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DR. MURRAY ROY O'NEIL — OUR FOUNDER

Dr O'Neil
Dr. Murray Roy O’Neil was the principal founder of Highline Produce Limited. His natural curiosity and his drive for excellence defined Highline and set our bar high. His compassion and his efforts to have a personal relationship with every person on the farm made us a family business in more ways than one. He worked tirelessly to grow and improve the farm until the day he passed away, and we continue to honour his values and carry on his spirit across all Highline facilities.

We invite you to read on and learn more about the man who built this company into what it is today.

Dr. O’Neil – A Personal
History




Born in 1927 and raised on the family farm, Murray was a year too young for the military as the Second World War came to an end. Deciding on a career path, an aptitude assessment suggested that he consider medicine.

He entered pre-medicine in 1945, received a degree in Medicine from the University of Western Ontario in 1951, and went on to establish a family practice in Essex, Ontario. By 1964, it was evident that the days of the “do-everything” family doctor were numbered. Murray, therefore, began a four-year specialty training program, which resulted in a postgraduate degree in Internal Medicine in 1968 from the Royal College of Physicians with a subspecialty in Allergy. Most of the training took place at Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, and Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit. He then established a large consulting practice in the Windsor area specializing in Allergy and Respiratory medicine along with a sleep laboratory. This facility grew to a ten doctor practice and became well recognized as being one of the premier clinics of its kind in Canada.

In 1961, Murray, with two partners (one of whom was the co-owner of their airplane) decided to build a tiny eight room mushroom complex in Leamington, Ontario.

To name this newfound company, Murray needed something that embraced his passion for flying and his lofty goals for this new business. “High” is how he flew his planes and was the direction he desired the business to grow, so on July 31, 1961 Highline Produce was incorporated.

Two years later he found himself the sole proprietor of a then not too successful mushroom farm. Murray’s tenacity and drive to succeed kept him in the business where others, under the same circumstances, would have counted their losses and moved on.

Highline Produce continues to grow because of the entrepreneurial culture that was at the core of Murray’s being and that he instilled in his management team. Highline is successful because of Murray’s willingness to invest in the latest techniques and technologies. His quest for knowledge also introduced innovative processes that are now used throughout the mushroom industry. Innovations such as our method of bale dunking, the two break growing process and the ability to grow mushrooms without the use of pesticides are the leading edge practices that Murray championed. For his support in developing the Canadian Mushroom industry, Murray was awarded a lifetime membership with the Canadian Mushroom Growers Association in October 2002.

His dedication to the mushroom industry and his passion for Highline and its continued success was celebrated by his friends, family, and colleagues on the occasion of his 80th birthday on May 12, 2007, shortly after which Murray passed away.

His values, compassion, energy and quest for excellence remain a part of Highline’s core.



 


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