Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak
EyeOpener October 13, 2020 Family Business and Community
October is Economic and Community Development Month
Odell played a video of O Canada to open the meeting with 13 members present
Over the weekend, Rob and Liz celebrated 45 years of marriage, Morris and Lou 40
Robyn offered Food for Thought on our perception of colour influenced by information we are given or have experienced. In experiments, when not prompted, subjects were split on the colour of a 50-50 mixture being blue or purple. As the blue content dropped in the swatch and subjects were told it was dropping, more people saw blue even though purple was predominant. Testers identified this as influence on the brain through prior experience. Further research saw this effect in evaluating severity of threats, soundness of development plans and other aspects of decision making.
Alan will offer Food for Thought next meeting.
Happy Bucks
  • Anniversary tour of Calgary’s Barley Belt with our daughter
  • Taking advantage of quieter times watching videos, reading books. For example on Netflix, regenerative farming, coral reef bleaching
  • Accepted community service award from province on behalf of Ken Drever
  • Many enjoyed family Thanksgiving, especially for harvest being complete
  • Have a new kitten, after losing 2 cats earlier this year. Grandchildren are enjoying as much as we are
  • Cabin winterized, garden harvested
  • Fun Photo Scavenger Hunt this Friday to Sunday. Information at
  • 2021 Rotary Cares tickets are available, $100, 300 tickets, 10 draws of $1,000
  • Mary Drader, from the Drayton Valley club, made a presentation to the Vegreville club about her 2011 National Immunization Day (NID) trip to India
  • The Wainwright club commented that the Battle River Watershed Alliance had made a particularly good presentation to their club
  • Larry followed up on the Booster article about the Camrose Disc Golf Club making a presentation to City Council proposing a 9-hole course in Jubilee Park. He contacted Brendan McKinstry, presenter. A copy of the presentation is attached. (If you are reading this apart from the EyeOpener email, contact me at to get a copy)
Presentation – Family Business and Community, Cliff Drever
The Drever family has personified business and community involvement going hand-in-hand for 200 years – in 1820 William Drever left the Orkney Islands to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company in York Factory.
This is a summary of the entrepreneurial spirit that runs through the Drever family. A copy of the full presentation is attached. If you are reading this apart from the email, request a copy from Cliff,, it is worth reading.
William Drever
  • started one of the first stores in Winnipeg – at Portage and Main
  • with son William Jr operated oxen wagon trains to the US
  • was friends with Louis Riel until Riel’s alliance with US Irishmen
  • daughter Mary married Col McLeod, went west
  • worked for the railroad; when rails reached Hardisty bought land with son William Cyril
  • farmed land but did not work well together
Grandfather William Cyril
  • told Cliff “Kiss a pretty girl, get some horses, you can raise a family (he had 8 children) and have a great life farming.”
  • turned horses loose in the fall to go to BC to work logging
  • returned in the spring to track down horses and put in a crop – he put in 72
  • told Cliff “The first 50 crops are the worst, then it gets slightly better – JUST keep working.”
  • was on county council, life-long Mason, grandma was voted top hockey fan and was involved with all the local charities
Father Ken (in Hardisty)
  • Hardisty bank burning down led to opportunity to work in the bank
  • worked evenings and weekends delivering barrels of fuel
  • decided working for fuel agent had more opportunity than working for the bank, quit the bank
  • followed his father’s advice and bought a quarter of land rather than a motorcycle (Cliff’s daughter owns the land now)
  • bought the fuel business when the owner moved to Wetaskiwin
  • raised 5 children and took in boarders and other family
  • on town council and managed the local hockey team which meant giving jobs to players and wife Iris supplying room and board to some of them
Father Ken (in Camrose)
  • in 1965 Ken took on the Camrose BA bulk station and moved the family to Camrose – saying moving to Camrose was one of the best things he ever did
  • incredibly involved in local service clubs – president of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Masonic Lodge
  • founding member of the Battle River Community Foundation which he really believed in and still does
  • wife Iris was a member of the Eastern Star, Royal Purple and UCW helping with many suppers and bake sales. Prepared ham dinners for many Farmers Bonspiels
  • thinking Camrose needed a modern hotel Ken built the Crystal Springs in 1976. Boom times meant staff was in short supply – as soon as he turned 18, Cliff was a bouncer and his sisters served in the restaurant and Kaborai
Cliff in Camrose
  • started grade 1 in Camrose across schoolyard from Elliott family, their Vet Clinic and best friend Eric
  • Red Elliott was a great mentor helping Cliff learn:
    • how to take care of cattle and horses
    • participate in C-sections and deliver calves
    • treat cats and dogs
    • shoe horses
    • get over something dying
  • Red and his uncles inspired Cliff’s passion for livestock. Uncle David bringing him a Shetland pony in grade 5 and seeing it jump out of the back of the pickup was the best sight in the world!
