Ches Penney an ‘ inspiration’
Carbonear native one of nine invested into Order of Newfoundland
Carbonear native and noted entrepreneur Ches Penney was one of nine individuals invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
It was just the latest in a long list of accolades and awards for Penney, who started his first business in 1958.
The ceremony took place at Government House in St John’s, and was hosted by Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie.
“ These individuals exemplify the reasons for which the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador was established,” stated Mr. Crosbie.
“ Through their passion and dedication to the endeavours which each has pursued, these men and women have been leaders in building the strong, proud and caring community which characterizes Newfoundland and Labrador today. They are citizens able and willing to pull their weight.”
Others invested include the following: Melbourne Alton Best, Dr. Angus A. Bruneau, Sister Elizabeth Davis, Frances Elizabeth Ennis, Susan Green, Dr. Wayne Nesbit, Lanier W. Phillips and Frances Vardy.
The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador is the highest honour of the province and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour benefitting Newfoundland and Labrador — and its residents — in an outstanding manner.
The first investiture took place in 2004.
Penney was praised for an entrepreneurial spirit that has “made a measurable contribution to Newfoundland and Labrador’s economic prosperity.”
Penney is the founder of the Penney Group, which began its development in the construction industry in the 1970s. Today, it has grown into a diversified business consortium that employs several thousand people seasonally.
Pennecon Limited remains the construction arm of the Penney Group, and through its heavy civil, concrete, real estate and energy services divisions it employs 1,500 people at its peak.
The automotive group comprises 12 automotive and recreational dealerships, which are located in St. John’s, Gander, Grand FallsWindsor, and Moncton, New Brunswick.
In addition, Penney Group is involved in a large scale real estate development project in Nova Scotia.
The Penney Group is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest private sector employers, and its operations “ have benefited countless communities and people in this province,” according to a news release.
Penney has been actively involved with the Canadian Red Cross, in particular with the personal flotation device loan program. Through his generosity the program has been able to expand to achieve a 25 per cent increase in the personal flotation device loans.
The Red Cross bestowed its humanitarian award on Penney in 2007.
In 2009, together with his business partners, Penney made a commitment to the YM/YWCA of Northeast Avalon to donate $1 million towards the construction of a new facility. The recently opened facility is known as the Ches Penney Family Y.
“It is Mr. Penney’s compassion and humanitarian spirit that serve as an inspiration to many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” the news release stated.
A big family
Penney was born in Carbonear in 1932, the eldest of 12 children. After completing high school, he moved to St. John’s at age 16 to work as a bank teller, eventually working his way up to branch manager in Grand Falls. He opened his own business — an auto parts store — in 1958, and never looked back.
He overcame bankruptcy and built a business enterprise that has tentacles reaching into a variety of sectors — automotive, offshore oil and gas, ship repair, steel fabrication, marine terminal services, real estate and seafood processing.
Nominations for the next induction into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador may be made until Jan. 31, 2012. Any person or group may nominate an individual for recognition by the Order. The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador Advisory Council selects members to be invested into the Order after considering all nominations received.
For more, visit www.gov.nl.ca/onl.