Family the secret of success

Alisha Morrissey
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Event Business Hall of Fame inductees say companies rooted in province

Nearly all the names of the four businessmen inducted into the Business Hall of Fame Thursday night are institutions in this province's business history.

The Junior Achievement New-foundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame inducted four new members during a Thursday night ceremony that honoured both those industry builders and the province's young entrepreneurs.

In a gala affair at the St. Johns Convention Centre Thursday night, Junior Achievement of Newfoundland and Labrador (JANL) inducted four prominent Newfoundland and Labrador businessmen into its Business Hall of Fame. Inducted were Rex Anthony, Andrew Cros

Nearly all the names of the four businessmen inducted into the Business Hall of Fame Thursday night are institutions in this province's business history.

The Junior Achievement New-foundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame inducted four new members during a Thursday night ceremony that honoured both those industry builders and the province's young entrepreneurs.

The inductees were Rex Anthony of Anthony Capital Corp.; Andrew Crosbie, former president of Crosbie Group; Jerry White of the McCurdy Group of Companies; and Francis O'Leary, whose companies included the Manufacturer's Agency, Building Supplies Ltd., and Hub Sales Co. Ltd.

Crosbie and O'Leary were inducted posthumously.

All four were inducted at the gala event at the St. John's Convention Centre.

Rex Anthony says he's proud of his family name and "delighted," that he's being inducted. Anthony's father has also been inducted in the hall of fame.

Business in this province is a family thing, he says.

"Most of Newfoundland business is family business. That's a tradition here ... as you move west you will see a lot of individual names," he says.

In keeping with the family business theme, Anthony points out that all of his children were junior achievers.

"I went down to meet with them the other day and I had no idea how the program has expanded. I think it's a really good thing for the young people to strive for and see there's some success in business and that it's a worthy vocation."

Alex Crosbie says he's proud to accept the induction into the hall of fame on behalf of his father and the work he did for the Crosbie Group, but wishes Andrew Crosbie could accept the award on his own.

"I think what he liked about the whole Business Hall of Fame and the whole JA system is that it shows young Newfoundlanders exactly what can be done if you're dedicated, you work hard and you have some luck," Alex says of his father, adding that the 1977 Summer games would probably be the accomplishment Andrew Crosbie would have hung his hat on in an acceptance speech.

"He would stress that you're not always going to succeed the first time and mightn't be successful forever, but you keep going and you do it," Alex says. "This province wouldn't exist if people rolled over."

Frank O'Leary, Francis O'Leary's grandson, accepted the award on behalf of his grandfather.

"I think he'd be really pleased and honoured, but as I remember him ... he was not the sort of fellow to seek honours and stuff. He really came to be much more oriented to getting the job done," he says of his grandfather, who is best known for kick-starting the building of Memorial Stadium.

Francis O'Leary started working as a travelling salesman when he returned from the First World War, but soon started his own businesses ,including the Manufacturer's Agency, Building Supplies Ltd., and Hub Sales Co. Ltd.

But Frank O'Leary says his grandfather was better known for the projects he worked on and not necessarily his businesses.

"He just seemed to have that knack to be able to motivate other people and inspire them with confidence that it could be done."

Francis O'Leary was inducted in the Business Hall of Fame as an Entrepreneurial Pioneer.

The only businessman whose name didn't carry a legacy at Thursday night's induction was Jerry White - but he's working on it.

White is one of Gander's most successful entrepreneurs and businessmen. He founded a small construction firm that would eventually become the McCurdy Group of Companies.

And while his business may not yet have the legacy status of the Anthonys or O'Learys, he says his is a family business.

Both his daughters, who work with the company which is a major employer in central Newfoundland and one of the largest business groups in Gander, were at the induction.

"I've always kept my head below the radar ... I just want to do my thing and not cause any ripples at all. That works for me."

amorrissey@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Crosbie Group, McCurdy Group of Companies, Building Supplies Hub Sales Co. Anthony Capital St. John's Convention Centre Anthony's

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Gander, Memorial Stadium

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  • jill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    It is really nice to see that family business is still alive and well in Newfoundland. I am also a part of a family business, Sharpe's North Atlantic, a business that my fatherlaw started 58 years ago. Although a much smaller scale that the ones inducted in the Business Hall of Fame but an important part of the Town Of PCSP. I still beleive that small business is the backbone of our Province . We are the ones that are here for the long haul.

  • jill
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    It is really nice to see that family business is still alive and well in Newfoundland. I am also a part of a family business, Sharpe's North Atlantic, a business that my fatherlaw started 58 years ago. Although a much smaller scale that the ones inducted in the Business Hall of Fame but an important part of the Town Of PCSP. I still beleive that small business is the backbone of our Province . We are the ones that are here for the long haul.