Aaron Rokstad, founder and CEO of Rokstad Power, was awarded the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Pacific 2014 in the Energy Category at a gala event held on September 30, 2014.

It was October 2008, just as the global financial crisis was unfolding, when Rokstad took a $100,000 home equity loan and decided to branch out on his own. He left his job at Quanta Services, the largest electric power services contractor in North America, which in 2001 bought a company his father had started, Allteck Line Contractors. Rokstad spent six years at Quanta until deciding, as his father had, that he wanted to build something of his own. Launching a business during the worst credit crunch in generations turned out to be a crash course in financing for Rokstad and his team. “It taught us how to get by without it,” he says.

His startup company, Empirica Energy Inc., focused on both civil works and erecting power lines for utilities. Rokstad started it with a partner, but after three years they decided to part ways. As a result of that restructuring in October 2011, the focus was solely on power line work and Rokstad Power Corp. was formed.

Today, Rokstad Power’s clients include major utilities such as BC Hydro and AltaLink and private companies such as SNC Lavalin, Rogers and Imperial Metals. The company employs more than 600 people and is expected to generate close to $200 million in revenues this year, driven by an aggressive expansion into new markets across Western Canada and parts of the U.S.