Published on September 21, 2022
Sinclair Supply Ltd. was built on a foundation of putting people first. As the local family-grown business celebrates 75 years in operation, it is investing, not just in people, but their futures as well.
What began as Walter Sinclair’s modest stove and heating business operating out of a two-car Edmonton garage has grown to 17 branches across Western Canada. That growth is thanks to a visionary labourer with a Grade 8 education who came to work for him in 1947, becoming owner and president 25 years later.
Maintaining Sinclair as a brand out of profound respect for Walter, Dan Sorochan’s people-centred approach served as the driving force behind the company’s success. That included training people and putting them to work as a way of helping them to get ahead.
With his passing in 2019, Dan’s daughters Cindy and Kim Sorochan, alongside company CEO Dean Herman, are continuing his legacy, establishing a $75,000 endowment for NAIT student scholarships in honour of Sinclair Supply’s 75th anniversary. The gift brings Sinclair Supply Ltd.’s lifetime donations to NAIT to $340,000.
“Dad always wanted to help the underdog,” Kim says, adding the endowment will provide an annual scholarship to those who may not otherwise be able to afford post-secondary education. “It’s a direct investment into industry and to carrying [industry] forward. That’s what dad wanted to do.”
Investing in trades
Sinclair Supply Ltd. has been a dedicated supporter of HVAC and sheet metal education at NAIT since its first endowment in 1989, a testament to Dan’s business philosophy of growing strong together.
“Sinclair is here to stay,” says Kim. “In order to grow, we have to invest in people. And in order to get the people we need; we need to invest in education.”
"Investing in trades just makes sense," says Cindy, who learned from her father just how vital trades are to the economy and to society as every home, building and structure is touched by them in one way or another. “People will always need the trades,” she says. “It’s a hands-on essential service.”
Matthew Lindberg, NAIT’s dean of the School of Skilled Trades, says that skilled tradespeople are essential to Alberta, now more than ever.
“In this era of post-pandemic economic recovery, trades are vital to moving our economy forward. Endowments like these, that are directed toward supporting students who may not otherwise be able to afford skills education, will have a positive and ongoing impact well beyond the classroom.”
About Sinclair Supply Ltd.
Sinclair Supply Ltd. is a top choice for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) contractors in western Canada. From humble beginnings in 1946, Sinclair Stove and Heating grew out of a simple two-car garage in Edmonton, Alberta. Dan Sorochan, who started as a general-purpose employee, quickly rose through the ranks to become a manager. By 1972, he was the sole owner and president. From there, he grew the company to its current size of 17 branches serving Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
For 75 years, Sinclair has kept pace with advancements and innovations throughout the industry. Adapting to changing trends and economic climates, Sinclair maintains an active inventory, responding to the increasing demand for HVACR parts.
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With 35,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to the provincial economy. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping business and industry become more competitive with Industry Solutions offered through its Productivity and Innovation Centre, including technology adoption, business and product innovation and industry-driven research. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.