The man at the helm of the city’s most prolific auto group was given the chamber’s highest award, less than a decade after his own father took home the same distinction.
Doug Murray, CEO of the Murray Auto Group, was named Business Person of the Year at this year’s Business Achievement Awards hosted by the Brandon Chamber of Commerce Thursday night.
"It was very humbling and certainly an award I need to share with our staff members," he said.
"Also ... if our customers didn’t choose to deal with us, there’d be no successful business."
A lifetime resident of Brandon, Murray has been involved in the company for the last three decades, working under his father Clair Murray (whose father Andy established the company’s first dealership in 1926 in Souris) before taking the top job.
Murray said he brings a coach-like sensibility to the business, which is not surprising considering his minor-league hockey career brought him within a breath of playing in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks. A serious injury prevented the former Brandon Wheat King from playing.
Since the company started, Murray Auto Group has exponentially grown with dealers dotting much of Western Canada and one on the East Coast.
"I plan to keep working for many more years, I’d like to continue to grow the Murray Auto Group, our dealerships outside of Brandon," he said.
In 2010, during a time when North American manufacturers, Chrysler and General Motors, were facing bankruptcy, Murray doubled down on domestic name plates by building a 55,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art flagship GM dealership. After the Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac dealership was complete, the group once again poured significant renovation cash into another dealership, Murray Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.
The Murray Group has also been a stalwart supporter of the Murray House, which will offer a welcoming and affordable "home away from home" for hundreds of regional patients and their families travelling to Brandon for cancer treatment. The residence, on Frederick Street, will be located within walking distance of the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre.
"I would like to continue to give back to this great community so really just more of the same," he said.
The auto group received the Long Term Business Achievement award in rural Manitoba last year, presented by the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce.
A few months ago, a request went out for nominations for the awards and the board voted unanimously to award Murray, said chamber president Craig Senchuk.
"It really recognizes the efforts of Doug Murray and the Murray family," Senchuk said. "Their outstanding business practices, their economic growth.
"It rewards the leadership, the vision and the growth and really recognizes the folks — in particular with Doug — that are at the peak of their career."
"I love Brandon," Murray said. "I love it for its size, I love Brandon for the people, wholesome good people that live here, I love Brandon for its rural roots ... I even love the weather."