UManitoba: James D. Sinegal Annouced as 2011 I.D.E.A. Recipient

Feb 7, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Jim Sinegal

To Be Formally Saluted In Winnipeg in June at 28th International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award Gala

The Associates, a group of more than 250 prominent business leaders who support the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, are delighted to announce Jim Sinegal, co-founder and CEO of Costco Wholesale Corporation as the recipient of the 2011 International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award (IDEA). 

“It is my pleasure to announce that this year’s IDEA recipient is Jim Sinegal, co-founder and CEO of Costco Wholesale Corporation” says Arni Thorsteinson, chair of the IDEA Committee for the Associates and president of Shelter Canadian Properties Limited. “Costco has grown from a single Seattle warehouse into the largest wholesale shopping organization by sales volume in the United States, becoming a true example of successful entrepreneurship.”

Starting out as a Fed-Mart bagger in 1954, Sinegal quickly set himself apart and by the late 1970’s was executive vice president. In 1979, Sinegal left Fed-Mart, joining former Fed-Mart head, Sol Price in his new venture, a membership-based warehouse chain, Price Company, also known as Price Club. 

In 1983, Jim Sinegal co-founded Costco Wholesale Corporation with fellow-entrepreneur Jeffrey Brotman. Since then, the Costco team has built an operation of over 500 locations worldwide with over 61 million cardholders and a market cap of over $32 billion. Sinegal is widely recognized for his progressive management practices which have enabled Costco to benefit from low employee turnover and high productivity. 

“Jim Sinegal is an inspirational leader dedicated to bettering the lives of the people he leads,” says Associate member, President and CEO of Mondetta Clothing and emcee of the June gala, Ash Modha. “Passion for his industry, persistence and an unwavering work ethic secured the phenomenal success of this exceptional entrepreneur.”

The award will be presented to Sinegal at a formal dinner in Winnipeg at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Monday, June 6, 2011, where Sinegal will be presented with a custom-made pure gold medal produced by the Royal Canadian Mint specifically for the award. 

“The University of Manitoba is delighted that Jim Sinegal’s success as a progressive employer and businessman and his entrepreneurial achievements are being honoured in this way,” says David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba.

The Associates are committed to ensuring that the Asper School of Business remains one of the top business schools in Canada. The Associates support and promote interaction between the business community, faculty and students through programs and events including the IDEA presentation. 

“RBC is proud to once again partner with the Associates of the Asper School of Business for this year’s IDEA Gala” says Rob Johnston, regional president Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and North Western Ontario. “We are honored to be a part of an event that recognizes and celebrates tremendous entrepreneurial success and contribution to our society.” 

Sinegal joins past IDEA recipients including Israel Asper, Richard Branson, award founder Albert D. Cohen, Paul Desmarais, Akio Morita, Ross Perot, Heather Reisman, Dame Anita Roddick, Gerald Schwartz, Peter Munk, Jim Balsillie and last year’s recipient Murray Edwards. 

To arrange an interview with Arni Thorsteinson, chair of the IDEA Award Committee for the Associates and president of Shelter Canadian Properties Limited, please call: 204-475-9090, ext. 202; 

For more information, please contact Taralee Turner, executive director, Associates of the Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, at:


For IDEA Dinner tickets or event information please call: 204-474-6201

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