Born in North Sydney and raised in Florence, George began his career with a position at what was then called the Bank of Nova Scotia. He worked at the branch in Sydney Mines and other locations in Nova Scotia before attending Xavier Junior College in Sydney for one year. George went on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce degree at St. Mary’s University and earned his Chartered Accountant designation from the Atlantic Provinces School of Accounting.
In 1970, George went to work for Touche Ross Chartered Accountants in Halifax, transferred to Sydney in 1972 and became a partner in 1977. After 20 years as partner, he retired from Deloitte & Touche, purchased their Sydney practice and joined Kiki Kachafanas to form the firm Unsworth Kachafanas Chartered Accountants. He remains an associate of Deloitte & Touche.
Throughout his career, George has built and maintained a large audit and consulting practice. Many of his clients have represented the largest industries in Cape Breton – both private companies and crown corporations – including the Cape Breton Development Corporation and Sydney Steel Corporation. At Devco and Sydney Steel, George successfully led efforts to establish audit committees and championed many other assignments dealing with compliance issues.
Other professional achievements have involved advising and consulting on business start-ups, privatization of companies, financing and expansion plans and preparation of business plans. George was project coordinator in the amalgamation of two major school districts in Nova Scotia, acted as an advisor on a project to reduce operating costs at Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, and served on a provincial panel that reviewed legislation affecting Nova Scotia Power Corporation. He also served on the advisory committee for the Canada Pension Plan, co-authoring a Parliamentary report on funding that led directly to changes in the CPP.
In 1991, George was awarded the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia’s highest honour when he received a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) designation. The FCA is awarded to a CA who renders meritorious service to the profession, or whose career achievements in the community have brought honour to the profession.
George is currently a member of the board of Nexient Learning Inc. with offices across Canada, and recently joined the board of PharmEng International Inc., a pharmaceutical consulting firm headquartered in Toronto. He chairs the audit committees at both companies. PharmEng operates in Cape Breton and has partnered with Cape Breton University to offer the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Technology Program.
In addition to an active professional practice, George has amassed an extraordinarily admirable record of volunteerism in the community. He has been a member of the Board of Governors – and several committees of the Board – at what was then known as the University College of Cape Breton. He has also been a board member and active committee member for the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital in Halifax, the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, Cape Breton County School Board, Sydney Harbour Ports Regional Development Board, United Way, Cape Breton Miners’ Museum in Glace Bay, Sydney YMCA, Nova Scotia Community College, Junior Achievement, Public Accountants Board of Nova Scotia, the Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf Tournament, Canadian Cancer Society and the 1987 Canada Games. George also chaired the transition team for the John Savage government in 1992.
During his tenure on the Board of Governors at UCCB, George was an active fundraiser for the university in general as well as the athletics department, which hosted some activities at the 1987 Canada Games. More recently, he was an extremely valuable member of Cape Breton University’s highly successful Future First fundraising campaign.
George and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, have two children: Andrew and Stephen.