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Ronald Banister


Ronald Kitchener Banister, the eighth child of nine, was born in Okotoks, Alberta on January 16, 1917. After graduating from high school in Okotoks, his career had many interesting turns.


His dream was to be an entrepreneur and own his own store, so accordingly, he opened Banister Hardware and Dry Goods in High River in the 1930's. This was during the tail end of the depression and his venture failed. After the ill fated retailing venture, he started selling life insurance for Sun Life. Ronald reflected that he was possibly the worst insurance salesman who ever lived.


When World War II started, Ronald enlisted in the Air Force and served as a navigator in 90 Squadron, 3 Group, Bomber Command of the RCAF that was attached to the Royal Air Force. He flew 32 missions in Europe in Stirlings and Lancasters. After his European tour, Ronald was honorably discharged while waiting in Vancouver for transfer to the Asian theater. He left the Air Force with the rank of Flight Lieutenant and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross.


Mr. Banister resumed his career by selling heavy construction equipment for Union Tractor in Calgary. After the war the biggest problem was getting equipment of any kind. After locating a used, Barber Green, ditching machine he spotted opportunity. Imperial Oil had just discovered oil in Leduc and surface flow lines were starting to be laid. After consulting his wife, he mortgaged their home for $1,500 and bought the machine. His entrepreneurial vision was to sub-contract ditching work to bury pipelines. This small idea blossomed into Banister Pipelines, a company that would grow and expand to lay pipelines in Canada, the U.S., and the Middle East.


Eventually, his pipeline venture financed the diversification of what is now Banister Inc., a world-class, diversified contractor that has operated in over thirty countries.


Career Summary:

  • 1943 Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross for Valour.
  • 1948 Founded Banister Pipelines.
  • 1987 Acquired Foundation Co.
  • 1989 Honourary Doctorate of Laws Degree - University of Alberta.
  • 1992 Acquired Majestic Pipeliner Co.
  • 1997 Inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.


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