Welcome to 2022 – An Interview with Pat Ritchie, VP of Sales & Marketing

Instead of setting some new year’s resolutions for 2022 (which I have done in the past with varying degrees of success), I’m trying a new approach. I’ve set an “intention word” for the year. For 2022, my word is “Action” – mainly because I have a bit of a tendency to procrastinate, but also, with all the pandemic restrictions from the last 2 years, I’ve gotten a little, shall we say, sluggish, so I want to get my “action” back on.

But resolutions or intention words aren’t just for individuals, they can be for organizations as well. I thought that the start of a new year would be a good time to connect with Pat Ritchie, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at Suncor (proud parent of Petro-Canada). Pat sets the direction for everyone who works on the Petro-Canada brand, and with 2022 being a year we’re all looking to start fresh; I was keen to hear his thoughts and plans.

PumpTalk: Pat, thank you for taking the time to chat about your vision for 2022. First, can you tell me a bit more about your role and history at Suncor?

PR: While I’m new to the role of VP, Sales & Marketing (moved into this role in June of 2021), I’ve been at Suncor since 1996 and part of the team supporting Petro-Canada throughout this time. In this role, I have the great fortune of leading the team that makes sure Canadians can get to what matters most to them.

PT: When you think about 2022, what comes to mind for Petro-Canada?

PR: Like many Canadians, I am hopeful when I think about 2022. Hopeful because I know Petro-Canada has a role to play in Canadian communities. In particular, I think about our associates and their staff - the folks who work at your local Petro-Canada stations as well as those that ensure business and farmers have fuel – who continue to put in all their effort to ensure the safety and security of our guests. This isn’t just in the ongoing daily cleaning and sanitizing efforts, but efforts that go above and beyond in support of local needs such as charities or stepping up to support relief efforts. It has been a tough few years but I am so proud of our team of associates. They truly are amazing people.

A few examples come to mind:

  • Retailer Sam Singh, who operates 10 of our Petro-Canada locations in Toronto, matched the $10,000 donation that we gave to each store manager to invest in their community and donated $20,000 to support the North York Harvest Foodbank.
  • The team at Coastal Mountain Fuels who supported recent relief efforts during the massive flooding in British Columbia. They moved a fuel tank from Langley to Chilliwack in one day so that volunteers who were helping people get out of inaccessible areas by boat had the fuel they needed to carry on.
  • The folks at Frew Energy in Ontario who sent emergency supplies of hay to farmers experiencing drought.

Bottom line, our site operators strive every day to Live By The Leaf and support not only customers but also the communities in which they live and work.

Another reason I’m hopeful for 2022 is the great work being done by the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation. They just celebrated their first anniversary and have already made a positive impact on Canadian family caregivers from coast to coast. We could not have predicted that the pandemic would have impacted us the way it has, but we can expect that the demands on family caregivers will only increase; we are proud to be able to continue to help.

PT: 2021 was a difficult year across Canada for Indigenous Peoples. The ongoing recovery of children at former Residential School sites across the country has shone a spotlight on the importance of Truth and Reconciliation efforts. How do you see Petro-Canada continuing to address this?

PR: We know that we have so much to learn about how we can best actively participate in Truth and Reconciliation. I know personally, I continue to learn every day. When we commissioned Indigenous artists to create murals at six of our locations – Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver – to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I was truly humbled by ferocious honesty of the artists who have shared their stories and vision for Truth and Reconciliation on murals at our sites. These pieces of art help all of us to appreciate Indigenous experiences in an unbiased and undiluted way. I’m excited for more of them to roll out in 2022 as we continue this important conversation.

PT: The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games start next week. The decision for Canadians to compete at the Games has been controversial. How does this affect Petro-Canada’s position as a National Partner with the Canadian Olympic Committee?

PR: As a National Sponsor for the Olympics our efforts have always been focused on supporting those who wear the leaf and compete for Canada. If Canadians are competing at the Games, we will be there to support those athletes, coaches and their family. We’re proud to have 30 athletes who received our FACE grant over the years headed to Beijing to compete. And next month we’ll announce our Fuelling Athletes Coaching Excellence (FACE) Class of 2022 – 55 pairs of athletes and coaches who are up and coming stars in their sports – and continue to support their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

I personally really love watching the Olympic and Paralympic Games and can’t wait to watch our athletes compete and bring home the Gold!

PT: Aside from your plans for the Petro-Canada brand, any new year’s resolutions or goals on the personal side?

PR: With the restrictions over the past 2-years I have spent a great deal of time sitting at a desk in my house. I’ve set a goal to get 10,000 steps per day. This is a goal that has made my dogs very happy.

PT: Pat, thank you for chatting with me about 2022. Any final thoughts?

PR: We can’t be certain what 2022 has in store for us. But we know this: helping to move Canadians towards what matters most to them is what we do. We know that energy needs continue to change, and we are committed to adapting to the changing needs of Canadians. And we know that no matter what lies ahead, we will be there together.

~ Kate T.

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