UVic honours entrepreneur Jim Pattison

Self-made B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison is the University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.

“We are delighted to recognize Jim as our 2020 recipient,” Peter Gustavson, chair of the selection committee, said in a Thursday statement. “He has set the standard for innovation in entrepreneurship and this award is a testament to his business acumen, ingenuity and vision.”

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The award will be presented May 27 at the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year gala at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Pattison heads the diverse Jim Pattison Group, one of Canada’s largest privately held companies. It has 46,000 employees world-wide, annual sales of $10.6 billion and operates in 541 locations.

Companies cover a wide range of sectors such as food services, packaging, distribution, manufacturing, communications, entertainment, transportation, automobile sales, agricultural equipment, forest products, export services and real estate. They include Save-On-Foods and Overwaitea Foods, Canadian Fishing Co., Ocean Brands seafood products, the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Ripley Entertainment and Guinness World Records.

The company’s roots go back to 1961 when Pattison bought a General Motors dealership. He borrowed $40,000 from the Royal Bank of Canada and used his home and life insurance policy as collateral.

Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School, said Pattison’s ability to “grow and transform a business is truly something to be celebrated. His entrepreneurial skills are an inspiration to our students and community leaders, and we are delighted to be able to celebrate him.”

Pattison has served as a director on a number of public-company boards on both the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. He is a trustee on the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

In B.C., he served as president and chief executive of Expo 86, staged in Vancouver.

Honours include the Order of Canada and Order of B.C.

According to CEOWORLD magazine, he is the sixth wealthiest person in Canada, with an estimated net worth of $5.7 billion.

Known also for philanthropy, Pattison matched $5 million in donations from people in Greater Victoria toward the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Building Care Together campaign to buy state-of-the-art medical equipment for the Royal Jubilee Hospital. The campaign wrapped up 2014 after raising more than $25 million.

The Jubilee’s ground-floor lobby in its patient care tower was named the Jim Pattison Atrium and Concourse.

Past winners

2019 Sue Paish, Digital Technology Supercluster and former CEO of Life Labs and Pharmasave

2018: Stewart Butterfield, Slack

2017: Don Mattrick, Microsoft

2016: Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar Corp.

2015: David Foster, music producer

2014: Dennis Washington, industrialist

2013: Brandt C. Louie, London Drugs

2012: Dennis (Chip) Wilson, Lululemon

2011: JR Shaw, Shaw Communications

2010: Alex Campbell Sr., Thrifty Foods

2009: Sir Terence Matthews, Mitel Corp.

2008: Clive Beddoe,WestJet

2007: David Black, Black Press

2006: Gwyn Morgan, Encana

2005: Dave Ritchie, Ritchie Bros.

2004: Jeff Mallett, Yahoo!

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