Ches Penney an ‘ in­spi­ra­tion’

Car­bon­ear na­tive one of nine in­vested into Or­der of New­found­land

The Compass - - ORTHTE -

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.

Mea­sur­able con­tri­bu­tion

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.

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