Congratulations You Struck Sand

When Edythe A. "Dee" Parkinson took over as executive vice-president in charge of Suncor Inc.'s sprawling Alberta mil-sands plant in 1991, many employees expected her to shut it down. High production costs had whittled pretax profit margins to less than $1.50 a barrel, even as an expensive expansion was needed. But the feisty Parkinson hadn't moved all the way from Ontario to northern Alberta--300 miles north of Edmonton--to give up on the world's first big oil-sands operation.

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