UBC, 1951, BSc, Agriculture (Soil Science)


Gordon E. McConkey was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1928 and obtained a BSA (Soils) in 1951.

“After graduation I married my “high school sweetheart” from Calgary, my hometown. I went to work for Later Chemicals as a sales person the fall of 1951- for $150- per month. By Christmas time, starvation was imminent. I quit in December and started with Mackenzie and Feimann Ltd., a two-year old firm in the industrial chemical business. I opened an office for them in Edmonton in 1952. Alberta was booming and the firm prospered. We had 2 children in Edmonton and after 14 years I was transferred back to Vancouver as VP of sales.

In 1975 the then-President retired. I “volunteered” to take his job and with a relatively young staff, many of whom became shareholders including myself, we “swam upstream” to have offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.

In 1982 my wife came down with cancer. I resigned and sold my interest in the company. She unfortunately died that year. I became involved with another company which my partner and I took public in 1983. We sold it in 1985. That summer I became a missionary for the United Church of Canada and went to Nepal for four years, working as a manager of a construction company owned by the United Mission to Nepal. We built small hydroelectric plants in the hills of Nepal. An outstanding experience! I went back again for one year in 1993 as a volunteer having become less than enthusiastic about the direction of the United Church.

I re-married in 1994 to a Calgary woman, Joan Rennie Newton, UBC Geology 1954. We live in West Vancouver, have a great garden, ski in winter, hike in summer and travel. My son is in West Vancouver and my daughter and husband are in Victoria. Joan has a grandson in Calgary and he is the world’s greatest, so we are drawn back “home” frequently.”

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

LFS Alumni & Community Engagement
Tel: 604-822-0599
Contact: Caely-Ann McNabb
Faculty of Land and Food Systems
248-2357 Main Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: 604-822-1219
Fax: 604-822-2184
Dean: Dr. Murray Isman

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