical companies spanning the United States, Egypt, Ecuador, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and China. A few, such as the U.S. oil and gas supplier Sierra Chemicals, have been sold to local managers.
“We practice intrapreneurship,” Roth says. “The ideas and technology come from within our company, but we encourage employees to take it to the next level and become involved financially.”
Roth also puts energy into growing community, whether the subject is education or ingenuity. Believing that success in business, as in community, depends on quality people, Guardian funds scholarships at NAIT and the University of Alberta, expanding the talent needed to continue diversifying Alberta’s economy.
— Cheryl Mahaffy