  • an Edmonton Journal paper route in grade 6 taught basics of small business – the importance of being on time and collecting money
  • saved money from the paper route was used to buy a cow – she had a heifer calf and the herd was started from there
  • following his dad’s saying: “If you are working, you are not spending”, Cliff worked after school and on weekends at his dad’s bulk plant, washed floors at night at Meryl Glenn’s grocery store and pumped gas at Thompson’s service station
Cliff in Hardisty
  • on graduation from CCHS in 1977 Cliff along with his sister and brother-in-law moved to Hardisty to take off the crop on the farm because of a severe staff shortage
  • one semester at Olds college, seemingly beer drinking 101, was enough, Cliff wanted to work
  • best thing Cliff ever did was marry Beverly Green in 1980
  • Bev taught Sunday school, was secretary of the local REA and had their first child by 20
  • Bev has always had a deep respect for nature, people, the environment
  • having been an Air Cadet, Cliff always wanted a pilot’s licence. Taking training in Wainwright one winter to get his licence enabled him to broaden his business horizons and get some far-flung ranching land in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan
Cliff and Bev in Camrose
  • in 1992, after 15 years in Hardisty, the family, now with 4 children, moved to Camrose to take over the Petro Canada bulk plant as Ken was retiring
  • partnered with friend Eric Elliott to operate Battle River Dodge until 2000
  • BSE in 2003 demanded changes in the cattle business. Partnered with Christoph Weder to start Prairie Heritage Beef producers. Along with about a dozen other ranch families PHB became the largest exporter of beef to Europe marketing natural beef products to Italy, Switzerland, the UK as well as across Canada
  • at the same time, they got involved in Ranchers Beef building a state of the art cattle processing plant in Balzac to address the weak link in Canadian beef production
  • Prairie Halal was started and marketed beef to high end restaurants in Dubai. Where do you find an operations guy in Dubai? At the bottom of the indoor ski hill, of course!
  • The fuel business has grown to locations in Vegreville, Wetaskiwin and Coronation
  • Partnerships include:
    • Prairie Tire
    • Prairie Crop Supplies
    • Prairie Water & Equipment
    • Fieldstone Developments
The Next Generation
  • Daughter Lyndell and Ryan Mowat
    • farm New Norway and Hardisty, 2 children
    • Lyndell is a counselor and started a pet bereavement business
  • Son Ross and Jacqueline
    • operate Drever Tech, 3 children
    • started Fintech company in the auto repair industry
  • Son David and Lyndsey
    • operate D&D Vehicle Sales, 2 children
    • operate the Petro Canada business
  • Son Lee and Kiersten
    • operate the farm in Hardisty, expecting 1st child
    • grass finished beef, bison and organic grains are new farm ventures
    • changed calving in winter to May and June on grass, finish on grass the next year – seems good fit for operation and the environment
Values passed through generations
  • work hard
  • entrepreneurial spirit
  • help others in tough times
  • believe in agriculture
  • small busines is important
    • to the local economy
    • employing people
    • giving back to the community
Contributors to success
  • great family, friends, mentors
  • business associates, long-term employees
  • Camrose community
Cliff’s final thoughts “Camrose and area is such a great community to live and do business in – Rotary is one of the ways that we can give back to the community which has been so good to our family in the past and I am confident that the future will be just as good if we all work together and support each other through these challenging times.”
Next meeting Tuesday October 20, 7:00 am. Odell has sent Zoom invitations