Francis McGuire of Major Drilling Group International Inc. named 2013 Atlantic EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

EY celebrates 20 years of inspirational entrepreneurs

HALIFAX, Oct. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - EY celebrated 20 years of honouring great entrepreneurs by presenting Francis McGuire of Major Drilling Group International Inc. — one of the world's largest drilling services companies — with its 2013 Atlantic EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award.

"We've been recognizing talented entrepreneurs from across Canada for over 20 years," says Jim Lutes, EY Atlantic Managing Partner and Atlantic Entrepreneur Of The Year program director. "What impresses most is the ability of these business leaders to apply an innovative mindset at every turn — and that's exactly what Francis has done."

Francis McGuire joined Major Drilling Group International Inc. in 2000 and set the company on a new exponential path to growth. That meant identifying niche markets and repositioning the company as a specialized drilling services organization to mitigate the volatility of commoditized contract drilling services.

"Francis saw Major Drilling Group's potential to set itself apart from the competition and by doing so grew the company to become the world's second-largest drilling services company," says Lutes.

That's the kind of entrepreneurial mindset we need to encourage in the next generation, so that they not only start — but scale — their businesses, he adds.

Though Canada scores very highly on its entrepreneurship culture, relatively low levels of self-employment suggest there's room for larger numbers of people to be encouraged to capitalize on the country's supportive environment, according to EY's G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013.

"Motivating the next generation to reach their entrepreneurship potential begins by sharing success stories through programs like Entrepreneur Of The Year — that's how we can work together to continue to build our country's entrepreneurial culture," says Lutes. "We have two decades of inspiration behind us and we're still going strong. Examples like Francis show us what is possible in the next 20 years and beyond."

Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates the contribution and spirit of entrepreneurs everywhere. The Canadian program is in its 20th year of honouring the country's most impressive entrepreneurs from all areas of business. Award finalists are chosen based on their vision, leadership, financial success and social responsibility.

The gala also honoured Daniel E. (Danny) Williams with the 2013 Atlantic Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his substantial achievements as a successful lawyer and businessman, and a dedicated public servant.

Category winners of the 2013 Atlantic EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards:

Business-to-business products and services

Francis McGuire
Major Drilling Group International Inc. | Moncton
One of the world's largest drilling services companies, primarily servicing the mining industry, with extensive field operations in North, South and Central America, Africa, Australia and Asia.

Business-to-consumer products and services

Dwight Fraser
Franchise Management Inc. | Woodstock
One of the largest Pizza Hut franchisee operators in Canada, owning and operating restaurants across Canada and the US.

Emerging entrepreneur

Bill Pratt
ANG Food Services Ltd. | Dartmouth
Offers a completely unique gourmet experience at Halifax's first gourmet burger restaurant and a modern Mexican restaurant.

Information technology

Dave Grebenc, Roxanne Fairweather
Innovatia Inc. | Saint John
Delivers knowledge management services to clients in both the ICT and energy sectors in three primary areas: documentation, learning solutions and technical support.


Jason Aspin
Aspin Kemp & Associates | Stratford
Delivers innovative products, technically advanced services, integrated systems documentation and world-class training primarily to the marine and offshore industry.

Professional services

Charlie Oliver
Martek Morgan Finch Inc. | St. John's
Provides various real estate and professional services.

Real estate/construction

Craig Williams
Future Group Company | Torbay
Encompasses land development, residential and commercial construction, real estate services, and residential and commercial civil construction in Newfoundland and Labrador, along with residential construction in Nova Scotia.

What's next?
As the Atlantic region's 2013 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, Francis will compete with top entrepreneurs from the Pacific, Prairies, Ontario and Quebec regions for the national honour of Canada's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013, to be presented at a gala celebration on 27 November 2013 in Toronto. In June 2014, Canada's Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 other country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year
Entrepreneurs turn us on. To new ideas, new ways of thinking and new possibilities. We've shone the spotlight on entrepreneurs for 20 years — and we've only just begun. Nominees are reviewed by an independent judging panel composed of several distinguished business leaders and previous award recipients. The 2013 Atlantic judging panel consisted of Denis Connor, Past Chair, First Angel Network; Melinda Lee, Partner Frosting Cake and Event Design; Earl Ludlow, President and CEO, Newfoundland Power; Mike Mallory, New Brunswick Group Chair, TEC Group; Gerry Pond, Chairman, Mariner Partners; Duncan Shaw, 2010 Atlantic EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winner and President, Mullache Corporation; and Jo Mark Zurel, President, Stonebridge Capital Inc.

For more information on the program, FAQs and key dates, please visit

For more information about our National Entrepreneur Of The Year awards gala on 27 November 2013, please contact Julie Olden at 416 943 2062 or

Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada: #EOY20, #EOYAtlantic.

This year's national program sponsors are National Post, La Presse, RDI, Merrill DataSite and Pandora Jewellery. In the Atlantic region Progress Magazine is the gold sponsor, RBC Financial Group and McInnes Cooper are patron sponsors.

About EY's Strategic Growth Markets practice
EY's Entrepreneurial Services practice guides Canadian entrepreneurs by delivering integrated services tailored to their goals and needs at every stage of the business lifecycle. As you grow your business into a market leader, you'll face many challenges and opportunities. That's where our Strategic Growth Market professionals can help.

Our Global Strategic Growth Markets practice guides leading high-growth companies on their way to market leadership. Our multidisciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspectives and advice to accelerate growth. That includes initial public offering- and venture capital-related services.

We are the world leader in advising, guiding and recognizing entrepreneurs who propel the economy — and communities — forward. And we do this at the most basic level by giving entrepreneurs the recognition they deserve through our Entrepreneur Of The Year and Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. Our annual Strategic Growth Forum also brings together top CEOs, entrepreneurs, influential business and government leaders, investors and advisors from around the world.

For more information, please visit

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets 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.

For more information, please visit

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

SOURCE: EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information:

Sarah Shields 
604 648 3607

Erika Bennett 
416 943 5497

Julie Fournier
514 874 4308

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