Businessman, community supporter honoured by Cape Breton University

    Pictured are (from the left): Cape Breton University Chancellor Annette Verschuren, Isle Madame businessman Edgar Samson, and CBU President Dave Dingwall.

    ARICHAT: A local businessman and advocate for his community was honoured recently by Cape Breton University (CBU).

    CBU conferred an honorary doctorate on Isle Madame businessman Edgar Samson during its fall convocation celebration on Nov. 6 in Sydney.

    Along with Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni First Nation, CBU said Samson was honoured for making “a significant impact on his community through the preservation and promotion of culture and economic prosperity.”

    “I was surprised, but at the same time, very honoured,” Samson told The Reporter. “I got a lot of messages sent to me.”

    Samson, 59, grew up and still lives in Petit de Grat. He started his career in the electrical trade, but after several years, established Premium Seafoods Ltd. a lobster and seafood brokerage venture in 1984, along with partners John and Brian Samson.

    Although John and Brian Samson have since passed away, the partners expanded the original company to a group of companies which buys or processes in excess of 15 million pounds of seafood annually, according to the Premium Seafoods Group website.

    “We started back in 1984, with only few employees, and we’re at close to 200 when we’re in full swing,” Samson noted. “We started with a fish market in Arichat on the waterfront. Then we got loading vessels. We went from there to a group of companies marketing in the U.S., overseas and across Canada as well.”

    Premium Seafoods Group said it specializes in fresh and frozen seafood, with the majority of its seafood harvested in-house or purchased directly from local fishers. The company said it specializes in fresh North Atlantic seafood including Atlantic snow crab, Canadian lobster, northern shrimp, and ocean perch.

    CBU said Samson and his partners significantly impacted the local economy through the growth of his business.

    Samson credits the many employees who helped build the company.

    “You can build a group of companies that’s profitable but you can’t do it without hard working employees that I was lucky to have,” he said. “A lot of good people worked hard to get us to where we’re at.”

    Over the years, Samson has been a board member of Centre La Picasse, the Petit de Grat Beautification Society, the Regional Occupation Centre, and the Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

    Samson and Premium Seafoods have also generously supported many residents, community groups, and events.

    “Whenever I saw someone that needed help, I always tried to contribute,” Samson noted. “We’ve helped and donated in every way, shape, or form we could. Community is very, very important for all of us.”

    Samson was inducted to the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame in 2014 and received an honourary degree from Université Sainte-Anne.

    “I always look forward, don’t look behind,” he added. “I hope I’m still around to help and contribute going forward.”