Inductees tell youth to do what they love

James
James McLeod
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Manstan, Cahill, Great Big Sea among NL's business best

Three Newfoundland business success stories - Fred Cahill, Great Big Sea and Gordon Manstan - were inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Thursday.

The ceremony marked the 20th anniversary for the Hall of Fame, and the gala induction ceremonies have raised more than $1 million for Junior Achievement in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Three Newfoundland business success stories - Fred Cahill, Great Big Sea and Gordon Manstan - were inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Thursday.

The ceremony marked the 20th anniversary for the Hall of Fame, and the gala induction ceremonies have raised more than $1 million for Junior Achievement in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Junior Achievement is about working with young people and inspiring young people to be successful in whatever careers they might choose," said Sandra Patterson, president and CEO of Junior Achievement. "Having an opportunity to spend an evening and listen to the laureates who were inducted is certainly an inspiration for them."

The three inductees run the gamut from arts, to construction and business in Labrador, but each of the honourees had similar advice for the young people in the audience: try to do what you love, and approaching work with an entrepreneurial mindset can be a key for success.

"All these guys here tonight, they're all selling products of one kind or another; we thought we had a product that could work on the international level as well," said Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea. "We saw the music we had here, and the place we'd grown up in had something that gave us this wealth of authenticity."

Hallett and frontman Alan Doyle spoke at the gala ceremony, and said they were surprised by the honour, but also felt it made sense.

"It's feels good; it feels appropriate to us. We've always treated our business like a business," Doyle said. "That sounds kind of philosophical, but it's really a practical way to think about it."

Fred Cahill described his passion for construction, but in a video intro, his colleagues praised him for seeing the Newfoundland oil boom coming far ahead of anyone else.

As the owner of GJ Cahill & Co., he does large-scale construction for the Newfoundland offshore, and across Canada. Cahill said that foresight has only been part of it.

"It's a lot of hard work over these last 20 years, and I think it's going to get better in the next 10-15 years for us," he said. "The success of our company was not a given. Hard work, good timing and a bit of luck paved the way."

He also described a genuine love for his work as the cornerstone of success.

"For me, nothing can quite describe walking through an industrial plant being built, watching an offshore platform structure being towed out Trinity Bay or witnessing the final span of the bridge to P.E.I. being lowered into place and knowing you were part of its construction," Cahill said. "You have to find your passion and follow it. You may not find it right away, but when you do it will hit you like a ton of bricks."

The event was co-hosted by Telegram publisher emeritus Miller Ayre and Allison Penton, a student who has participated in Junior Achievement for three years.

Penton said she's found the Junior Achievement lessons to be something she couldn't get anywhere else.

"You start a company, you create a product and you sell it and you market it," she said. "It's such a great experience because you learn everything about business that you would not have learned in school."

The final Hall of Fame inductee of the evening was Gordon Manstan, a man who seemed to love business just for the sake of business.

Manstan described his first venture, selling worms for 50 cents a can in St. John's when he was 10-years-old. "It took me on as a passion when I was a child," he said. "One day we sold five cans of worms - $2.50 cents was like a million dollars."

Manstan moved to western Labrador when the community was in its infancy, and sold everything from cars to food in different businesses. At one time he was the third-largest employer in Labrador West.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Junior Achievement, Great Big Sea

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Trinity Bay P.E.I. St. John's

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  • Patton
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I am a fan of all events like this. These events showcase people who realized what is possible. I am sure all have faced challenges and found ways around them. I am particularly glad to see Bob Hallet and Alan Doyle and Sean McCann included because the music / entertainment business should always be considered as such. Congratulations from NB and the independent republic of Cape Breton.

  • Patton
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    I am a fan of all events like this. These events showcase people who realized what is possible. I am sure all have faced challenges and found ways around them. I am particularly glad to see Bob Hallet and Alan Doyle and Sean McCann included because the music / entertainment business should always be considered as such. Congratulations from NB and the independent republic of Cape Breton.