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Local business leaders recognized by the Faculty of Business Administration

Ref. No. 132

DATE:     May 17, 2002
SUBJECT:     Local business leaders recognized by the Faculty of Business Administration

Two local businessmen became the Faculty of Business Administration's newest partners in management education at the 18th annual Partners Dinner last night. Brendan Paddick, B.Comm (Co-op) '86 and MBA '94, received the faculty's Alumnus of the Year award that recognizes both career success and involvement in the university. Chris Griffiths, founder and president of Garrison Guitars received the 2002 Newfoundland and Labrador Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

"Both Brendan and Chris are excellent examples of the style of leadership we value in our students and graduates and I am proud that we can recognize such wonderful role models," said Dr. Bill Blake, dean of the faculty of business administration. "The achievements of these two individuals and their contributions to the economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador are simply outstanding."

Mr. Paddick is the president of Persona Communications Inc. He started with the company in 1992 and was promoted to president in 1995 after the company had accumulated net losses of nearly $85 million. Today, Persona is Canada's 5th largest and most profitable cable television provider, with approximately 430,000 customers in seven provinces and in the Bahamas through its pending acquisition of Cable Bahamas.

In addition to being a successful businessman, Mr. Paddick is also a strong supporter of Memorial University, is the chair of the Genesis Centre Selection Board, and serves as a member of the university's board of regents.

"It is truly an honour to be recognized in the esteemed company of the faculty's previous Alumnus of the Year award recipients. Some of my fondest memories are from my times as a business student at Memorial, a place where I fostered relationships that will last a lifetime. The B. Comm. Program gave me the tools to learn and the MBA program shaped my leadership skills by showing me how to cut through the clutter of everyday business life, to identify the key issues and to solve the problem."

In 1993, at age 19, Mr. Griffiths started Griffiths Guitar Works in St. John's. The one-man shop that sold high-end, custom-built acoustic and electric guitars from a 500 sq ft room is now the largest custom guitar store in Atlantic Canada. In February 2000, Mr. Griffiths, having graduated from Memorial University's Genesis Centre, launched his second company, Garrison Guitars. Today, Garrison Guitars has 63 full-time employees and produces close to 45 guitars a day. In its first year of production, the company sold out to markets in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.

"It is such a wonderful honour to be recognized locally for our accomplishments and to be placed in a category with so many other great Newfoundland and Labrador entrepreneurs," said Chris Griffiths, president and founder of Garrison Guitars. "I feel strongly that much of Garrison's success is a result of the great location, strong sense of community and the local support."

Editors note: Photographs of Brendan Paddick and Chris Griffiths receiving their awards are available at www.mun.ca/univrel/photos.html


For further information, please contact:
Aimee Sheppard, communications coordinator (business) at 737-2616 or asheppar@mun.ca.

Chris Griffiths, president, Garrison Guitars at 745-6677, 682-1007 or chris.griffiths@garrisonguitars.com


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