From his birth in modest circumstances in rural Saskatchewan to Chairman, President, CEO and sole proprietor, all rolled into one, Jimmy Pattison is a uniquely Canadian entrepreneur.
The Jim Pattison Group, with over ten thousand employees, is involved in transportation, communications, food products, packaging and financial services with “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” thrown in for good measure.
From age 12 onward, Jimmy Pattison honed his extraordinary entrepreneur skills on the one thing he liked best – selling – first, garden seeds, then at UBC he would look for a used car in the classified ads every night, buy it for perhaps two hundred dollars, drive it out to the campus, sell it to a fellow student for two hundred and fifty dollars and take the bus home that evening. After that, a share in his first GM dealership – Bow Mac – and the rest is history.
Perhaps his greatest contribution to the Province was his genius in insuring that EXPO ’86 World’s Fair was an unparalleled success. Although others may have had the initial vision for Expo ’86, it was Jimmy Pattison who was the expediter – the one more than anyone else who made it happen. He demanded much of his team but no more than he himself was prepared to give. This he did, almost full-time over a five-year period, without compensation, and in spite of the demands of his own burgeoning business empire.
Mr. Pattison, through EXPO ’86 and his business expertise, has brought kudos and credibility to British Columbia. He has helped to showcase Vancouver as one of the major centres of the world.
On his office wall this statement appears: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”
Today, Jimmy Pattison gets the credit.