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Ken McKinnon to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Ken McKinnon was in Australia when he heard of his honour. -
Ken McKinnon was in Australia when he heard of his honour.
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A co-founder of Cobble Hill's Pacific Builders' Supplies has been named recipient of this year's Black Tie Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ken McKinnon, who at one time owned three truss facilities in Cobble Hill, Surrey and Cranbrook, will receive the award at the Black Tie Awards hosted by Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce at the end of April.

In 1959, he and five partners bought property in Cobble Hill to start Pacific Builders' Supplies. Ten years later after buying out the partners McKinnon began to diversify into roof truss manufacturing and prefabricated homes.

Employing more than 300 people, he became one of the largest truss manufacturers in Canada.

As well, he became involved with several valley organizations.

"Certainly I am both pleased and surprised to have received this honour.  We have been in Australia since Nov. 18 and have been out of touch with local affairs so it was doubly surprising to get the phone call from my son, Grant, telling me about my nomination," said McKinnon from Australia's Gold Coast where he and wife Sandra are traveling.

He'll be back to receive the award at the Black Tie banquet and ceremony, he says.

And the award is well deserved, confirms son Grant in a news release from the chamber:

"We are all very proud of what Dad has achieved in the valley, both in providing employment for thousands of people over the years and for his philanthropy work."

Cloverdale-born McKinnon enlisted in the royal Canadian Air Force at 17 and was sent overseas to join 189 Lancaster Heavy Bomber Squadron under the Royal Air Force Bomber Command.

Farming was in the family's blood, but McKinnon didn't stay long working in a family Port Alberni dairy before moving to the Cowichan Valley. After a short stint on the construction of the Crofton pulp mill, he started the Cobble Hill business.

The company has supported hundreds of sports teams and associations over its 53 years.

In Duncan, McKinnon spent eight years with the Junior Chamber of Commerce and was a founding director of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

He served as building chair at Queen of Angels School and a director of both St. Edwards Church and Cowichan Lodge.

He was also a founding director of the Western Wood Truss Association and director of the Canadian Wood Council.

McKinnon and wife Sandra spend most of the year on their small vineyard in Cobble Hill. In winter they travel to Australia and elsewhere.

"The feeling that I have is one of great satisfaction that the people of the Cowichan Valley recognize that over the years I have provided jobs and opportunities for a lot of young people," he said.

"It is my personal belief that providing interesting jobs at good wages is the largest contribution that anyone makes to a community.

Other Black Tie winners will be announced and presented on April 28.

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