Wheaton family to receive the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Family Business Award of Excellence

EY celebrates outstanding family entrepreneurship

CALGARY, Sept. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - When Don Wheaton Sr. started in the car business in 1955 in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, he had big dreams. Now, 61 years later, both the second and third generations of the Wheaton family are running their many business interests across Canada. This year, the Wheaton family will be recognized with the Family Business Award of Excellence at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year gala in the Prairies region.

"When you drive through BC, Alberta or Saskatchewan, you're likely to see Wheaton Group emblazoned on the back of a car or license plate frame," says Rob Jolley, EY's Prairies Entrepreneur Of The Year program director. "From their reputation as a leader in customer service and quality to their long-standing community support through the United Way, the Wheaton family embodies the entrepreneurial and philanthropic values that make our communities great places to live."

The Wheaton brand grew as a result of hard work, dedication, and incredible patience. When Don Wheaton Sr. bought his first dealership in Edmonton in 1961, General Motors had a rule that one person could only own one. But the owner of a Calgary dealership wanted to sell, and Don had built a good relationship with GM leadership. The company made an exception and allowed Don to buy a second dealership.

As one of the largest dealer groups in Canada with 19 dealerships from Nanaimo to Regina, today, the Wheaton family business interests have diversified across Canada into real estate, insurance, aviation and banking. The First Canadian Insurance Group is the largest underwriter of automotive creditor and warranty insurance in Canada. The family is co-owner of Morningstar Air Express, which is the carrier for Federal Express in Canada, operating daily flights between all major cities from Victoria to Halifax. In 2005 the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions issued Canada's first privately held Schedule 1 Bank Charter to the Wheaton Family. Today, General Bank of Canada remains Canada's only privately held bank.

"The Wheaton Family is truly honoured to receive the EY Family Business Award of Excellence," says Donald A. Wheaton, President & Chief Executive Officer of Wheaton Automotive Group. "There's a certain responsibility that comes along with the privilege of raising our families and operating a family business in this part of the world. We remain focused on being involved in the communities that have been so good to our family. As we transition to the next generation, we are working hard to see that these business and family values are not lost."

Over the years, Don's children and grandchildren have become part of the family business and helped it grow and maintain its strong foothold in Canada. Don Wheaton Jr. will accept the Family Business Award of Excellence at the EY Prairies Entrepreneur Of The Year gala on 13 October 2016.

For more information about the awards gala and to purchase tickets, please contact Meaghan O'Brien at 403 206 5369 or Meaghan.Obrien@ca.ey.com.

For event updates, visit us at ey.com/ca/eoy or follow us on Twitter @EYCanada and use #EOYPrairies to join the conversation. For a list of all the finalists in the Prairie region, click here.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.

This year's program national sponsors are TEC Canada, La Presse, RDI, The TMX Group, The Globe and Mail Inc., Merrill Corporation, Kira Talent, Air Canada and The Printing House Limited.

About the Family Business Award of Excellence
The award recognizes leaders of outstanding entrepreneurial families, whose companies exist in at least the 3rd generation. It honours companies that have a tradition of successfully balancing business and family issues, growing the business through innovation, and contributing through philanthropic or social engagement. The selected families support these traditions with sustainable, long-term strategies that include effective and transparent corporate governance.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. For more than 150 years in Canada, we've delivered the insights and quality services that help build trust and confidence in capital markets here and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information: please contact: Sasha Anopina, sasha.anopina@ca.ey.com, 416 943 2637; Julie Fournier, julie.fournier@ca.ey.com, 514 874 4308; Leigh Kjekstad, leigh.kjekstad@ca.ey.com, 604 648 3807

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