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Poole to lead Olympic bid



He was born a poor boy 68 years ago in a small prairie farming community but rose to become one of the most influential and wealthiest men in B.C. business.

And Wednesday Jack Poole added becoming CEO and president of the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation to his long list of accomplishments.

"I’m excited and challenged and honoured," he said.

"It certainly is a world class challenge and world class project, a big project, a bold project and I think it will be wonderful for the province, wonderful for Vancouver and Whistler, and great for the country.

"And to compete in a world-wide competition like this for someone who loves to compete is very attractive."

Poole has been competing successfully in the often cut-throat world of business since he first saw an opportunity to make his fortune building "instant towns" in the mid-60s in B.C.

He formed a partnership with businessman Graham Dawson of Dawson Construction Ltd. at the same time and the two savvy entrepreneurs went on to make a fortune.

They later formed Daon Development Corporation, which spearheaded the growth industry of condominium building before running into serious financial problems in the ’80s due to high and unprecedented interest rates.

Financially secure, Poole has turned down any salary for his new position.

"I’m a dollar a year guy," he said chuckling.

Poole has been described as a gentle man, loyal to his friends, who exudes a sense of humour, honour, and duty.

His list of friends is a long one and includes businessman Jim Pattison and Premier Gordon Campbell.

A father of four daughters and grandfather to eight, Poole lives in Point Grey with his second wife Darlene.

He is still active in business but will put his other interests aside to take on the responsibility of the Olympic bid.

"This is a serious 22-month, all day, every day, commitment for me," he said.

Part of that commitment will be to reassure everyone involved that the 2010 Winter Olympics will be as safe as possible in the wake of the terrorist attack last week in the U.S.

Although he speaks no foreign languages Poole brings many other assets to the job, including a powerful ability to motivate people, years of international travel, and as a founding chair of the Vancouver Molson Indy an insight into making big events successful.

His first task he said is, "to make sure that from Whistler to Newfoundland everyone is behind (the bid)."

"This is going to be a Canadian bid and we need to win it in Canada first."