Business of the Year: Schulte Group of Companies.

Author:Moen, Keith
Position:Saskatchewan Business Magazine

It's truly our honour to bestow the 2005 Saskatchewan Business Magazine Business of the Year Award to Schulte Group of Companies. Located in the tiny, mid-central Saskatchewan community of Englefeld, population 265, Schulte Group of Companies consists of Schulte Industries and Schulte USA Inc. A fixture in the Saskatchewan implement manufacturing sector, Schulte Group of Companies epitomizes the ingenuity, resourcefulness, resiliency and compassion we typically seek in determining our Business of the Year.


In fact Schulte was such a compelling candidate that we even modified our criteria of being a Saskatchewan-based company somewhat. By virtue of its origins and longstanding history as a Saskatchewan company, which dates back to 1932, we created a grandfather clause for Schulte, as it was purchased by an American conglomerate, Alamo Group, in 2000.

We justify our position in a couple of ways. Firstly, whether it be from an outside perspective or within, the purchase by Alamo has altered the company structure and operations very little. Although overseen by the Alamo Group, the company's direction has been the responsibility of its president, Jim Carnago, who has been with Schulte 40 years.

This brings us to our second, and likely more vital justification for altering our criteria. As of January 1, 2006, Carnago retired from his position with Schulte, making this our last opportunity to acknowledge the man who has been such an instrumental part of Schulte's growth, success and history.


Carnago, originally from Illinois, took out his Canadian citizenship in 1972, six years after moving to Canada. His background includes a four-year hitch in the U.S. Air Force (active), during which time he met his future wife, Lani Rae Schulte, John's daughter. The company founder obviously agreed with his daughter's judgment, offering Carnago a position with the company in 1966.

"I came up with no expectations," Carnago admits. "I went to work in the back of the plant to try and understand the business and really know what it was we were doing. I was as green as grass. I didn't know a rock picker from a wheel barrow, quite honestly."

Beginning on the production floor, Carnago worked his way through the company from the ground up. He went from the welding line to the machine shop, then to parts. This was followed by an integration into the sales and marketing side, where his skills came to the fore as the company's marketing manager.

"I felt that the future was going to be in export," Carnago says, "because I just didn't think that the domestic market down the line would carry the company and continue to make it grow."

"Our first export market was of course...

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