Without the help and support from his community, friends and business mentors, Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) member Steven Stark (Slə́qsit) says he would not be where he is today.
His newest business venture, Two Worlds Transportation (TWT), is an Indigenous-led shuttle and motorcoach service created in collaboration between Stark’s Tsawwassen Shuttles and TRAXX Holdings Inc.
“I think what is important, is that a major corporation that is highly successful already … is wanting to work with a small Indigenous business to enhance opportunities and showcase that people can bridge those gaps and help lift smaller businesses up,” says Stark.
TWT will provide service throughout Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest with Stark as the business’s president, offering services to Indigenous communities, businesses and organizations, the provincial and federal government, as well as for tourism and education purposes.
“We would like to try to introduce ourselves to all [the Indigenous communities across B.C.]. We know there’s a market that could be there for sports and recreation, elders programs, youth programs, and community events,” says Stark.
He says he is honoured to be working alongside the “core group” that he does, including Brian Payer who is the director of TWT, Matthew Cox who is the president and CEO of TRAXX, VP of Business Jack Craven and VP of Excellence at TRAXX Sean Richard.
“We’ve seen that a small Indigenous business has a lot to offer TRAXX in this new world, this new landscape that’s being unfolded in front of us, and it’s quite complicated, this landscape,” says Stark.
The self-identified “serial entrepreneur” says he is grateful to be named president of TWT, and that he hopes it will bring new economic opportunities to Delta and TFN.
The company’s logo, which depicts the two-headed serpent Sisiutl in front of the Vancouver skyline and Twin Lions Mountains, was created by Jody Wilson, a long-time friend of Stark’s and a talented local Coast Salish artist.
It represents the old world and the new world coming together, explains Stark, which is where the name Two Worlds Transportation comes from.
The Sisiutl is in the centre to protect what lies behind and ahead of it, while the lines converging at the bottom of the logo symbolize interlocked hands.
The text below the hands, written in Halkomelem, translates to “working together,” he says.
Stark emphasizes the importance of TFN’s treaty in having successful business ventures, infrastructure developments and opportunities like it has seen.
“It is also to be reminded that it’s the people that have helped me to get here – it is the Nation, it is also the success of the treaty that allows us to get to where we need to go, as well. It’s important not to forget where you started and why,” he says.He hopes that everyone, including business owners, slows down and takes the time to introduce themselves, to build relationships with one another and to help one another, as that is when great things happen.