Sussex, New Brunswick
President,Vic Progressive Diamond Drilling,providing contract drillingfor the mining industry2011 Revenue:$5–$10 million; sales are up21 percent from 2010
Employees:Started with four in 1987,growing to more than 100 today
Why we love her:Because she wasn’t afraid to gounderground and ended up on top.
While studying business inuniversity, Laura Araneda askedher dad to take her into one of hismines. “He was a bit surprised thatI’d want to go, you know, becauseI’m a girl. But I come from a longline of miners and grew up withthe lore and the adventure.” Onceunderground, “I was hooked,” shesays. So Laura convinced her dadto let her become a driller’s helperdeep in the mine. “It was cold andwet, and you had to keep movingto stay warm — it was a differentworld. At the end of the shift Iwould drive the tractor up the tunnel,which was an adventure in itself.”She completed her degree andworked her way up in the company,becoming president in 2005.
“I ask for multipleoffers for each financing deal I do.I don’t assume that one financialinstitution will always give me thebest rate.”
In 2009,when the economy tanked, Laurarallied the management team anddeveloped a strategy. “We focusedon our existing customers to helpthem find efficiencies and get goodresults in a very tough market.” Itworked. “Our financials suffered,but not catastrophically as somany other companies’ did.”
Laura is thedriving force behind the company’seco-policies, developing equipmentthat minimizes environmentalimpact and adopting less disruptiveexploratory-drilling practices.“Mining has a bad rap. Our goal isto leave no footprint. You shouldn’tbe able to see where we’ve been.”