By Dianne George
Newspaperman David Black, president of Black Press, has been named the 2007 UVic Business Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year. The annual award acknowledges an inspirational entrepreneur who has had a significant and positive impact on the community through his or her business leadership.
Black’s publishing empire began in 1975 with the purchase of a weekly newspaper in Williams Lake. Black Press Ltd. is now Canada’s largest privately-owned newspaper company with more than 150 papers in Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest, Ohio and Hawaii, and includes 17 printing operations in North America and extensive web publishing operations. The company is headquartered in Victoria and has about 4,000 full-time equivalent employees. Annual revenues will surpass the $500 million mark this year.
“David Black was instrumental in getting UVic Business established at the University of Victoria,” says Dean of the Faculty of Business Dr. Ali Dastmalchian. “He served as the first chair of our advisory board and helped guide the development of the school’s vision and direction. David is a wonderful role model for our students.”
“David Black is a respected and well-known entrepreneur and business leader,” adds David Schneider, chair of the faculty’s board of advisors.“He is admired by so many because of the success he has had in building Black Press in a very competitive industry and doing so in a quiet and always professional way. He epitomizes the term “first-class gentleman.”
The Vancouver-born Black earned a civil engineering degree at UBC and an MBA at the University of Western Ontario. He chaired the 1994 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee and recently completed a three-year term as chair of the BC Progress Board.
A five-member panel of Faculty of Business board of advisor members assessed the nominees’ vision, entrepreneurial drive and impact on the Canadian and global economies before choosing Black.
Past winners of the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year award include Gwyn Morgan, who established EnCana Corp. as the country’s largest energy company (2006); Dave Ritchie, chairman of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (2005); and Jeff Mallett, former president and chief operating officer of Yahoo (2004).
Black will receive the award at a gala celebration on April 18 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Victoria Conference Centre.