Although he likely would have been a bit embarrassed by the excitement surrounding his induction into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame, Jill Murray says her father would have been “very humbled.”
Bruce Murray will receive the honour posthumously from Junior Achievement at an awards ceremony in June.
Before he passed away in 2004, the owner of Advocate Printing built the Pictou company to become one of the region’s most successful commercial printing companies.
“We were thrilled to hear the news that he is being inducted into the Hall of fame,” says Jill Murray, the director of marketing and corporate communications for Advocate.
“Dad was not much for showy presentations and avoided the limelight. He would probably be embarrassed by all the fuss, but we, his friends and family, are thrilled to have a fuss made in his honour and proud to have his hard work and entrepreneurial spirit recognized by his peers in such a great way.”
Murray says her father had received other awards during his lifetime from such groups as the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce and the Atlantic Community Newspaper Association, recognizing his work, wisdom and passion.
“He always seemed quite surprised by it,” she says. “He was just doing what needed to be done, he never did it for accolades.”
Bruce Murray was born in 1941 in Pictou and began working as a paperboy for The Pictou Advocate when he was six years old. At the time, his father George C. Murray owned the newspaper, and his mother Nonie was a weekly columnist. He worked at many different jobs, including janitor, printer’s devil, press operator, advertising manager and president.
After his father’s death in 1962, the company was sold. Murray became a part owner, and eventually bought out his last partner, Dirk VanVeen, in 1994.
Under their leadership, the company’s focus shifted from newspapers to commercial printing and experienced a high rate of growth. Regionally, Advocate was recognized as a leading-edge print facility.
After Murray became the sole owner, Advocate Printing and Publishing entered new markets outside of Nova Scotia, added new services and technology and led the trend into the full-service marketplace, averaging a 20 per cent annual growth rate.
One of his greatest accomplishments was developing Advocate to become the largest commercial printer in Atlantic Canada.
During his career, he was honoured by the Canadian Community Newspaper Association with the Silver Quill Award and prestigious Lifetime Membership Award. He also served as a CCNA director, was president of the Atlantic Community Newspaper Association, and was a director of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.
Murray’s community involvement included the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, the Pictou County Tourist Association, YM-YWCA of Pictou County, the Pictou County United Way, Pictou County Big Brothers Big Sisters and the deCoste Entertainment Centre.
The Bruce F. Murray Foundation was introduced in 2004 as a way to recognize and carry on his interest in supporting local and international efforts.
At the time of Murray’s death, the Advocate group of companies was comprised of 22 publications including newspapers, trade magazines and specialty publications, plus printing and publishing services. The company now employs close to 500 people in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
“My father touched many lives through his drive to build a small town print shop into an industry leader. He was often described as humble, quiet and determined with a passion for seeing those around him succeed.
“Whether you needed the benefit of his strong hands, his sharp mind or warm heart, he was there. He was a man of action and clear vision,” says Jill, who like her father, began working for the company at a young age. At eight years old, she worked stuffing flyers and folding newspapers.
“He has often been admired for his community involvement, his support of rural economic growth, his dedication to those he worked with and his leadership in both the print and publishing industries.
However, it was his quiet generosity that I respect the most. Every one of us gets through the tough times because somebody is there to lend a little support.
For many it was Bruce Murray providing thoughtful business advice, or an anonymous donation, a compassionate ear or an extra pair of strong hands or simply an act of kindness. He never hesitated to take action.”
Lynn Coveyduck, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia, says inductees into the Business Hall of Fame are selected based on how they built their business and those who demonstrate commitment to their community.
“We look for people who are good examples to students who are part of Junior Achievement, who demonstrate what it’s possible to achieve,” she says.
“We’re always very, very pleased to announce people who demonstrate a real passion for their particular business. Spending his whole life with one industry as Mr. Murray did, and having that as part of his family fabric, is a very interesting and motivating story.”
The Junior Achievement Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding business leaders in the province, and aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in business.
Funds raised at the event support JA educational programs, which focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness. Since its establishment in 1993, the event has raised nearly $1.75 million for JA in Nova Scotia.
When Murray is inducted into the Business Hall of Fame at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax on June 10, he will join fellow Pictou County members William Sobey (inducted posthumously), Donald Sobey, David Sobey, and Frank Sobey of the Sobeys and Empire corporations and James MacConnell of Scotsburn Dairy.