Saskatchewan·Future 40

Miguel Catellier credits bright ideas, books with businesses' sustainable success

At age 29, Miguel Catellier is CEO of two Saskatchewan companies. The 2018’s Future 40 winner’s biggest challenge? Managing the demand (and getting enough sleep).

29-year-old CEO of two Sask. companies credits success to learning, persistence

Miguel Catellier is a 2018 Future 40 winner. (Submitted to CBC)

Miguel Catellier's head was filled with big dreams before he had even turned 18. He wanted to start something new, important and perhaps even innovative.

He found himself at a network marketing company at age 17, straight out of high school. He learned sales strategies and discovered the world of entrepreneurship literature.

"Beautiful day in #scrapland. Cleaning up and making room for one of our customers today," wrote @trugreenmetal in this May 2017 Instagram post. (@trugreenmetal/Instagram)

"I sort of drank the Kool-Aid and started, you know, dreaming big," he said.

Catellier said he's read hundreds of business books. In his mind, his self-guided education correlates directly to his success.

"There's no chance that I'd be where I'm at if I hadn't done that," he said.

CEO life

"4th year at #farmprogressshow for @trugreenmetal. Another successful show. #scrapmetal #recycling #saskatchewan #alberta," wrote Catellier, or @migcatellier, in this June 23, 2018 Instagram post. (@migcatellier/Instagram)

Now the 29-year-old finds himself at the helm of two Saskatchewan start-ups, employing about 40 people and coordinating the efforts of dozens of teams across Sask. and Alberta.

Catellier's TruGreen Metal Recycling sends professional crews out to properties (mainly rural) across the prairies to pick up old metal objects and recycle them. The idea is not new, but Catellier credits his company's professionalism and credibility for its success.

"Here is another trugreen customer becoming their own power producer and using free and abundant solar energy to power their life!" wrote @trugreenenergy on Instagram. (@trugreenenergy/Instagram)

"Really today we're the largest in the space in Saskatchewan and Alberta," he said. "We've got a couple thousand people still on the list — all the time — and and I'm actually surprised that at the demand, frankly. Like every year I keep thinking it's got to slow down eventually and it really doesn't."

Catellier see even bigger opportunities for growth with TruGreen Energy, a company that retrofits buildings with solar panels in order to generate energy.

He credits his interest in solar to Elon Musk's life story and Saskatchewan's sunny disposition.

"For me it just made sense. If the energy that's hitting the roof of my house is enough to power my house, why wouldn't we just catch that and use it, right?" he said.

“You’ve been rusting here long enough, they want you gone... time to go!” wrote @trugreenmetal on Instagram. (@trugreenmetal/Instagram)

TrueGreen Energy is a SaskPower Energy Efficiency Partner. This means that their solar panel systems are tied to the grid using SaskPower's Net Metering Program.

"I think it's very evident that that's where the you know the future of energy is going,`Catellier said.

Saskatchewan is the number one place in all of Canada for solar potential. We've got the most sun here of anywhere. We've got some of the most expensive power rates of anywhere in Canada. And so it was really the perfect place I thought let's give it a try."

Learning and persistence key

"Another TruGreen Energy customer. The solar energy hitting your home is more than enough to power your life, you just have to catch it!" wrote @trugreenenergy in this August 2018 Instagram post. (@trugreenenergy/Instagram)

Humanity has not yet figured out how to store massive amounts of solar power (or any major energy source, for that matter). Catellier is confident that "the world's best minds" will figure it out in the foreseeable future and that when they do Saskatchewan's economy will radically change.

For now, the CEO working double duty is just trying to keep up.

"We actually got a flood of demand right off the hop, we've got over 3,000 consultation requests so far this year," he said. "Every single house, every municipal building, every school, every business — everything's a potential customer. So it's a very exciting business to be in."

As a 2018 Future 40 winner, Catellier's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs whose heads are swimming with big dreams is to never stop learning and never give up.

"Persistence and determination goes a lot farther than you know," he said. "You just need to really stick with it and continue trying until you find something that works."

Click here to read more about all of CBC Saskatchewan's 2018 Future 40 winners.

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