Jimmy Pattison is a Vancouver-based entrepreneur who is the Chairman, President, CEO, and sole owner of the Jim Pattison Group, one of the largest privately held Canadian companies.
James Allen Pattison was born in the rural town of Luseland, Saskatchewan in 1928. He moved with his parents to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1935. As a child, he sold magazine subscriptions and garden seeds door to door. While attending the University of British Columbia, he washed cars and worked at a used car lot. He dropped out of college, but enjoyed a successful career as a car salesman in the 1950s which led to the purchase of his first dealership in Vancouver in 1961.
The single dealership bloomed into 13 dealerships in southwestern British Columbia over time. In 1965, Pattison acquired the Vancouver's CJOR-AM, the first of 20 radio stations he would later own. This began Pattison's broad business diversification -- he was quoted later as saying "My business strategy is that you don't have all your eggs in one basket." His empire eventually expanded into diversified fields including transportation, communications, food products, packaging, real estate, financial services, and the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums at 27 locations in nine countries. Canadian Business magazine reported a net value of $5.2 billion and ranked the Jim Pattison Group 50th on a list of the most influential companies in the evolution of Canada's economy. At that time, the companies employed over 26,000 people out of 376 offices in 48 countries.
Pattison has served on the Boards of several companies and foundations, including the Toronto Dominion Bank, Canadian Pacific Ltd., and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. He served as Chairman of Expo '86, the successful World's Fair which secured a place for Vancouver on the international stage. He did so without compensation for approximately five years, and in doing so, earned the admiration of many British Columbians. Largely in recognition of these efforts, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987. He was subsequently appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 1990. He married his childhood sweetheart, and together they have three children.