Grant Larocque, Orchard Transport

When selecting the 2018 Chairman’s Award recipient, CAAR board chair Don Kitson knew the award needed to go to Grant Larocque, a long-time board member and ardent association supporter.

“Grant has given eight years of service, holding various positions on the board,” said Kitson when he introduced the Chairman’s Award at the CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet. “He has been a tireless volunteer for the association.”

This “tireless” volunteerism has taken on many forms over the years, including both formal and informal duties. As board chair himself from 2014-16, Larocque directed the association’s activities, doing everything in his power to promote a strong board for the association – something he sees as vital for the health of the industry.

“A strong, diverse board will be able to serve the needs of every type of ag retail, no matter how big or small,” says Larocque. “With a strong board, CAAR can lend a hand to fight for responsible regulation and legislation – as one group and one voice.”

Along with his formal duties, Larocque has made numerous informal, but invaluable contributions toward boosting the association’s visibility within the industry. Over the years, Kitson says there was always a good chance you could find Larocque at any industry meeting, special announcement or other ag event in his home province of Saskatchewan.

At these events, Kitson says Larocque was always proudly wearing a CAAR badge on his coat and doing his part to make sure the association was represented. He would also report information back to CAAR staff and his fellow board members who were not able to make it out.

For Larocque, representing CAAR in this way didn’t feel like an extra obligation, but rather a mantle he took up with pride. To him, anything that supports CAAR in turn supports the industry he loves.

“CAAR is very essential for this industry, to hold the industry together,” says Larocque. “Agriculture is such an important part of life for every person on this planet. It feels honorable to have been able to contribute to the advancement of ag retail in Canada.”

In late 2018, Larocque informed the board that after nearly a decade of lending his time and talents to CAAR, he was stepping down to focus on an increased role with Orchard Transport. Larocque has worked with Orchard, an independent Saskatchewan retailer, for nearly 25 years and has held the role of ag services operations manager for more than 10 years.

Over the course of the last year, Larocque has taken on managing even more of the company’s operations after the unfortunate passing of its co-owner, Frank Orchard. Although CAAR’s board and staff knew that Larocque would excel in this new challenge, it was sad news for the association to hear that he was departing.

But even as he steps back, Larocque saw another chance to promote CAAR. During CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet, Larocque took the opportunity to encourage other members to step up and get involved, especially urging younger people working in ag retail to bring their ideas to the association.

“The CAAR board is always looking for new ideas and fresh eyes to carry the work forward,” he said. “Especially to all the young people out there, don’t ever think that anything you could do would be insignificant. CAAR needs good people, interested people.”
CAAR thanks Larocque for the expertise, enthusiasm and encouraging presence he has always brought to the table. Even in the face of challenges that have created hurdles for the association, Kitson says Larocque’s calm, reassuring demeanor has never wavered.

Don’t ever think that anything you could do would be insignificant. CAAR needs good people, interested people. Grant Larocque

“Grant has always brought a positive outlook to CAAR, even when dealing with challenges like industry consolidation. He has a cool head and I’ve always appreciated that,” says Kitson “He has built bridges between CAAR and numerous industry players that remain to this day. He demonstrates respect to everyone he meets. When you work with him, it is enjoyable, respectful and rewarding. Grant is a true gentleman.”

Before departing the stage, and his involvement with CAAR for the time being, Larocque gave a final eloquent and heartfelt thank-you.

“I would like to thank my wife and my family for all their support,” he says. “It takes the support of numerous people to achieve things in your life. And CAAR has definitely been one of the great experiences of my life. Thank you very much, once again.”

Do you know a CAAR member who deserves to be recognized? Click here to download application forms for the 2019 CAAR’s Choice Awards.

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