Jack Cameron Donald, the founder of Parkland Corporation, passed away on Jan. 18. He was 89 years old.
"He was an iconic entrepreneur whose accomplishments are legendary on so many levels,” said Bob Espey, president and CEO of Parkland, in a LinkedIn post. “Jack built Parkland from one retail site in Red Deer and was a visionary among Canadian independents."
Donald and his wife founded their first service station, Parkland Oil Products, in 1964, according to his obituary in the Red Deer Advocate. The couple grew that company for seven years before selling it to Turbo Resources. He then worked for Turbo for five years before again setting out on his own again and founding what we know as Parkland Corporation.
He and his wife, Joan, bought controlling interest in Parkland Beef Industries in 1975 and renamed it to Parkland Industries. It would later change its name twice more, first to Parkland Fuel Corporation in 2010 and then the current Parkland Corporation in 2020.
The couple targeted Parkland because they wanted to have a public company, Joan Donald said in a video on the Alberta Business Hall of Fame website.
They soon pivoted the company toward fuels, introducing the first Fas Gas store in 1977 and continuing to grow, according to an Alberta Oil article from 2013.
Donald remained at the helm of that company as president and CEO until 2002. In that time, the company expanded from that initial store in Red Deer, Alberta, to 454 outlets across western Canada, according to his obituary. The company had also added a refinery to its holdings, which was a “coup” because it “allowed him to have a manufacturing base for gasoline,” said Bob Braun, a friend of Donald’s, in the video.
After he retired as president and CEO of Parkland in 2002, Donald remained on the board until 2005.
Donald was remembered as a friendly person who treated everyone with respect. His daughter Kathy Lacey noted in the hall of fame video that her father was the sort of person to “wave at some fellow who was a truck driver for him 20 years ago, reach out his hand, call him by name and treat him with the same respect that he would if he was CEO of a major oil company in Calgary.”
He was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Southern Alberta Business Hall of Fame in 2011.
He is survived by his wife, his son and daughter, five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.