Rusty Ensign - Personal History

A West Kelowna resident his entire life, Rusty Ensign has grown up with our community and he has witnessed West Kelowna grow and change from its early agricultural roots to the small, thriving city it has now become.

The oldest of four children, Rusty grew up on the family’s small cattle ranch and like many growing up on a family farm, he learned how to work at an early age. Involved in sports as a youth Rusty learned how to be a team player. BrothersAs a 4-H member he learned public speaking skills, learned to do by doing, won a Provincial Championship and was given many life skills. Rusty attended school in one of then six classrooms at Westbank Elementary, served as student council vice president and later graduated from Mt. Boucherie Senior Secondary.

After attending Okanagan College academics for one year he worked on the oil rigs in Alberta before returning home to log the family ranch. This paid for a two year working holiday in Australia, South East Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Resourcefulness, Self-reliance, independence and dealing with bureaucracies were valuable lessons learned on this life altering adventure.

Rusty, along with his brothers, Chris and Cam formed Ensign Bros. Sand & Gravel Ltd. in 1982. In May, 1983, Rusty suffered a broken neck while playing rugby for the Kelowna Crows Rugby Club in Edmonton. The resulting spinal cord injury rendered him a quadriplegic. There was no more arguing between the brothers as to who was going to do the office work.

The company grew and eventually employed over 20 people in many capacities. Diversifying from the original sand & gravel business to excavation, trucking, road building, snow plowing, demolition, forestry, ready-mix, site servicing, site preparation private and public works projects. The original gravel pit is now developed into a 19-acre industrial park that now employs over 100 people with quality jobs. Over the past twenty-five years, the Ensign family including their sister Shauna developed part of the old farm into Shannon Heights Developments ( residential subdivision. This included bringing sewer and water to the area, building important road connections and dedicating the seven acre Shannon Way Park.