Sarah Irving and Arthur Irving shared the stage at a luncheon event Tuesday for Port Days and East Coast Energy Connection – both of them emphasizing the critical role Saint John plays in the past, present and future of Irving Oil.
Sarah Irving – the executive vice president of the company and standard bearer of a new generation of Irvings on the oil side of the family – was the keynote speaker, and she reflected on the reasons her grandfather established Irving Oil in Saint John – and why subsequent generations of the family kept the business rooted here:
“When my grandfather K.C. Irving founded Irving Oil in 1924 he had a vision for our company,” said Irving. “Here in Saint John, he saw many opportunities in a place with unparalleled natural advantages. Together, with his sons Jim, Arthur and Jack and the dedicated employees of Irving Oil they worked hard to make that vision a reality in businesses that spanned the globe but always remain true to home.”
“And so when asked, ‘why Saint John?’, the answer is simple: Saint John is our gateway to the world. At home and on the road with our customers, buyers and suppliers, we always make a point to talk about home, to talk about Saint John and its many natural and geographic advantages of our Port City.”
“And I think it’s worth taking a minute now to remind ourselves of those many advantages: our year-round ice-free port, deep tidal water and the highest tides on the planet means we can safely welcome the largest ships in the world here in Saint John. And our proximity to Atlantic shipping lanes … positions Saint John well for access to global markets, including short sailing times to one of the largest markets in North America – the U.S. northeast.”
Arthur Irving, Chairman of Irving Oil, took the stage as the recipient of the 20th Port Award of the Year. While his remarks were less scripted than the ones given by his daughter, Arthur pressed the same point about the virtues of Saint John and its people.
“I’m proud to say I’m from Saint John, New Brunswick,” he said. “Our success depends on one thing and one thing only: we have to get up every day and believe in ourselves that we can do it. And Saint John is well located. And [we should] give the pitch to other manufacturers, whether they be in Ontario, out west, in the east here … move here because you can manufacture and ship your product anywhere in the world out of the port of Saint John.”